An Interview with Matthew Bauer, Acupuncturist and Author

by Cathy Sivak
An Interview with Matthew Bauer, Acupuncturist and Author

As a teen from a blue-collar family of construction workers, Matthew Bauer suffered from back problems and found relief through acupressure treatment that led to his interest in eastern philosophy. When the stress associated with his child's serious health problems caused his first wife to develop a thyroid condition, an acupuncturist brought relief.

That acupuncturist, a 74th generation Taoist Master (spiritual teacher), became a mentor to the young man and taught him about Taoist spirituality, philosophy and history. When his first wife's emotional problems caused her to leave him to care for their handicapped child, eastern philosophy helped overcome what he describes as a low point in his life and inspired him to seek a profession in the field.

He attended Yuin University, a California acupuncture school, received state licensing and hung a shingle. His 20-year-career as a licensed acupuncturist offering Chinese Medicine through acupuncture, Qi-Gong and Chinese herbs has included treatment of thousands of patients through his practice, LaVerne Acupuncture.

Along the way, he has become an instrumental force in promoting the profession and its benefits. He helped found an acupuncture association, served as a board member for another, and helped to create an acupuncture HMO that has since expanded to become a national program. Mr. Bauer has penned numerous articles published in industry journals including Acupuncture Today. In keeping with his professional goal to educate the public about the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, he wrote a definitive book on the subject. The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture; A Complete Guide to Timeless Traditions and Modern Practice was published by Avery/Penguin Press in 2005 and is widely available via Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Redwing Books and other outlets. In acknowledgement of his contributions to the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, his alma mater awarded Mr. Bauer an honorary PhD. in 1998.

The increasing acceptance of acupuncture and Chinese medicine as a treatment option for all types of patients is creating a "positive buzz" about acupuncture, he says. "If you sincerely want to help people with health and emotional and other types of problems, then you are in the best field possible… we truly have the potential to make this a profound art that helps people in significant ways. What more could you ask for?"

Mr. Bauer & His Career

How did you become interested in the field of acupuncture/Oriental medicine?

I came from a blue-collar family of construction workers and in my teen years developed an interest in eastern philosophy. I suffered back problems and stumbled across acupressure as a means to help my back. My first child was born with a serious intestinal condition that required several surgeries that left him in need of intensive home care. After my first wife developed a serious thyroid condition, in part from the stress of caring for our child, we sought the help of a Chinese acupuncturist who cured her in 6 weeks. This man was also a 74th generation Taoist Master (spiritual teacher) and I began studying Taoist spirituality, philosophy and history from him when I was 22 years old. Soon after, my first wife's emotional problems overtook her and she suddenly left our family, leaving me to quit work to care for our handicapped son. During this low point of my life, I furthered my study of Taoist spirituality and decided to dedicate myself to helping others and become an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine healer.

Tell us about your career in acupuncture/Oriental medicine.

I had a family to support, so I opened my office just as soon as I got my license. It was a struggle in the beginning; I just put out a shingle with no patients. I was in a pretty conservative area on the east edge of Los Angeles County. I did everything I could think of to get people in the doors. The first year, we ran out of money and I sold my wife's ‘65 Mustang to get us through; before that, I had sold her ‘79 Camaro to get through school. I bought the Mustang and restored it for her to make up for the Camaro…but then we had to sell the Mustang. That gave us enough of a bump to make it through and into the second year, I started making enough money to cover the bills. Since then, I've been quite fortunate to be able to keep being able to pay the bills. We have an extremely low overhead compared to traditional healthcare providers, and that helps. My receptionist is my wife, Gayle.

Who (or what) are the biggest inspirations for your career?

I met a 74th generation Taoist master, Master Hua-Ching Ni when I was in my early 20s. He's been a huge influence on my life and career. He's the most remarkable individual I've ever met, he's written over 40 books on a range of different Taoist topics. He was a big inspiration to me, especially in the book I ended up writing, in which I attempted to trace the roots of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture. The only reason I had the gumption to try to address the great riddle of the unknown origins of Chinese medicine was because of what I learned from his long oral tradition.

What drove you to write The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture; A complete guide to timeless traditions and modern practice?

Once in practice, I found my ability to explain acupuncture/Chinese medicine to my patients was well received and I decided to write a book on the subject. I realized years ago that one of the problems we have as a profession is that we can't explain how this began, how acupuncture started, how chi and the meridians were developed. I consider it a mystery equal to the mystery of the Pyramids or Stonehenge. I thought this was a public education problem for us, and that it was legitimate to take a stab at shed some light on how it may have all began. I've been interested in public education to help people realize what a tremendous healing resource Chinese medicine represents. The book was written for the general public, although I hope the acupuncture profession would find it of interest as well.

