Explaining Acupuncture Without Jargon

Jargon seems like a dirty word. In reality, jargon is merely the language that a specialized profession uses to discuss their profession. For an acupuncturist, qi is jargon. Unfortunately, too many acupuncturists attempt to train their patients and potential patients to learn their jargon.

It can be easy for acupuncturists to think that there is no other way to communicate about their medicine. This isn’t wrong. What is wrong is thinking that patients and potential patients need the same level of information as another practitioner. Doctors tend to talk down to patients. They use the most familiar and simple language rather than teaching them terms that they know as doctors. This can irritate patients who have a higher level of understanding. However, it is an excellent way to teach those who do not have great familiarity with the terminology.

If there is anything an acupuncturist needs to learn and understand it is how to communicate to patients without using jargon. Many practitioners just substitute the word energy for qi and go from there. Unfortunately, this too can put patients off. Using terms like energy still requires that patients walk into the world and paradigm of the acupuncturist. Many of them are not yet ready to do that.

It is important to find words that describe what acupuncture does in a way the patient can understand. They understand that they have a symptom. They understand that the acupuncturist is claiming to be able to help them. They don’t understand how placing needles in the body will help them.

Rather than trying to teach the patient theory, acupuncturists need to reassure them that it does work. When patients ask how it works, talking about the fact that Western allopathic medicine and science doesn’t really have a way to know how it works but many studies show that it does work. To explain how it works may require learning more about a completely different cultural medical paradigm. Most patients are just happy to know that acupuncture is scientifically proven. If they want to know more, remind the patient that Western science may not know, but we didn’t always know about germs either. It took sophisticated equipment to find them in the body and learn what they did.

Patients are typically looking for someone who can communicate on their level. They want to know that they are spending money on something that will work. They want to trust their acupuncturist. The best way to build trust is to communicate. The acupuncturist who wants to build their practice needs to learn to communicate in the language of their patients and not in the language of the medicine.