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“What you REALLY need to know about Acupuncture
and Practice Principles to be highly successful”

John A. Amaro L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), DC

In the July 2005 issue of Acupuncture Today, I wrote an article entitled “How to be extremely successful in the practice of Acupuncture and TCM”. In that article I laid out a number of specific rules of practice principles which helped to shape my own successful practice over the years. At the end of the article, I wrote “As I sit here I am suddenly struck with a host of additional thoughts which are vital for success. Anyone interested in knowing what they are? Drop me a note. Best Wishes for a fantastic practice.

Well frankly I had not anticipated what the next days, weeks and months were to bring with the literally hundreds upon hundreds of requests by L.Ac’s for me to share further practice success principles. The E-mails came from virtually around the globe as Acupuncture Today articles have a very significant presence on the World Wide Web reaching thousands of practitioners and researchers throughout the world.

In my years of writing for Acupuncture Today I have never received more requests for additional information or comments on any other topic than I have this one. I must admit to having felt a great sense of remorse, sympathy and frustration as I read letter after letter from my colleagues in acupuncture expressing extreme anxiety and desperation with their practice success, or lack of it as the case may be. They were now reaching out for help with graphic descriptions of their practice detailing in the majority of cases, how they were only seeing four or five patients daily and a great many of them were not seeing that many. New patients were rare and clinic overhead was far beyond the income generated through the practice. Numerous practitioners expressed that they would be out of practice soon if something significant didn’t happen immediately. Many stated they were forced to work a second job to help defray costs and to enhance living expenses. The call for help was deafening. If I had only received a few letters of desperation I could understand, but to receive hundreds was absolutely unbelievable to me. How could this be? Acupuncture is without question one of the most sought after healing arts in the country. What I was unfortunately discovering about so many practitioners was far removed from what I had ever known or could even imagine could exist.

As I lecture around the nation and the world, I have had the opportunity to personally meet a variety of practitioners in my programs from those who have achieved the highest degree of success to those who are holding on by a thread. It has long been my observation the typical practitioner who has achieved overwhelming success as demonstrated by a large lucrative, referral practice always seems to stand out from the crowd.

Their Qi energy is full, radiant and magnetic. They laugh, are happy and relaxed. They express an overall confidence (but not cockiness) in their entire demeanor from their first introduction and always maintain eye contact when speaking in casual conversation. Interestingly enough many of the most successful practitioners I have met in any of the healing disciplines to include acupuncture, are not necessarily what I would consider the most academically or clinically gifted practitioners. However, they invariably have an incredible radiant personality. You just feel good being in their presence.

In virtually every program I have ever taught dealing with clinical effectiveness and practice enhancement procedures there are always several to many practitioners who are attending in sheer frustration attempting to find the magic bullet which is going to save their practice. They are looking for something tangible that they can initiate into their office procedure which will somehow magically transform them into finding success. Their desperation is so apparent upon meeting them they literally fill the room with negativity as they radiate immense fear and anxiety. It is no wonder these individuals are having a tough time succeeding. Fear has totally paralyzed their Qi and everyone they meet picks up on this destructive emotion which is the exact polar opposite of confidence. This same fear and anxiety was very apparent in most of the e-mails I received describing their failure practices and requesting more success principles. The person with negativity and fear is like being introduced to a smoker, they just plain smell. It is so obvious.

In personal discussion with these individuals, I invariably find they are competent, knowledgeable and diversified practitioners. Why then are they failing? To me the answer has become very obvious, they are just radiating more fear, than confidence. I personally wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who radiates fear, how about you? Obviously other people don’t want to either.

So is there a cure for such a pathologic condition? Yes, it is easily treated and the prognosis is excellent. Just understand the most powerful thing you can ever do in your life, not just your practice, is to breathe!!! Not just from your nose to your throat, but to the deepest and lowest lobes of your lungs. Remember, one of the best ways to perform this breathing is to participate in daily physical exercise than breathing happens automatically. However, If you are not exercising (you should be) just consciously breathe deeply in and out with thought and focus for at least 5 minutes three times a day. Once you have established breathing in your life, you can now accomplish anything.

There is nothing more powerful to circulate Qi, balance the Chakras and maintain integrity in the electro magnetic system of the body than to simply breathe deeply and fully. Of course “Breath of Fire” is the breathing which propels people to the highest realms of success. This particular breath is performed by exhaling forcefully stronger than a shallower inhalation at one breath per second. It should be performed several times per day while maintaining visualization of what it is you want. This is the breathing one utilizes naturally when you are trying “to catch your breath”. This is extremely powerful.

Understand the human body and mind cannot distinguish real from imagined. Therefore tell yourself multiple times a day that you are successful, healthy and wealthy. That your practice is overflowing with patients and people constantly seek your expertise to help them with their maladies. That you are clearly one of the best practitioners someone could go to. You are passionate, compassionate, and competent with the background and facility to help a multitude of patients. When I first began my practice, I would leave my appointment book open on the desk to display the entire week which I had filled in each day with about 25 appointments with names I just extracted from the phonebook as I thumbed through. I looked at this every time I was in the front office. When a real patient actually wanted to make an appointment, there were only two or three slots in the day which were available. Before very long, within three months if memory serves me correctly, I had created in reality what my mind and imagination had fabricated. After that, my practice just naturally grew. I never doubted it could happen!!!!

Be aware of the appearance and physical layout of your office and more importantly be vitally aware of your own appearance. If you were to hear the word and visualize a cowboy, chef, nurse, soldier, Boy Scout, doctor, you instantly draw a mental image of these individuals. One of the most important observations you can ever make in your practice is when you visualized a doctor, what picture did you create in your mind? Is this the same image you have of yourself and is this how patients see you. Remember, if you are going to be in the health care field, you better fit the image of what people hold in their mind of what a doctor looks like. Some L.Ac.’s will undoubtedly counter with “I’m not a doctor”. Yes, but your patients see you as such. Dress, act and think the part.

Just remember it is much easier to have fun than to be miserable, it is easier to laugh and smile than it is to frown and exhibit fear. It is actually easier and more natural to be a success than a failure. Look around us, the universe is pretty successful and since we are a microcosm inside of a macrocosm, we really have to work at being unsuccessful.

Throw your Qi into the ether, allow it to coexist with universal energy and reap all of the benefits which confidence, competence, passion and compassion bring. Develop your confident personality by eliminating fear. It is virtually impossible to fail in the practice of acupuncture. If you are failing, it is only because you have created it yourself. Therefore, you are the cure and failure is very easy to treat and to cure by simply expressing confidence.

May this be a fantastic Year of the Yang Fire Dog. This year has the potential to be incredible for success and finance, a famous Asian proverb for this particular year is “He who has moved the mountain, is he who began by removing the small stones”. The Best to all of my colleagues in the acupuncture and TCM profession in 2006.
Hope to hear of your success drop me a note.

John A. Amaro L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.,(NCCAOM) FIAMA, DC
Carefree, Arizona