A Day in the Life…..of an Acupuncturist

What do you do at work?

How much of your day is spent in conversation with your clients, and how much is spent needling?

How do you decide where to put the needles? Do you rely on pulses, or tongue diagnosis, the patient’s report of the pain, what your acu-graph tells you?

Do you spend a lot of time prepping herbs? Or no time at all?

Do you have staff that helps with scheduling and treating, or do you do it all yourself?

Do you change your linens and do your own laundry?

Do you bill insurance?

How many patients do you see in a day or week? Do you have multiple locations? Do you treat differently depending on the location?

Describe your practice location(s) or setting(s).

Do you work with other Acupuncturists? Other health care providers?

Do you do lots of moxa, cupping, gua sha, e-stim, hand acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, tui na?

Do you talk to your patients about how they can support their health when they’re not in the treatment room?

Is there something that’s been incredibly important to your practice that you didn’t learn in acupuncture school? Are there things you spent tons of time on in school that you never use now?

Do you do your own bookkeeping?

Do you read journal articles or historical works about the profession on a regular basis?

How long have you been in practice and how much has your style of practice changed between now and when you started out?

Do you have a good understanding of the rules and regulations that govern your practice? How did you find out about those rules and regulations?

I’m doing some research about the profession and I’d like to hear from as many practitioners as possible. The questions above are just to give you some ideas of things to think about. You could keep track of what you do all day long – how many times do you review pharmaceuticals? How often do you consult with colleagues on a tricky case? How many times do you wash your hands?

Please, share your list of everything you do in a day at your practice, and how often you do it, in the comment section. Or, you can use the contact form.

Spread the word on Facebook. The more the merrier. However, please ask people NOT to reply via Facebook comment. They are hard to collect, and I don’t have access to all groups.

Thanks for your help. We’re a diverse profession and I’d like to learn more about just how much we share, and how much we differ.


Copyright —

© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

6 thoughts on “A Day in the Life…..of an Acupuncturist

  1. Some folks have asked about what my day looks like, so this is my list —

    For example, I run one or two rooms, with no staff, and am not connected with any insurance providers, and do mostly 5 E acupuncture. Off the top of my head, my top activities in a day are —

    Lots of talking (which includes intakes, evaluating last treatment, helping patient understand western diagnoses, health coaching re supporting (or detrimental) other activities, scheduling follow-ups, answering patient and prospective patient inquiries)
    Lots of pulse taking
    Treatment planning (based on things I’ve learned both in my initial training and beyond.)
    Needling (including CNT)
    Charting to meet best practices and state rules
    Bookkeeping, generating appropriate bills and financial records. This includes knowledge of CPT and ICD-10 coding.

    My days also include lesser amounts of:

    Looking at tongues
    Akabane testing
    Ordering supplies/clinic maintenance
    Cupping (very little)
    Gua Sha (almost never)

    I don’t do any:
    tui na
    preparation or selling of herbal products or supplements
    supervising other practitioners or staff

  2. Thanks, Frances. I hope you will chime in.

    To everyone – Just discovered a stack of completed contact forms from years past on other subjects. I’ll get back to folks, but if you thought I was “blowing you off,” sorry. They were going into a non-obvious file. Apologies!

  3. I went to school in the 1980’s when curriculum was bare bone, hardly any supervised clinic..but overall classes were very good, geared enough to pass ncca, so called at the time, exams. Fundamentals and clean needle technique practicium were the only exams we could take. As always ncca has charged a lot of money even just to hold exam scores.
    School was heavily based on so called tcm, taught with strong QI sensation
    After a few years, I had the good fortune to run in Shudo denmei teaching at Meiji college in San francisco. Goodbye tcm. Hello Japanese philosophy and light treatment. Manaka and toyo hari styles were also taught at the time. 1990’s
    I run a solo practice on two treatment rooms, I don’t use linens but table paper..
    I fax every night end of day information on seen patients to offsite biller. She gets 7% of money collected
    Usually do one hour treatments ( hours of operations are by appointment 8 till 8. 4 days per week). and spend more time discussing patient’s case, reviewing medications, herbal and vitamin supplements. I do specialize on pain control, but I do see a fair amount of anxiety, depression and the like. Very good results with anxiety..depression only when mild to medium; once patient reports severe depression, I advise them to seek western medical attention, safer that wat too

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