Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Can Give a Great Live Presentation!

by Honora Lee Wolfe

It has been my experience with practitioners and students everywhere I teach, that giving short lectures and presentations is a great way to grow a private practice. However, when you are lucky enough to have a group of people to speak to, the first rule is Don’t Be Boring! After all, you are attempting, by doing the talk in the first place, to come across as knowledgeable, personable, credible, approachable. In other words, you want to be, in the minds of the audience, the ‘go to guy’ for the subject about which you are lecturing.

Even if you are only speaking for 15-20 minutes, there are a few simple methods and rules that will improve the odds that your audience is impressed, at least enough to take your card or brochure, and possibly enough to make an appointment with you on the spot!

First lets talk about Presentation Style

There are many things you can do to improve your presentation style. Here are just a few tried and true methods.

1. Open your talk by announcing a serious problem. For example, “It is estimated that 15 years from today, there will be twice as many diabetics in the US than there are today.” Or, “Did you know that loss of productivity and work time due to carpal tunnel syndrome costs the US over $500 million per year?” This grabs your listeners’ attention, makes them think and gives them a reason to listen to the rest of your talk.

2. Don’t be afraid to pause. To emphasize an important statement, take a breath and make eye contact with someone in the audience. Count to three before you start to speak again.

3. Change your tone of voice, facial expression, and body position. Nothing puts listeners to sleep faster than a monotone voice and a flat, affectless face. Move about the room if that is a possibility; this allows you to make specific, close-up contact with lots of people.

Visual Aids

1. Use charts, graphs, color, interesting overheads. Draw pictures on a whiteboard.
2. Give handouts. These can be an outline of your talk, or a related article or research. Make sure your contact info is written or printed on EVERY piece of paper that you hand out. Or, staple your card or brochure on the back of the handout materials.
3. If you are asking for feedback or questions from the audience, you might write them all down on a whiteboard or flipchart and then answer them. This allows for audience participation and engagement in your talk.
4. If you are going to do a demonstration, make sure you time it so that you know it will fit. Be sure to leave time for audience comments and questions. Having a volunteer with you for such demos is a good idea.

Audience Interaction

1. Leave time for questions. Think about what the most likely questions might be and what your answers are. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but if you give me your email address I’ll see what I can find out.”
2. Ask for a show of hands about something. “How many of you have ever had a migraine headache?” or “How many of you have a friend or family member with heart disease?”
3. Ask for a volunteer for something... as long as it’s not something that you need them to sign a treatment release to participate in!
4. Answer a question with a question. “Well, what do you think is the appropriate type of exercise for someone with a BMI of 30?” or, “There are many possible answers to that question; are you more interested in herbal medicine, acupuncture, or home self-care?” or, “I can think of a number of possible foods that could be beneficial, but tell me a few foods that you eat every day and lets analyze those first.”

Thinking About Content

1. Ask yourself before every presentation, “How does the content of my talk benefit my listeners?” Make sure there is something that your listeners will take away with them that applies to their lives; especially something they will want to tell their friends, family, and co-workers about the next day!
2. If you make a mistake, be ready to laugh about it. If the talk bombs, be willing to analyze your mistakes and try again.
3. If you use humor, make sure it is appropriate for the audience. It’s ok to poke fun at yourself, but be careful who else you poke fun at in a crowd. If you aren’t good at humor, be warm and friendly, but stay away from jokes.
4. Remember the old cliche, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you told them.” Summarize the main points at the end of your lecture to make sure that the audience knows what was most important.

Who would want me to speak to them?

