John Weeks’ The Integrator Blog featured an interesting article on Working Class Acupuncture, a Portland, Oregon clinic built on the concept of making acupuncture more affordable.

As Lisa Rohleder, LAc, began trying to make sense of the business of professional acupuncture, she witnessed two distinct phenomena. First, she observed that a huge percentage of the working poor and even the middle class of people in the United States cannot afford to pay for acupuncture treatment when individual appointments cost $65-$200. Second, Rohleder observed that over 50% of graduates of acupuncture schools abandon practice without ever figuring out how to make a living at it.

What’s wrong with these pictures? The price-point for an acupuncture treatment seemed to her to be related to both problems.

I highly recommend you read John’s piece regardless of your modality. His interview with Lisa Rohleder is quite interesting, and also contains the basic financials for the business model she’s using and actively promoting. The fact that it makes a great service more affordable and can help practitioners earn more at the same time makes it doubly compelling.

Related Links:

Integrator Blog Article

Working Class Acupuncture site

PS – You might also want to check out Rohleder’s book The Remedy: Integrating Acupuncture into American Health Care, as well as her free ebook love your microbusiness: marketing for a community-based acupuncture practice a short, but very sweet manifesto on practice growth.

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2 Responses to “Affordable Acupuncture – Charge Less, Earn More?”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Interesting blog, I’m glad I found it.

    I’m not completely sold on Lisa’s idea. As an acupuncturist, I spend a full hour with each patient. I can’t expand the numbers by having more people in a room–it would only cause HIPPA violations. I think it’s a wonderful think outside the box strategy, but she is relying on quick diagnosis, which I am not comfortable with.

    Having said that, I have friends starting out in the Portland area and I know they were worried about her prices–however we’ve worked on marketing their services for higher fees as being superior–such as the complete individual attention, private rooms etc.

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Bonnie,

    Thanks for the comment – I’m glad you found the blog, too.

    I’m a free market kind of guy, so I support anyone – like your friends in Portland – finding their niche. There will always be a market in health care for people seeking different levels of service and privacy. Good for them for finding a sweet spot.

    If Lisa’s numbers on the failure rate for acupuncture practices are correct, then you’ve got a profession that’s barely keeping it’s head above water. That’s really too bad. What I hope her approach does is enlarge the size of the “pie”, so that practitioners aren’t just dividing the same piece into smaller and smaller slices…

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