Practicing Acupuncture in Rural America • Barbara Bittinger • Qi157

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Nothing new about city and rural life being very different. But what about when it comes to having an acupuncture practice? What’s it like to practice to practice away from the bustle of big city? Are country folk really that different from city slickers? And what about non-mainstream medicine like acupuncture, how’s it accepted in the hinterlands?

In this conversation with Barbara Bittinger we discuss the benefits of living and working in rural America and how community is not just an idea but an essential aspect of day to day life.

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In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Thinking of a change— what are you waiting for?
  • Concerns Barbara had about moving out to the countryside
  • The respect that came from the blue collar community that was missing in the white collar world
  • Things to consider if you’re thinking of opening a practice in a rural area
  • It takes time in a rural community to built trust, people want to know you’re going to be sticking around
  • Different sets of boundaries between city and rural communities
  • Allow locals to feel a sense of ownership with your business
  • It comes down to what kind of life you want to live

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Love your patients as if they were your own mother, father, sister brother. I learned that from my teacher in China and it made a profound impression on me. I had to let a few people go over the years but by sticking to that I have found our clinic to be a happy, loving place to be.

Previous life experiences and professional paths led me to the practice of Chinese Medicine. My pursuit of the fine arts and working in creative environments has taught me to think creatively in the face of adversity. Working through my own chronic health conditions, and then my daughter's unusual and difficult-to-diagnose health challenges, I tried the best conventional medicine had to offer, with limited positive results. Eventually, I turned to alternative therapies, finding relief in modalities such as chiropractic, nutrition, yoga and meditative practices.

Chinese medicine is a way of life for me. Chinese medical theory can be applied to all aspects of our lives. It brings a sense and hope to difficult conditions and empowers people to look beyond their Western diagnoses to more possibilities for healing.
At present, I work in a small town of under 1,200 people. Small town life with a sense of community was a welcome change to the buzz of the city. The pace here is slower; people take time to listen to each other, and there is great respect for new options being brought to the community. Often, I get to treat many generations of a family. Getting to know all the family members gives great insight into what is going on health-wise in an individual. There's a beautiful give and take between practitioners and the patients. We offer what we can to guide them through their health challenges and they take care of us by lending a helping hand, offering gifts from the garden, and truly caring about us and our families.
Although I enjoy the challenge of a good dermatology case or a puzzling chronic condition, I take what comes. Every day is a learning opportunity and I wait for the gift of the day to walk through our door.


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