It's a three part book. In the first part, I try to explain the basics of Chinese medical theory. The second part of the book explains the conditions it can be used to treat and how to find a qualified practitioner. The third part is focused on self- help techniques including acupressure and touch techniques for self-treatment.

It took 10 years to write, and was published by Avery/Penguin Press in 2005. Writing the book is one thing, the getting it published is another, and then marketing is a whole other. I really believe I've made a contribution to the field, because I attempted to explain how acupuncture likely began. I believe the greatest influence on Chinese medicine and Chinese culture was primarily inspired by ancient astronomy. It would be a good book for all students, because I try to put it into perspective in a way that goes deeply into the philosophy, but presented in a way that is not too time-consuming. I've gotten some feedback from practitioners that tell me it should be a textbook for students; maybe someday that will catch on.

You were instrumental in helping establish the first acupuncture HMO plan in the United States. What led to your involvement in this endeavor? Details?

I was approached in 1997 by a company that was then called the American Chiropractic Network. They had developed a network of chiropractic providers as a complimentary healthcare plan, kind of like vision or dental care. They plugged away for years, trying to get insurance companies to warm up to the idea that there was a market for it. They developed these plans, mostly as rider plans, meaning employers would have to pay extra to get the coverage. In 1997 they made the decision that acupuncture was the next alternative practice on the list that seemed to be ready to develop a network that fit the guidelines and the practices that insurance companies operate under.

They approached about 15 or so acupuncturists that they had been told were leaders in the field and asked us to create the same sort of program treatment guidelines for acupuncture services. One example is case management, where you get authorization for a certain number of treatments – we had to determine the number of treatments for various medical conditions. It was probably the greatest concentration of man hours in our profession put into crafting guidelines. We had a dozen or so practitioners getting together on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays for quite a few months; we spent hundreds of hours to develop the policies to make it work for acupuncture services. I enjoyed spending time with my colleagues, even though we were working on a very specific, proprietary, for-profit project. The first HMO plan was approved by the California department of insurance in 1997.

Third party reimbursement is the primary way medical services are paid for in this country. For the acupuncture profession, if we ever really want to be mainstream and have our services available to a great amount of people, we have to make our peace with the insurance industry, and managed care is an important part of that. Having those networks available makes our services affordable and available to a whole different group of people that couldn't afford the ‘cash for service' terms that a lot of acupuncturists have survived on.

A third party reimbursement system is prominent in paying medical bills in this country; most people have money taken out of their paychecks to pay for the insurance to cover medical services. But if that insurance doesn't cover the kind of medical services you want, you have that much less cash in hand to pay for services you want, because a good portion went into insurance that isn't covering the services. Working with managed care was (and is) important for the future growth of the acupuncture profession.

As our ranks continue to explode, as valuable as our services are, I always felt there was potential for a lag time in the number of people entering the profession recognizing what a wonderful healing resources it is and the patients who go to access those services. Having the HMO kind of plans that can work for acupuncture services available was an important component and offered more of a chance to see the public demand keep pace with the number of practitioners coming out of school. For a lot of individual practitioners, I can appreciate why they don't want to participate in managed care plans, and that's great if they can make it. But if we are going to continue to grow as a profession, we're going to have to tap into the insurance programs that are out there.

The plan went nationwide in 2001. There are other similar plans out there as well, this is the biggest one. It hasn't grown as much as it could have, because the cost of healthcare has once again taken off. Employer groups are not inclined to add additional services for something like alternative medicine like acupuncture when they are fighting to keep regular healthcare coverage. The ridiculous cost of health care has made the growth of these sorts of plans less than it could have been. The hope is that someday the insurance industry will start to include acupuncture treatments in the core medical plan, and not only include it as a rider plan. The real movement of acupuncture services was influenced by insurance companies looking at this as not so much as "is this a good thing that's good for our customers?" but instead as a source of new income. The real hope is they may actually get serious about trying to save costs, and would look at acupuncture and say "This is often more cost-effective then conventional care, so if we include it core benefits, maybe that would encourage more people would use it, and it might bring our costs down." When it comes to the idea of result in preventative cost containment vs new revenue stream, insurance companies, like everyone else, are still focused on revenue streams.

