As an avid reader on forums and list serves I found myself reading about practitioners discussing the idea that one reason acupuncturists often struggle to build their practice is that they don’t speak a language that other health care providers understand.

I’ve long been an advocate of acupuncturists speaking the language of the people they are talking to.  This is marketing.  Educating often means using the language that acupuncturists are most familiar with, but only after ascertaining that the person wants to be educated.

It was an interesting idea that acupuncturists should use a more inclusive language even when educating other healthcare providers.  This language would be used in research so it isn’t just about marketing.  Some considered the use of “qi” just fine as there is no other word for it but the language did require a certain formality found in most studies. Would that bridge a gap? I’m not completely certain.  However, as the minority in the realm of medical providers, I think it behooves acupuncturists to speak in a way that their listeners understand.  Acupuncture has way too many benefits to be passed over due to lack of understanding.

Of course I have to ask the question, how do we communicate? The cultural paradigm of acupuncture does not exist in the Western World at this time. So how to convey ideas that the West has very few words and little understanding of? How much do practitioners have to bend to the mainstream culture and how much do they push back? Where is the line?

What are your thoughts?

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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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