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Ten tried and tested methods to successfully integrate veterinary acupuncture into your practice

Posted in Client Service @ Aug 24th 2017 - By Dr Belinda Parsons, Board Member ACVA
Ten ideas to successfully integrate veterinary acupuncture into your practice

It can be difficult to integrate new treatment options into your veterinary practice – not to mention when they involve sticking needles in your patients to make them feel better!

Fortunately I’ve come up with a list of tried and tested methods that help to integrate veterinary acupuncture into your practice seamlessly.

I have used many of these techniques over the years and find that I still utilise them when I commence working at a new practice.

1. Talk confidently with clients about acupuncture as a valid treatment option.

Discuss that just like Western Medicine we cannot guarantee how a patient will respond but that you feel it is a good treatment option.

2. Remember it's complementary medicine, not alternative.

Make sure you clearly explain this to clients and staff.

3. The first patients you treat should be your own pets and that of your staff

Once you have your staff on board they will then be your biggest advocates.

4. Share your success stories

Acupuncture patients make for great clinic Facebook/newsletter articles. It is something that clients may or may not have been exposed to and pictures/videos are a great way to help get your message across

5. Acupuncture is not accepted by all clients and not accepted by all patients

This is fine, don’t try changing owners minds and if the patient is getting too stressed don’t fight them to continue the treatments.

6. Bribery is the key

Acupuncture should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for your patients – if that means you need to bribe your patients with treats or cuddles, so be it!

7. Find a way to integrate it into your clinic

One of my previous bosses added it onto each cruciate surgery estimate as part of an optional ‘post op rehab’ program. I often treat post cruciate checks and am able to talk to the owners about treatment options that include acupuncture to help return their leg to normal function. Any lameness that is not responding to NSAID’s and have no radiographic lesions are usually due to muscle trigger points and these can be successfully treated with acupuncture.

8. Promote the success stories

Ask the owners of your success stories to write a client recommendation that can be posted to your Facebook page or added into your clinic brochure.

9. Offer complimentary acupuncture treatments

I did this for the first couple of months when I started acupuncture. I would offer clients four complimentary treatments to get my experience levels up and then get clients hooked on acupuncture and talking about how wonderful it was.

10. Role play your ‘acupuncture spiel’ until it rolls off your tongue.

Be ready to be answer all of the most common questions:

  • Will it hurt?
  • How will they stay still?
  • How many treatments will be required?
  • How does it work…?

When answering the curly question about how acupuncture works, I always give them two answers, one based on the Western Medicine reasons as to what we currently believe is the reason for it working and then a brief Chinese Medicine explanation.

Some tips help with the explanation....

Ulrike has kindly shared her “acupuncture spiel” with us to give you an idea of what needs to be explained......

The key points to get across in your Western Medicine explanation is that acupuncture works via the nervous system, stimulating the limbic system and also the part of the brain that the point is said to stimulate. The limbic system is responsible for homeostasis in the body and also stimulates the release of endorphins and other substances that affect homeostasis and healing.

In terms of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), a good analogy is that of a power grid, where the meridians are thought of as power lines and the acupuncture points are like transformers that regulate the amount of electricity running through the power lines to keep an even amount of electricity throughout the grid.  When this occurs there is homeostasis and the patient has a sense of wellbeing.  If the power lines are thought of as containing blood vessels and the nerves then stimulating an acupuncture point will send a signal to the brain and also alter the circulation to promote healing.

What have you found works best when explaining acupuncture to clients or integrating it into your hospital?

Interested in reading more acupuncture success stories?

About Belinda

Dr Belinda Parsons is a small animal veterinarian who graduated from the University of Sydney in 2005. She has been a certified Veterinary Acupuncturist since 2007 and is currently on the Board of the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture (ACVA).

Belinda lives in Sydney with her family and their 17 year old rescue dog Jack and she has had a passion for animals for as long as she can remember.

Click here to visit the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture (ACVA) Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory

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