A little less than half of my patients come in through HMO. I have a lot of older patients on Medicare with no coverage, I do reduced fees. The development of managed care has put us in a tough position. Our overhead is already so low, and insurance companies kind of cut their teeth on reducing existing fees. They're not in a mindset to raise fees, and that's been a catch-22 for our profession, because we were already cut to the bone in overhead. To be involved in insurance and managed care, we should eventually see our rates increase but that's just not the mindset the insurance industry is in. I'm not happy about that, but we need managed care out there as a profession.

What do you enjoy most your role in patient care?

That's really easy. It's being able to help a wide range of patients, including people who come to you who have seemingly exhausted all other avenues. To be able do treat people in a way that is so safe and cost effective is really an incredible thing. We need to do more to spread the enthusiasm. It's remarkable. We stick needles into people and help them find their healing resources. A well-qualified acupuncturist can treat a wider variety of patients than any other kind of practitioner. That's what I love about my work. People walk in the door with any kind of problem you can imagine, and I've got a shot at helping them.

You are member of several professional groups and helped found one of them. How do such groups support your career goals?

I've been active with different associations, I'm not in the leadership of any associations right now, and I made that decision more than 10 years ago. It's really because of the unfortunate politics among the different associations; they developed an ‘us and them' mentality. The various associations fought over specific issues, mainly around education and titles and licensing, and I wasn't going to choose sides. I try to stay active and current and maintain ties with different organizations. We are seeing some real progress there, with new leadership leading to some of the old animosities going out with the old guard. There is movement to see what we have in common, rather than focusing on the differences. I worked in the leadership of a group in California, have tried to help where I can with both state and national groups.

Your alma mater Yuin University awarded you an honorary PhD. in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in recognition of your contributions to the field. What does this honor mean to you on a personal and professional level?

It was very nice to get the PhD; it was an honor. But honestly, it probably meant more to my wife. I don't use the honorary in deference to those who are working toward it. I really appreciate it; the school was good to me. The movement to develop the doctorate program, higher standards of education, whether we keep it at an entry level or a post-doctorate type education program, I think its great we are starting to set the standards higher.

What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

I'm honestly a bit conflicted. Part of me wants to slow down and back off a bit. When I first opened my office, I called it the Holistic Care Center. I envisioned as a multi-disciplinary practice incorporating lots of educational opportunities for people. As I got involved in different professional associations and began to work on educating the public, I got drawn into other related aspects of the field. I made the decision not to build a bigger practice, to instead divide my time between practice and working on other projects important to the overall growth of the profession. I sometimes still want to build that kind of center, I like to think we could do a good one, but that's another mountain to climb. I've been very fortunate that I keep my practice at an even keel, I see a little over 50 patients a week, and I've been at that pace for at least 12 years. I like to keep it there; it allows me to pay the bills and still gives me the time to do additional pursuits related to the field.

What contributions do you feel the acupuncture/Chinese medicine field has made to society?

We've made a bigger contribution than we probably know. Somewhere between 6 to 10 million Americans have been treated with acupuncture. Its interesting, if you get into a crowd of people at a social gathering and acupuncture pops up, someone always said I've had that or my uncle did or something like that. Almost universally what you hear is a positive thing. There is a positive buzz out there about acupuncture. Until the subject comes up, people don't know how many of their friends and relatives and neighbors have had acupuncture, and most of them have had positive experiences. We have silently been making a real difference. I advocate that we shouldn't be so silent about it as a profession.

We, as a profession, should help to facilitate the good buzz that's out there in the general public to really spread the word about acupuncture. I believe we have a responsibility to do so. That's really why I wrote the book…I was frustrated with the professional associations for not taking on the responsibility of public education as a real priority. I got frustrated enough that I thought I'd write a book to take my own personal stab at it. We're really on the cutting edge of what's a revolution in medicine, and that is that we help the body to heal itself. We're not the only field that does it, but we've been doing it longer and on more people than anybody else. That needs to be the future of medicine, the development and the spreading of methods that stimulate the body's self healing rather than from the outside, which is what 98 percent of what modern medicine is about. Acupuncture is the most advanced therapy in the world for stimulating self-healing. We've been doing it for a lot of years, but it hasn't really broken out yet.

The Actual Work

Describe a typical day of work for you. On a basic level, what skills does your job demand?

