Acupuncturists are always looking for the newest and greatest thing for their clinics. This is not any different than most people and their company, trying to enhance the presence and comfort of their business. Noah Goldstein, licensed acupuncturist in Boulder, Colorado, has found a creative yet old school way for patients to experience acupuncture. The Acupuncture Bus.
While in Boulder for a weekend getaway I decided to visit Noah and his Acupuncture Bus. Besides the obvious, it's mobile, the greatness of it lies inside. As an acupuncturist myself, I've experienced all my acupuncture treatments in brick and mortar clinics. Open door, walk in, visit briefly with receptionist, wait for acupuncturists, walk into treatment room, get acupuncture, walk out, drive car away.
With The Acupuncture Bus, a patient experiences something much different. You still have to park (well in Kansas City we park, in Boulder you ride a bicycle, run, jog, hike, unicycle, tricycle, roller skate, skate board, so on and so forth). Keep in mind this is not a food truck, this is a mobile health clinic with all the bells and whistles. The inside is remolded with beetle kill pine. The walls are accentuated with natural soft cork to insulate and sound proof the clinic. The waiting room is separated from the treatment room to allow privacy. Inside the treatment room is a community style chair for people who have coughs, colds, neck pain, knee pain, basically anything that can be treated in a chair. There is also a traditional massage table for patients who are more comfortable laying
down. I personally chose the massage table because I wanted to relax and take it all in. Above my head was a large 2x4 skylight where my view was of the changing fall leaves of aspen trees. After the needles were inserted I became instantly relaxed listening to the fall leaves bristle and the wind gently blow by. During my hour treatment people waited outside the bus asking questions. Eager to experience acupuncture in this unique environment.
Noah's fees are on a sliding scale. Noah's philosophy, because of his background in community improvement in the non-profit sector, is that people are honest and will pay what they can afford at the time. Me, being skeptical of the this, asked "What if everyone only pays $40 even though they could afford much more?" Noah with a quick smile (as though he's been asked this question more than a few times) says, "It's really important to me that more people have access to this medicine."
I believe him. His confidence in what acupuncture can do for the well being of a patient and what it can do for the Boulder community is steadfast. Not every city is lucky enough to have an acupuncturist who practices on a sliding scale.
Noah's skills as an acupuncturists need also to be examined in this article. Because what is an acupuncture bus without a skilled acupuncturist to right the ship?! In observation of quality of treatment all patients should look for these few traits.
- Art of the Intake - this is where any doctor or physician examines and asked questions to to further deduce causation of chief complaint. In Chinese medicine the practitioner should also analyze radial pulse and examine tongue coating and color.
- Needle Technique - there should be little no pain upon insertion of an acupuncture needle, hundreds and thousands of hours are required to learn this technique. Believe me, its not as easy as just putting in needles. If the needle is in the wrong place it will hurt, if the needle isn't inserted at the right speed, it will hurt.
- Bedside manner - this is where the patient experiences if they are comfortable around their physician or acupuncturists. Things like, do they ask the right questions, are they concerned about your well being, are problems and concerns you communicate understood and not brushed aside.
- Follow up and advice - after the treatment are you left to just wonder what now? Are you given advice on how to improve your health and well-being? Because you should be given this advice, you're paying for it!
Surprisingly, even though Noah has not been practicing for 10-20 years, the quality and care he provides is remarkable. The only recommended improvement is Chinese herbal remedies. But alas, a bus only has so much room.
Previous Podcast Interview With Noah: