How To Avoid Pissing Off Your Acupuncturist

I know this is hard to believe, but I am actually not perfect. Beneath my generally Zen exterior, I do occasionally get annoyed, irritated, and sometimes horrified by patients' behaviors. On that note, I bring you this article as a guide to acceptable behavior at your acupuncturist's office: 1. You know what I love to discuss with my patients, while they are lying helpless on the table? Who they voted for, and their views on abortion..oh, and religion. In case you didn't quite get the subtle thread of sarcasm there, in actuality I do NOT bring up any of the above topics with patients. Why? Because it's none of my business. I don't know why people feel the need to push their political and religious agendas on their healthcare workers, but it is not okay. I'm here to cure your tennis elbow, not to be harangued about why pro-choicers are going to Hell. If you want to discuss religion, go to church. Don't torment those who are providing a service to you with a sermon and a round of questions about their beliefs.

2. I love questions, and I enjoy people that are full of them. In fact, I welcome skeptics-it's so much more rewarding to provide great treatment results to someone who just cannot believe that acupuncture really works. However, there is a difference between questioning the efficacy of acupuncture and treating me like I am some sort of con-artist. If you come in and tell me that you don't think acupuncture will help you, I'll be happy to work on you and let the results speak for themselves. If you come in and tell me that you think "all of you people are frauds", you're just going to piss me off. And do you really want someone with needles pissed off at you?

3. Acupuncturists are like artists, in a way: each of us is completely individual, and has a style that works for us. You may have gotten a great treatment from someone else, but I will never be able to replicate exactly what that person did. And, in fact, I wouldn't want to. So just let me do what I do, and don't tell me that I'm not "doing it right" because I'm not repeating the same treatment you had six months ago from another practitioner.

4. I offer a lot of discounts and deals to my clients, and I'm happy to do so. However, don't take advantage of my generous nature. I'm providing a valuable service to you, one that I have given up years of my life and LOTS of money to learn. Would you go to a restaurant and try to talk down the cost of your meal? Or argue with the electric company that you only want to pay part of the bill? Probably not.

5. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, not all of these opinions should be expressed in my office. If you don't like black people, or Jewish people, or homosexuals, it is your prerogative, I suppose-but if you don't keep it to yourself, I'm going to think of you as a racist/homophobic/anti semitic idiot. And if I find you offensive enough, you will soon be looking for a new acupuncturist.

6. I can't date you. Really, I can't. So please don't hit on me during treatment and make it uncomfortable for both of us. When you are in my room I hold the temporary responsibility of being your caretaker, and attempting to fondle me will ruin that dynamic. And if you do try to molest me during our session, you probably won't enjoy where the next needle will end up!