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Reflection: Risk

January 26th, 2021 — What we’re aiming for is a neutral, analytical, non judgmental, safety-positive relationship to risk. To get there, it helps to identify what might be in the way.

Reflection: Harm Reduction

January 27th, 2021 — Like trauma informed care, harm reduction is a public health approach that employs a non-punitive concept of safety. Sometimes safer is a better goal than safe.

Boundaries in Community Acupuncture, Part 1

March 28th, 2021 — Although your relationships with patients will vary based on a number of factors, not least how invested they are in receiving acupuncture, there should be a core consistency in how YOU approach them.

Boundaries in Community Acupuncture, Part 2

March 29th, 2021 — The Chinese proverb “the superior doctor prevents sickness; the mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; the inferior doctor treats actual sickness” is often interpreted by acupuncturists to mean that any illness can be prevented by maintaining mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony, and so a “sage healer” or “scholar-physician” is primarily a teacher or a guide for ordinary people in how to live so that they don't get sick. There are some boundary issues with that.

Safety/Risk Continuum for Talking to Patients

March 27th, 2021 — Just like with needling, the more invasive/aggressive you are and the more territory you cover in verbal communication, the more risks you’ll encounter. Choose wisely.

Leadership and Safety Part 1: Consent

May 7th, 2021 — Inspirational leaders make other people want to do things that those people were otherwise not motivated enough or not confident enough to do on their own. They get people to transcend their own self-interest to serve a bigger vision. That’s wonderful, right? Yeah, no, not really.

Leadership and Safety Part 2: "Edna Mode" Mode

May 9th, 2021 — “I know we decided to follow the CDC guidelines for COVID in the workplace, but now that we have something we need to follow them ABOUT, what if they’re WRONG?” This is when you need Edna Mode.

Work in Progress: Safety/Risk Continuum for Acupuncture Styles

January 28th, 2021 — As part of encouraging a neutral, analytical, non judgmental, safety-positive relationship to risk, it seems like it’s worth describing a safety/risk continuum for acupuncture styles. There’s no one right way to practice acupuncture AND certain styles are clearly less risky than others.

Work in Progress: POCA Tech Needling Policy

March 4th, 2021 — A crucial aspect of becoming a practitioner is learning to navigate safety and risk. Declaring a practice legal or illegal is not the same thing as making it safe or unsafe. Regulation and safety are not identical, though many people in the acupuncture profession believe they are.

"How Bad Is It REALLY to Date a Patient?"

May 26th, 2021 — The practice of acupuncture involves a certain amount of intimacy between humans, in the context of a society that’s just beginning to learn about consent, with capitalism telling us all that there’s never enough of anything good. (Spoiler: it's still a bad idea to date patients.)

Dual Relationships in Community Acupuncture

June 8th, 2021 — What they are, why you can't avoid them if you're a community acupuncturist, and some things to think about.

On Regulars

May 15th, 2021 — The relationships you have with certain regular patients will shape the parameters of your whole practice.

Tasks and Tools of Safety

June 2nd, 2021 — Because you *can* manage risk without spending most of your time and energy worrying about what could go wrong -- the way you do it is by focusing on building something positive.

Risk, Entrepreneurship, and Acupuncture Schools

September 20th, 2021 — Or, “Why is a member of POCA Tech’s Advisory Board doing a conference presentation titled ‘For the Medicine to Survive, the Profession Must Burn’”?

Pneumothoraxes and a Culture of Safety

August 9th, 2021 — We can’t make good individual decisions about risk unless we have better collective conversations about safety.

The Small Business Mindset

November 21st, 2021 — Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about learning specific skills like bookkeeping, marketing, negotiating with landlords, etc. You certainly need those skills, but any of them are arguably easier to attain than the overarching mindset that makes somebody happy to work in a small business setting. This is something we’re belatedly recognizing at POCA Tech, so from here on out, you can expect us to never shut up about it.

Clean Needle Technique, Social Safety, and the Benefits of Being a Safety Nerd

April 12th, 2022 — The idea behind Clean Needle Technique is that an acupuncturist needs to approach every patient as if they had all possible bloodborne diseases. This is important for your individual safety as a punk because you can’t depend on patients to 1) know their status or 2) tell you. But approaching every patient in the exact same way is also crucial to the social safety of the clinic -- and the bigger the clinic, the more people involved, the more concerning the potential consequences become for *not* treating every patient in the same way.

Why We Do This, Part Two

April 20th, 2022 — It’s hard for students (and also licensed acupuncturists!) to wrap their minds around the range of ways that people can respond to acupuncture, which in turn makes it challenging for them to learn how to manage risks associated with treatment. It’s hard to take risk seriously when it doesn’t feel real! And often the only thing that can make risk feel real is firsthand experience of an unintended outcome.

Heading for the Cliff

October 29th, 2022 — For over a decade, all signs have pointed to the acupuncture profession being on a road (by choice) that leads to the edge of a cliff. That cliff can be defined as the point at which the cost of an acupuncture education is so clearly not a good investment that people stop entering the profession and thus stop funding its infrastructure (particularly the NCCAOM, which is one of the main gatekeepers for entry into the profession and so depends on, you know, people wanting to enter the profession).

Hope Is a Risk: Leadership and Pain Management

November 4th, 2022 — Successfully managing pain requires not fighting pain, because fighting pain involves focusing on pain, and focusing on pain makes pain worse. Resisting pain amplifies pain. Successfully managing pain, as a practitioner, means helping people focus instead on incrementally reducing their pain and incrementally increasing their quality of life. But the focus has to be on living life, not on fighting pain. And this requires leadership skills, because for most humans, the default setting is to fight pain.

AERD 2022: the Year in Review

January 1st, 2023 — Sometimes "go home and rest with tea" is the exact wrong thing to say to a patient.

Heading for the Cliff, Part Two

January 23rd, 2023 — Myths aren’t the same as fairy tales or folktales or any other story; they’re powerful and generative in a distinct way. Myths can make things happen, for better or worse. I think the acupuncture profession in the US possesses, and is possessed by, one of these: the myth of the scholar-physician with a hospital job.

Acupuncture as Work

February 6th, 2023 — Practicing acupuncture in a way that allowed me to make my living was more like raising a child than having a job or a career. And this isn’t because I’m a community acupuncturist instead of a private room acupuncturist, it’s because I was running a small business, period.

AERD Report 2023 Q 3.75

November 27th, 2023 — Apologies for the delay! More AERD Greatest Hits, plus some interesting data about possibly increased risk of adverse events after medical testing.