We are aware of the heartbreak, trauma and devastation this pandemic has caused. People continue to get sick, some for months with symptoms ranging from migrating pain to vomiting to exhaustion. Others are dying. Businesses are going under, people have been stranded away from home, recessions are being declared, families are hungry and losing homes. Girls are being forced into child marriages and female circumcision numbers are up astronomically due to stay-at-home orders worldwide. Domestic violence, child abuse, animal abuse and alcohol consumption are all escalating.
By suggesting that both yin and yang are present in this pandemic, that good things have also happened, does not deny any of the above negatives. But one must always look for silver linings, and I ask you to turn your head toward those with me for a moment.
Gift #1: We're Talking More
Our profession is having a big national conversation. More of us are sharing and more are listening about how we are handling office space, rent forbearance, CNT and disease prevention precautions, new point combinations and herbal formulas to treat or protect against Covid-19, health problems that are predominant in non-Covid patient presentations, and outside-the-office measures being taken to care for patients virtually. We are sharing stories. Many who were quietly doing our work, feeling isolated or adrift, may embrace the thriving national conversation and enjoy the community connection.
Dr. Nancy Koehnw, a Harvard University professor who specializes in leadership during crisis, spoke recently about the evolution of leadership in our politicians during the pandemic: how some are rising to the occasion while others are not. We, too, have people whose raised voices are having impact. We are a stronger profession because new leaders have stepped up and mature leaders are being utilized to new purpose.
Teachers also have been generous. Many practitioners (including myself) have offered free classes online. If you have not yet availed yourself of this education, there are several places to do so. The ASA, NCCAOM, multiple state associations and colleges, Net of Knowledge (netofknowledge.com), Healthy Seminars (healthyseminars.com/resources) and others have put up hundreds of hours of free webinars for you to focus your attention on learning wonderful things about our medicine.
Gift #2: Immune Health Is On Everyone's Radar
The vast majority of the North American public, your potential patient base, didn't know they have an immune system before this pandemic. Now they do and they hear it's important for staying healthy. Some, especially those at higher risk, want to take proactive steps to support their immunity. The urgency of the moment forces the public to consider options other than vaccines and medications because neither is available to protect against Covid-19.
As a result, you have a new niche / promotional angle with which to sell your services. Your work supports and protects immune strength. We have always known that. But the public hasn't, and it needs to!
You can dive into the research done on acupuncture as a treatment for AIDS to see how effectively we can alter immune cell counts and behaviors. Use those documented numbers to calm and inspire your current and future patients. With the pandemic bubbling beneath the surface of society, being a physician who enhances and regulates immunity can be a strong selling point.
A caveat to that would be using the term boosting immunity. Immunity needs to be discerning and focused (yang), as well as dynamic and all-encompassing (yin). Uncontrolled immune responses are the cause of many Covid deaths.
Gift #3: Prevention Is Trending
Health concerns are part of the national conversation in a big way and you can speak to them. It's not an acute situation any more. Staying healthy is a chronic, national concern. People have questions about how to avoid becoming a statistic of this virus and you can answer them. Consider focusing your practice on lowering blood pressure, addressing diabetes and helping patients with excess weight, all of which are co-factors for Covid-19 mortality.
Gift #4: A Greater Emphasis on Pain Relief
Physical pain from lack of movement and the increase of stress is a big problem and can be identified as many different syndromes. Put your pain-relief services out into the world!
Gift #5: Expanded Opportunities to Interact With Patients
If your in-office hours are still limited and a patient can't run off to see you right away, they must take more responsibility for their health. You can help them do that and get paid for it. Reductions in regulations governing distance education and telemedicine have helped us expand how we work with patients. Here are a few practical suggestions.
1. Self-care tools: Have patients buy an ear map and ear seeds, and tell them which points to use for self-treatment, Are there magnets or cupping treatments patients can self-administer? For example, patients can buy disposable cups and magnets, and you can record an online demo video on how to administer these tools.
2. Herb access: Several of our herb companies have set up systems for patients to buy their products, as prescribed by you, directly. Check with the companies you buy from to see if they have a system whereby your telemedicine calls with patients can be followed up by their purchasing through your accounts. Several nutraceutical companies have done the same thing.
For example, if you purchase through Lhasa OMS, log into your account online. On your dashboard, look for Lhasa Direct. This feature allows you to send links to your patients for any product you approve for their use. Patients can then go onto the Lhasa OMS website, purchase those products and check out with their credit card. You make a 35 percent commission and are not involved in the sale. Please check with other vendors to see if they provide the same service.
3. The power of your voice: Can you make pain or stress relief visualization voice memos for patients and send them out to everyone, or customize them for individual patients? Let them hear your voice for 5-15 minutes a day as a calming influence.
4. Webinar outreach: Use your database to spread the word about a webinar you will lead on pain, stress relief or DIY immune enhancement. Urge your patients to send the link to friends so potential patients can join in. Record your session and put it up on YouTube.
Use the darkness of this pandemic to bring to light the benefits our medicine has to offer. Speak loudly and work hard. Your voice needs to be heard and your work is of value to the world.
Click here for more information about Felice Dunas, PhD.