Changing Your Language; Changing Your Thoughts

I often find that as a practitioner, I have to adjust my language to my audience. Most people want to know more about acupuncture. There are places where I just say it’s an ancient healing method that can help you get well. That’s my standard line to most people. I think people are really asking if it will help them when they ask if it works.

In other cases, I might tell them that we don’t know in our western terms how it works–although I am happy to talk in my paradigm but that I find people’s eyes glaze over. This makes them laugh. I then say that my theory is that we work on the level of the neurotransmitters, which are just too small for us to measure as closely as we need to see how acupuncture is working. This engages the Western healers. For those who have a background in yoga or martial arts, I start talking in my language, which is about qi and blood.

I know it’s hard for acupuncturists to let go of their jargon. We work on our jargon. However, not everyone speaks the language we speak or understands what we understand, so it is important to come to their level. No other profession expects us to be educated to their level. I find myself constantly talked down to by doctors and veterinarians until I start talking back in their language and lingo. Then they start responding to me in kind.

This is also true with computer issues. With photography, however, I want to be talked down to! I am still learning!

The other week I started reading Mark Sisson’s Book, the Primal Blueprint. I put myself on that diet largely because I was drinking way too much raw dairy and eating way to much cheese and was starting to feel phlegmy. Certainly this was partly allergy season but I figured it would be a good way of helping my gut so long as I kept up my lacto fermented foods. I am slowly detoxing, although I was interested to find that having just been very strict with my diet a few months ago, I had no detox symptoms for the first 10 days. Now I feel like I am detoxing, so I am hopeful that I have taken this to the next level.

What I found interesting was that Mark’s book seemed more accessible to my husband than some of what I consider more hard core health books. I don’t mean to insult Mark by saying his book isn’t hard core–but for some reason it felt more accessible to my husband. Of course, he’s not working on primal really–unless you count the fact that at home he doesn’t have a lot of choice, but I found it interesting that he’s more open about this idea than some of what I talk about with Nourishing Traditions or even William Crook’s book, the Candida Diet.

It’s kind of stuck with me to consider that sometimes, as healers, we take ourselves way too seriously. Maybe, like Mark, we need to make some of our platform about play (he does literally!). I am also playing with acupuncture marketing with my Zazzle site. I hope to have more cards and gifts soon–all trying to make acupuncture fun and not so scary. After all, when we change our language, even one word, we can appeal to a whole new crowd.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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