I practice an unusual technique, I've worked quite a bit with Qi-Gong, and I have a Taoist spirituality background. I actually work a great deal by feel and intuition. I have some capability to feel chi blockages fairly directly; a lot of my work is done by feel more so than theory of technique. It actually comes fairly naturally to me now. That doesn't mean everybody is cured, or that I don't have patients that are difficult to help. The paper work is much more difficult. I feel so blessed, when I work on patients, I'm doing a Qi-Gong, its very relaxing to me most of the time. When I work on someone, I come out of the treatment room feeling refreshed and relaxed, and just very fortunate to have made a connection with my patient, and to be doing work that is helping people and myself at the same time. It's truly a phenomenal blessing. I believe that was the original inspiration, trial and error finding points, and then heightened sensitivity. You learn all the memorization and the theory, but when you get out there and start cultivating and balancing your own energy, we truly have the potential to make this a profound art that helps people in significant ways. What more could you ask for?

What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your patients in an independent, non-Western healthcare care setting?

Cost is always a challenge. In order to be able to help people as much as your training allows, time is money. So that's a great challenge, to be able to use all of the tools you've worked hard to develop, because so much of the time you might not be able to do everything you might have the potential to do because of the cost factors. I've tried to deal with that as much as I can, even when you offer people to work with them in any way they need to, to get them the treatment they need, a lot of times they feel uncomfortable about it and won't avail themselves. So even when the practitioner has no barriers to cost, patients often create them. I've told people over the years that my policy is that if they want my help and I believe I can help them, they get my help, and we work out the financial part along the way. A lot of people feel uncomfortable with that. People come in for treatment, and if they don't see great results right away, they get frustrated and don't show up for appointments. It is frustrating to treat someone a number of times, and thinking that if I could have had a few more whacks at them, we could have turned things around for them.

What are the tools of the trade that you use the most? Favorite gadget?

My favorite gadget is my own chi. I work a lot with my hands, I always do some amount of acupressure massage work together with acupuncture. Its all different forms of Qi-Gong, it's all about stimulating chi and addressing chi and balances. All of my techniques and tools I use are based on that, trying to diagnose chi and balances, and then trying to address them. It's one skill to find problem spots and therapeutic points in the body; it's another to know what to do with them. They are related skills, but they are not entirely one and the same. I believe less is more, that using subtle techniques and not over-treating, not trying to do too much all at once, to learn the skills is the best approach. Trust your instincts and let the treatment do its thing. We're talking about stimulating self healing, and a lot of healing of chronic problems is going to have a delayed effect and a cumulative affect. We have short, medium and long range healing. The long range is the type of service that people get the least of. We have the potential to work on that level of long-term healing, I try to encourage my patients to avail themselves to.

What are some common myths about the acupuncture/Chinese medicine profession?

One of the myths among the public is that people have to be Chinese to do it. I always ask people "Have you ever been to an Asian medical doctor?" They didn't have to be Caucasian to learn western medicine, and you don't have to be Oriental to learn Chinese medicine.

What are your pet peeves as an acupuncture/Chinese medicine physician?

My biggest is not really a complaint, it's just a disappointment. We haven't done enough to educate the public. We are the authorities in this field and we have the responsibility to let people know what it is. What you commonly heard 15 to 20 years ago was people didn't want to market their services. The common philosophy was if we just learn our art and craft, and help people, it will spread by itself. It comes from a good place, but there's nothing at all wrong with being more actively involved in getting that good news spread and helping people. My biggest disappointment is that the profession has not yet taken on that task squarely. Individuals can do their part, but as a profession we could see tremendous growth of interest and use of this field if our institutions and orgs were to start do public efforts. It takes both, individuals working with their patients plus the profession as a whole reaching out to the public.

Best patient care tip for a novice?

Treat people the way you would like to be treated.

Can you describe a patient care anecdote that typifies your role as an acupuncturist?

A patient came to me for low back pain. As I was taking the history, I asked if there were any other problems, and was told there was some pain in the shoulder, but "I'm really only here for my back." Anything else? "Well, once in a while there's some pain in my neck, but I'm here for my back, that's the thing that concerns me." I treated the patient four or five times and noticed he was moving up and down off the table. But when I asked how he was feeling, he said "I'm still in pain." So I said "the back still really hurting you?" The answer was "The back? The back is better but the shoulder is really bothering me, no better." A couple more treatments and I get the report that he is still in a lot of pain. "So the shoulder is not responding?" I ask. The answer was "Oh, the shoulder? It's a lot better, but the neck is bothering me."

One thing I would tell people, I don't think its people's poor attitudes, its part of the survival of the fittest instinct phenomena. Your focus automatically goes to the next problem, you don't think about what has been resolved. Don't just ask people how they are doing, break it down, and hold a mirror up to them, so they can see if they are getting better. This is natural healing, it often happens so subtly. They don't feel anything mystical happening to them, their problems just start to fade away. It's helpful to help patients understand how it works.

Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about acupuncture/Chinese medicine in order to be successful in the field?

It's important to be sincere: sincere with other people, but especially sincere with yourself about what your passions really are. If you sincerely want to help people with health and emotional and other types of problems, then you are in the best field possible.

Education Information & Advice

Tell us about your acupuncture/Chinese medicine education. How did you choose to attend Yuin University?

I had been looking for a school, and I was taking care of my son, who had some handicaps. When he was well enough to start pre-school, that's when I decided to get into my more chosen field. Most of the acupuncture schools were a distance a way from me, and had evening classes. I had read an article about an acupuncture school that had opened in a town a few miles from me, I went to check it out and I was sitting in class the next day. They had daytime hours, so it worked out for me. Its one of those things, if the school hadn't have opened nearby, who knows what would have happened.

I personally had a good educational experience, especially going back more than 20 years ago; at that time, if you could get 15 students together, you had a school. Mine was one of those. I had a lot of good instructors, and I actually came away from it with a good learners permit, so to speak. I had a good experience in that we had some very good teachers that saw I had a family to support and that I was very serious about my new career. The teachers gave me some good experience as well as the theoretical training.

What did you like and dislike about your education?

What I liked about it was that we had really good teachers.

Dislike, it was a new school and they were feeling their way along trying to learn what the state required, and how to make it work. It was mainly administrative problems. I didn't really form any kind of lasting bonds with fellow students. But I think that was just an unusual circumstance. It was the strangest things, I was the only non-Iranian student in my class, they were all from Iran. It's a strange and long story, but the students in my class weren't the most serious students, a lot of them were there because their parents wanted them to have some kind of training for a profession, but they weren't really people that were all that serious about oriental medicine, though some of them were. I was the only one that passed the licensing exam on the first try

In retrospect, what do you know now, that you wish you knew before you pursued your education?

It probably would have served me better to look toward one of those schools that were a more stable school that had students with like minds that I could have formed some bonds with. It is useful to students to look at alumni situations, and at what schools do in supporting their students and what kind of networking opportunities are available for graduates.

How do you feel that the acupuncture/Chinese medicine educational system could be changed to better serve society?

I think we have way too many acupuncture schools; we have to whittle it down to a number of truly outstanding schools. It will allow the schools to have more resources to grow into something that is more approaching medical universities. Eventually we need to weed out the underperforming schools and develop ones that everybody can be proud of. There are schools developing the infrastructure that are the type we are looking for, that aren't just small proprietary schools. When I went to school 20 years ago, it wasn't even a bachelor's program, it was just a kind of vocational school that prepared students for the state licensing requirements.

Schools should be involved in public outreach, pubic education, and I would like to see the schools working with the profession as a whole to help educate the public. Unlike our professional associations, which are very limited in their resources, some of the schools have financial resources that are well beyond what the professional associations have. The schools should be working with the associations to do pubic outreach and education. That would benefit the public as well as their graduates and future graduates. That would benefit prospective students and the public as a whole.

I would also like to see more studies and data; we don't really know what is going on in the job markets for licensed acupuncturists. What do acupuncturists make? What's the story out there for people entering the field? There's no reliable statistics at all. That's something the schools could help to fund. It may be that some of them don't want to know, that information might not be that rosy a picture. In most fields, when you enter a school to go into difficult and time-consuming and costly training with the idea of coming out of a new profession that you are going to devote the rest of your working life to, usually you have some kind of reliable ballpark of what your job and wage earning prospects will be like. I don't think anyone can say we have that in our fields; it's another growing pain challenge.

I always tell prospective students if they're looking for a good salaried job they can make a good wage in the healthcare field and have real job security, if that's their main goal, then this might not be the field for them. But if the main goal is that you really want to help people in a safe way and to provide a needed service to people then I don't think you can do better.

What other advice can you give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in the acupuncture/Chinese medicine field?

This is about balancing and harmonizing chi and it's like physician, heal thyself. Practitioners of this system should really be working on themselves, through practicing something like Qi-Gong or tai chi, we should practice what we preach, and studying the philosophy is part of that. Don't just look at it as a technical skill, but as a lifestyle, and not just a lifestyle to recommend to patients, but to experience and grow with yourself and you'll be in a better position to help others.

