February 20th, 2021 — There’s no area of safety practice that isn’t impacted by the need for boundaries.
February 28th, 2021 — For a community acupuncturist, maintaining a patient base is a lot like being the nucleus at the center of a little electron cloud of patients. This is helpful background for understanding boundaries in the clinic.
March 31st, 2021 — Or, what I learned about boundaries by having an internet fight with Peter Deadman.
January 18th, 2021 — A common argument among acupuncturists is that nobody can safely practice acupuncture without at least three years of post graduate training at an accredited acupuncture school. Also, dogs.
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.
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.
May 13th, 2021 — What can be confusing about being a community acupuncturist is how personal and how impersonal you have to be at the very same time. That’s why a cyborg is a helpful metaphor for how to be in the practitioner role: it has both organic and inorganic components and they have to work together seamlessly. Your organic components are about you, your selfhood, while your inorganic components are about your decision to serve your community in a (relatively) selfless way.
May 15th, 2021 — The relationships you have with certain regular patients will shape the parameters of your whole practice.
January 24th, 2021 — A lot of what we’re advocating on this blog is a predictable, neutral approach to acupuncture safety that’s grounded in being 1) well-organized and 2) tolerant of humans being human. In our experience, those two elements fit together quite nicely.
April 15th, 2021 — A check-in about the state of this project, what’s done, what still needs to be done, and where the Acu Safety Nerd is going afterwards. Link-fest ahead!
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’”?
October 18th, 2021 — Because people keep asking about it.
November 18th, 2021 — WCA has a difficult relationship with people who think of themselves as idealists; sometimes it seems like we attract them over and over even though we always end up disappointing them and they always end up frustrating us. It’s like moths to a flame -- if the flame were tired and exasperated and wishing the moths would do something more useful with themselves.
November 6th, 2021 — Giving a good treatment, whether in a community clinic or in any other setting, is largely a matter of focus. Our tools, our needles, are literally very small, you have to look hard to be able to see them (a fact that you’re reminded of whenever you drop one on the floor). Just finding the points in order to needle them -- that requires a lot of focus too. And then there are all the other skills of a good acupuncturist: paying close attention to a patient’s body language, knowing when to turn the intensity of your needling down or up, making sure the needles are neither too deep nor so shallow they’ll fall out, looking for the subtle signs of pain relief in someone’s face or movements in order to know if your treatment is working. Not to mention, in a community setting, keeping an eye on all the other patients in the room....Essentially, in order to give a good treatment, you have to pay close, close attention to a lot of minute details (and your fine motor coordination has to be excellent as well!). You can’t be a good acupuncturist if you’re distracted or careless. In the treatment room, you have to really concentrate. You have to control your attention.
October 3rd, 2021 — Acupuncture as medicine and acupuncture as a profession are not the same thing. The acupuncture profession has been making a concerted effort for about fifty years to argue that they are, but if you look closely enough at their respective histories, you’ll see that they aren’t. And the difference between them is particularly important for community acupuncturists -- as well as anybody else who is interested in acupuncture safety -- to grasp.
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.
December 6th, 2021 — At POCA Tech we teach Trauma Informed Care because it’s a basic, pragmatic safety measure; sometimes people with trauma histories might be cute fluffy sad things, but a lot of the time they’re... not.
December 11th, 2021 — Imperfect acupuncture works. Imperfect patients get great results from it. In order to build a community acupuncture clinic, not only do you have to accept that what you’re building will be filled with imperfect treatments and imperfect humans (including you), you kind of have to lose interest in finding fault, period.
February 12th, 2022 — We have some! And they don't suck!
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.
March 21st, 2023 — This particular incident is pretty irresistible as a teachable moment because nowhere in our materials on trauma informed care do we really dig into how bureaucracy can function as a trauma trigger, especially for low income people, and I bet there are a lot of people who don’t really understand how that works.
March 21st, 2023 — As passionate as I am about trauma informed care, it was definitely not my goal to put on a demonstration of the need for it.
March 21st, 2023 — In general, when somebody gets triggered by bureaucracy the way I did, the best case scenario for what happens next is NOTHING. The person gets overwhelmed and flees the scene, and that’s all. Maybe they pull themselves together to try again another day. It’s more likely, though, that what follows is punitive consequences in some form or another, from the bureaucracy itself.
June 9th, 2023 — Acupuncture is full of uncertainty. Sometimes people are drawn to acupuncture’s other good qualities without realizing that uncertainty is part of the package.