Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ordinary Miracles Workers

I got a chuckle out of a recent Yelp review in which my associate Mike Sobin was called a miracle worker. This was funny to me in part because I know the patient who wrote the review, and in part because I too had just been declared a miracle worker in the Yelp review just prior to this one!

Now, don't get me wrong: I've known Mike a few years now, and no doubt, the dude is miraculous... but this kind of stuff is a little concerning.

Folks, we are not miracle workers, and the whole notion is in fact one that is fairly in opposition to the whole community acupuncture ethic. I know, on the one hand, maybe calling someone a miracle worker in a yelp review is just a figure of speech. On the other hand though, it very much misrepresents what we are doing and what we are about.

At South Austin Community Acupuncture we strive to serve our community by offering acupuncture and ancillary services in such a way that a broader population can access them, and we basically strive to do good work. Sure, we are all about getting results, and we appreciate a favorable review - but it really is important to keep things in perspective.

One of the great stigmas of traditional Asian medicines (as I see it) is this notion that if positive results are obtained they are somehow "miraculous". This kind of thinking actually serves no one. In fact, positive results often take some effort and are more commonly anything but miraculous. And yes, sometimes all it takes is a treatment...but, again it is not by virtue of acupuncture being miraculous that results are achieved. It's usually much more mundane than that.

This way of thinking also points to the problem around how we value acupuncture. Does the value of acupuncture lie in the fact that it is miraculous? I think not. The whole point of community acupuncture is to wipe away all these notions that acupuncture is some kind of rarefied thing performed by practitioners with some kind of secret knowledge, and to stress that acupuncture is in fact rather ordinary and can be used for all manner of ordinary things by all manner of ordinary people.