Industry Trends, Information & Advice

How can the reality of acupuncture as a career differ from typical expectations?

As great of a service this healing field is, the greatest challenges are going to come when others start to try to get a piece of the action. I see some threats in the future from those who say they do acupuncture but who come at it from a difference perspective. It used to be 20-25 years ago, the problem was that conventional medicine thought this was worthless. I believed for a long time the real problem was going to be when they decided that it was worthwhile, and I think that's happening. There is getting to be more and more support for the practice of acupuncture, that it has real clinical significance. What we're starting to see is in the conventional Western medicine is acceptance of acupuncture but not necessarily of the traditional tenets behind the practice, the idea of chi flow and meridians. There is the beginning of a new kind of acupuncture biased on Western scientific ideas, neuro chemical transmitters and nerve points … if that really catches on and the physicians in the tens of thousands start to practice this new kind of acupuncture, it might be a threat to the traditional ideas that are taught in all of our schools. All of our exams are based off of a variation of traditional Chinese medicine.

If the other health care practitioners decide acupuncture itself, sticking needles in people is good and has value, but you don't have to learn all those superstitious ideas about chi and yin and yang, here's other ways to do it with a basis in western anatomy, then the public will really start to be confused. That is something we need to be concerned about. I would encourage students to get involved with student associations and work through professional associations.

What topics are emerging as hot issues in the overall healthcare field that will impact the acupuncture/Chinese medicine profession?

Eventually it might start to sink into people that there are two types of healthcare approaches, one where we take over for the body and intervene from the outside in, and the other where we help the body to heal itself. That's what acupuncture does, and that's where the future of medicine should be going. I think it will we'll see more of that; helping the body to heal itself isn't something we've been doing in modern medicine. The body produces its own medicine. We don't always have to bring in medicine from the outside. Let's stimulate the body to heal itself. Who's going to be doing it, who are they going to be describing it and how will they present themselves is the hot topic.

What are the best ways to land a job in the field of acupuncture/Chinese medicine?

Unlike something like if you become a physical therapist or respiratory therapist or something like that, you can open the classifieds of any major city newspaper and you can find help wanted ads for these types of jobs. In the acupuncture Chinese medical profession, there aren't lots of jobs available for you to get hired on somewhere. You kind of have to make it happen yourself, whether it's going into a team setting in an established practice with an MD, Chiropractor or other acupuncturists, or going out and leasing an office and putting out a shingle, trying to get patients in the door. Most of those opportunities are opportunities the practitioners themselves have to generate; they're not just applying for positions.

How available are internships or other hands-on learning experiences?

If you compare the education we get in this country to what may happen in the Far East, especially China, that's an area where we are lacking. That's an important thing students should look at in the schools. What do they do for the hands on experiences? Do they have enough patients for the students to work on? In a lot of ways, students in the U.S. may get even a better and broader theoretical training than they would get in China, but not as good hands on training.

How has the popularity of the Internet affected your profession?

It's giving us a lot more information at our fingertips, different marketing potential, databases to help the public locate an acupuncturist. As far as individual practices go, some offices are taking advantage of the Internet to market their services.

Closing Remarks

Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself, your career, or the profession that would be interesting or helpful to others aspiring to succeed in the field of acupuncture/Chinese medicine care?

I think that I would really encourage us to mend whatever fences we could professionally; there have been differences of opinion among the associations, organizations and institutions that have sprung up in our field. The acupuncture profession in this country has accomplished amazing thing to develop a profession from scratch in 30 years. It really remarkable, but I wish we could do more to get together on the things we do agree on, which is sharing what we are to more people as a valuable health resource.

There are really challenges. Its naiveté to believe that our futures are ensured by virtue of the valuable things we are bringing forward. It takes more than that, cooperation, vision to look to into the future to see where opportunities and challenges are to deal with those, I thing there s more potential threats to the viability of our healing art to those who would look to take over this system than to deny its viability. We have a lot of work to do as far as coming as much together was we can to help protect a 3,000-year plus healing art.

Editor's note: : To learn more about Mr. Bauer or his book please check out his website Matthew D. Bauer - L.Ac. and Author of "The Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture; A Complete Guide to Timeless Traditions and Modern Practice". If you would like to follow up with Mr. Bauer personally about this interview or the field of acupuncture, click here.

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