Look in the Sunday paper under groups and associations. Look in the Yellow Pages under Associations. Create a short letter introducing yourself and offering a few different talks. Keep this piece short and to the point. For example, if you want to speak to a local chapter of the American Diabetes Society, you might offer two or three different length talks with slightly different subject matter all related to how acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine can help blood sugar, weight control, or maintaining peripheral blood circulation. Offer to send them a sample of research supporting your assertions or to cite/handout such research at the talk. Tell them when you are available and how to reach you. Wait a week and follow up with a phone call, email, or both. You’ll get engagements if you are persistent.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The more often you speak in public, the better you will get at it. You will learn to involve your audience, gauge what their level of interest is, tell jokes with aplomb, use your content with grace and flexibility, create better handouts and visuals, and master stage fright (yes, everyone gets it, even seasoned speakers). One thing to remember every time you get in front of a group of people is that they would not be there if they did not want to hear you, like you, and like your message; that’s where you start from before you even open your mouth in most cases. If you have something interesting to say and you say it even reasonably well, with humanness and a humble confidence, you’ll do fine. And, yes, some of the people in the audience will, eventually, become your patients.

Unless you are absolutely terrified of other people and public speaking gives you heart palpitations, it is one of the most reliable ways to build your practice. So get out there and connect with more potential patients who could benefit from our wonderful medicine. Do it today!

For more information on building your practice, see the new, fully-revised (2013) edition of  Points for Profit: The Essential Guide to Practice Success for Acupuncturists by Honora Wolfe and Marilyn Allen. (Available October, 2013.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For Your Fall Allergy Patients

This is an article that was published by Blue Poppy some years back…but in case you forgot about this formula, it can be very helpful for your allergy patients in the Spring or Autumn. I don’t do it often, but this is a small shameless marketing moment. Still, this information is good even if you never use the formula from Blue Poppy. Thanks for reading.

Ease for your Patients with Allergies NOW!

By Bob Flaws, Dipl. Ac. & C.H., Lic. Ac., FNAAOM, FRCHM

A few years ago, Blue Poppy introduced a version of Li Dong-yuan’s Astragalus & Ginseng formula for the prevention of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Then, when numerous customers asked us to also create a formula for the remedial treatment of allergic rhinitis we combed the Chinese medical literature to find the best formula for Westerners for acute stage allergic rhinitis. After reading scores of Chinese research reports on various formulas, I kept coming back to a formula that I personally have used in my own practice for a number of years. This formula is a modification of Bi Qiu Tang (Sniveling Nose Decoction) created by Dr. Wei Zi-zhang of the First Affiliated Hospital of the Guangxi College of Chinese Medicine. Our version, AllerEase is a 9:1 extract and is available in bottles of 60 500mg capsules. We also have a children’s version, AllerEase Jr., in a glycerin base dispensed by dropper. AllerEase has been very popular and well received by practitioners and their patients. We expect the same response for AllerEase Jr., the newest addition to our ever expanding pediatric line.

This formula is based on the concepts that everyone who has allergic rhinitis has a defensive qi vacuity and everyone who has allergic rhinitis has deep-lying or hidden phlegm in their lungs. Although there are different opinions about the creation of defensive qi, after many years of practicing Chinese medicine, I agree with the authors of the Nei Jing (Inner Classic) that the defensive qi exists or issues from the middle burner. In my experience, it is the spleen qi’s upbearing of the clear that supplements the lung qi, and the lungs control the defensive qi. In addition, it is said, “The spleen is the root of phlegm engenderment; the lungs are the place where phlegm is stored.” If the spleen is or becomes vacuous and weak, it will lose control over the movement and transformation of water fluids in the body. These will collect and transform into dampness. If dampness lingers and is retained, it tends to congeal into phlegm over time.

In terms of Chinese medical theory, pollen, animal dander, airborne molds, and microscopic dust are all species of wind evils. Wind evils refer to invisible pathogens, which tend to be airborne (although they do not absolutely have to be). If a person’s defensive qi is vacuous and fails to secure the exterior, wind evils may take advantage of this vacuity and enter the body. The lungs are the florid canopy as well as the tender viscus. Therefore, the lungs are typically the first viscus to be affected by invading wind evils. If these evils hinder and obstruct the diffusion and downbearing of the lung qi, then the lungs lose their control over the water passageways. Instead of fluids being downborne, these back up, if there is already phlegm rheum deep-lying in the lungs, this phlegm counterflows upward along with the lung qi. Thus there is sneezing, nasal congestion, and runny nose. Because the lungs open into the orifices of the nose, wind evils cause itching of the nose.

