I've gotten this question/viewpoint from instructors and peers before. To sum it up, the assumption is that the more time the practitioner spends with the client, the better the treatment. I began my acupuncture journey with full-body, private sessions like most folks, was trained to practice in this manner at Tai Sophia, and continue to have many friends and colleagues that only do private treatments. So when one of them questions the effectiveness of what clinics like OurSpace are doing, I do give the inquiry some thought.
Here's my first thought on the matter: Quality is often correlated with time, but not always. A bottle of 1962 Domaines Barons de Rothschild Chateau Lafite Rothschild costs around $1,300. On the other hand, you can raid your kid's piggy bank and grab some 2012 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc for 13 bucks. The extra time and effort it takes to raise that organic chicken (not to mention the fact that it literally grows slower than its chemically enhanced cousin) is why it tastes even more like chicken than regular chicken does. More time = Higher quality = Higher cost.
So where does that leave community acupuncture and its whopping 5 minutes of speaking with a repeat client before inserting pins, when compared to the 15-30 minutes you'll get in a one-on-one acupuncture session? Is it really the cheap, fast-food version of its three-course meal, two forks cousin? (Why are salad forks so small anyway? Makes it so hard to get the broccoli and the tomato on the darn thing at the same time...) I don't think so based on the gentle sleepy smile that is plastered on the faces of many of my clients as they float out of the door. It turns out less can be more: less time talking up front leaves more time for the client to rest with the acupuncture pins. Sometimes the acupuncturist treating in the private room says something very profound for the client, and the extra time spent on conversing pays huge dividends. Other times, after the first few minutes of checking in, nothing that will alter the course of the treatment is revealed.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to what do you expect when you request chicken for dinner (yes, the thing I like even more than acupuncture is food... chicken food) - do you want the half grilled chicken with a side salad or the chicken and rice casserole with green beans? Both take about an hour to prepare and cook. Both have a lot of good stuff in them. One has more chicken. And that ol' community acupuncture chicken don't cost an arm, or rather a wing and a leg.
Next week: How you're served makes a big difference.