How do you explain Acupuncture to a Western Medicine Doctor who is not opposed to acupuncture but at the same time does not understand it? How do you explain acupuncture to somebody like that who went to a different school of medicine but is looking for more solutions for their pain patients, or this could be an ortho clinic that sees injuries all day long, what do you say to them?

That's a pretty common experience to have where a patient comes in and says, "Well, my ortho says that they don't understand acupuncture but they think it's great, and they think it works, so they are all for me continuing to see you."

I just recently had a patient who had a knee reconstructed, and when she went into her PT the next day, she already had five more degrees of flexion, and the PT was so amazed when she was doing some manual work at the acupuncture. So you have a "lifer" that when you have an experience like that as another practitioner even if you don't understand the medicine. I don't understand half of the medicines out there or ALL of the medicines out there to the extent that I understand acupuncture. 

I talk to them in very basic terms like, "I'm going in to release a muscle. I'm going in to nourish a joint to have the body pay attention." I don't start talking about chi, blood, yin, yang...I can't get into that realm because they are not going to understand it. If they are willing to meet me halfway on the bridge, I better be willing to meet them halfway on the bridge and talk to them in terms that they are going to understand, words that PTs would use, that chiropractors would use. People in an industry that they are used to working with. I talk in the same realm, you know, injury prevention, treating an injury, releasing a knot, releasing a contusion, working with a concussion and the cerebral spinal fluid. Talking in the terms that they would understand. 

About Hilary Patzer:

Hilary Patzer, L.Ac. is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Sports Medicine Specialist in MN. Being an athlete herself and having worked with pro and elite athletes since 2009, she believes that it takes a fusion of sports medicine, holistic healing, and manual therapies to keep people performing at their best. This video is part of our Educational Series at Trailhead Health, where our community of amazing Doctors and Practitioners share their experiences to help answer your health-related questions.