Although it is wind evils which cause the paroxysmal or acute stage of allergic rhinitis, the pattern that patients with allergic rhinitis present is one of wind cold. Wind describes the disease cause and cold describes the kind of phlegm rheum that is evident. The runny nose that is pathognomonic of allergic rhinitis is a clear, thin, copious watery phlegm. This is cold phlegm as opposed to phlegm heat, which is thick, opaque, and tends to be yellow. While allergic rhinitis may transform into sinusitis, if there is yellow or green phlegm, then this is both a different disease and a different pattern. Simple allergic rhinitis always presents a wind cold pattern. Further, because the defensive exterior is, ipso facto, vacuous and insecure and because there is typically a continuous, unceasing runny nose, the lung qi is insecure and failing to astringe.

This means that the treatment principles for wind cold allergic rhinitis are to fortify the spleen and boost the qi, diffuse the lungs and dispel wind, transform phlegm and warm rheum, and open the orifices of the nose at the same time as astringing and securing the lung qi, and this is exactly what Wei Zi-zhang’s formula does. Within it, Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Yi Yi Ren, and Shan Yao supplement the lungs, spleen, and kidneys, the three viscera that govern water metabolism in the body. He Zi and Wu Wei Zi secure the lungs and specifically stop runny nose. Fang Feng and Jing Jie Sui gently dispel wind evils from the exterior while not damaging the defensive qi. Xin Yi Hua and Bo He open the orifices and free the flow of the nose, thus relieving nasal congestion. Chan Tui dispels wind and stops itching. Jie Geng guides the other medicinals to the lungs and also transforms phlegm. Gan Jiang warms the lungs and transforms phlegm. The combination of Yi Yi Ren and Ze Xie seeps dampness via urination and, therefore, helps Bai Zhu eliminate dampness. Gan Cao harmonizes all the other medicinals in the formula at the same time as helping fortify the spleen and supplement the qi. Thus this formula exactly fits the disease mechanisms of this condition. 

This formula is not meant for long-term administration. Once the allergic attack has been brought under control, the practitioner should consider switching the patient to Astragalus & Ginseng in order to address the underlying disease mechanisms during the remission stage. However, during acute allergic attacks, one should consider taking more AllerEase than the recommended dose on the bottle. This dosage is only for FDA purposes. It is a minimum daily dose. For larger persons and for quicker effect, this dose may typically be doubled or tripled without harm. During acute attacks, one should suspend Astragalus & Ginseng. It is not necessary or particularly beneficial to take both formulas at the same time. AllerEase itself treats both the root and branches (or tips) simultaneously.

Of course, patients with allergic rhinitis will typically also have to modify their diet. One cannot expect huge results if they continue eating a lot of dairy products, sugars and sweets, and oily, greasy, fatty foods. Nevertheless, research in China has shown this formula to be extremely effective for the remedial treatment of acute allergic rhinitis. Thirty-three patients with wind cold allergic rhinitis and an underlying lung-spleen vacuity were given a single course of treatment with this formula and then followed for six months. In six cases, their symptoms disappeared and did not recur for the full six months of the study. In 23 cases, their symptoms recurred after more than three months but less than six months. However, repeat treatment was able to immediately eliminate their symptoms. Only four cases got no effect. Thus the total effectiveness of this formula was 87.8%. When combined with proper diet and Astragalus & Ginseng, one should be able to dramatically decrease any tendency to relapse. With the late summer and early fall allergy season soon upon us, order a supply of AllerEase® and AllerEase Jr.® today. You won’t be sorry you did.

Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Favorite recipe for a hot compress to use in your clinic

Not all pain patients like heat on their areas of pain, but many do. For those who don't you can use liniments and patches. For those who crave heat, you can use liniments with a heat lamp, OR use this hot compress in your clinic, OR send people home with bags of these herbs to cook up and use as a soak or compress in between treatments.It's simple but effective. I learned this one at the Shanghai #1 Teaching Hospital when I was a student there in the tuina ward. They kept a crock pot of this decoction hot and at the ready with clean towels for application on many patients.

Recipe for a Hot Compress

Hong Hua   
Chi Shao
Tao Ren
Zi Ran Tong
Dang Gui Wei
Chuan Xiong
Su Mu

15 grams of each in one gallon of water. Place the Hong Hua in a cotton bag or tie into a piece of cheese cloth to make your straining process at the end easier. Simmer for 45-60 minutes. Strain out the dregs and keep this on warm in a slow cooker in your clinic. You can reuse this liquid for 4-5 days if kept warm.

Use flannel cloth or old kitchen towels that you don’t care if they are dyed red by the Hong Hua. Use the compress as hot as you can stand to wring out and as hot as the patient can stand. Place on the skin and pat once or twice….place on the skin and pat once or twice. Repeat this until the skin is red and warm without burning the patient.

The patient could also do this at home for ongoing care of muscle, tendon, soft tissue injuries.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bad Business, But Excellent Herbs in Tibet

Having recently visited my Teacher's Buddhist monastery in Eastern Tibet (an amazing place in a beautiful valley well over 14,000 feet above sea level), I can say that none of the business advice I write up for my blog readers would have had any impact on the stores and offices in the small, adjacent village where we stayed. On my several meanderings to find this or that in the stores there, it seemed a wonder to me that they survive at all. Still, everyone seemed reasonably happy and no one was what do I know about running a business? Obviously nothing if you happen to live in rural Tibet!  Just goes to show you that every culture has different rules and what works in one place would never fly in another.

What struck me first was that no one wanted to pay for electricity. Almost universally, the stores and offices were dark inside. They had lighting in most cases, but did not turn it on. Even the local Tibetan doctor's office did not have anything other than whatever natural light filtered into his office storefront. It was often difficult to see the merchandise and just as often there was no one in the shop when you walked in. One had to shout and hope that your voice was louder than the video game playing in the back room.

Second, there were no posted hours of operation on the doors. I suppose if you know everyone in town, they may know where to find you if you aren't in your shop! Anyway, just one more common situation that would not work for us in the West.

Then there were the dirty floors and counters, even in the food shops. I guess this is balanced out by the fact that there is clearly no stress due local or national authorities inspecting and handing out fines for cleanliness violations. Everyone was pretty laid back and friendly. If I was worrying about the dusty food bins, no one was joining me in my concern!

Last of all, most shops had no signage. Again, a very small village and everyone knows where everything is (unless you are a visitor). For example, it was only on the last day that we discovered there was a bookstore in town a block from our lodging, but you'd never have found it unless a local took you there. The whole experience made me think of the wild west; maybe that's what it would have been like to shop in Silver City, NM or Laredo, TX a hundred years ago.

Here we could never get by with non-existent lighting, no posted hours, questionable floors and counter-tops, or no signs on the front of our clinics! So what did these people have that allows them to stay in business? It's a small village where everyone knows everyone and everyone is imbedded in the community. That rule ..."imbeddedness in your community"... was exactly the same there as it is here. Clearly there were no brochures, biz cards, or websites required, and I've said it before that the smaller the community you live in, the less you need a website and the more you simply need to know everyone. That same phenomenon was operating in this village.

One interesting note. The Tibetan doctor there (many monasteries have one) did do house calls and was extremely solicitous of his patients. Our Blue Poppy formula, Immortal Qi®, which has among its uses the treatment of various symptoms of altitude sickness, worked nicely for most of us but was the wrong formula for one of the people on our pilgrimage. For this person, the Tibetan doctor prescribed a packet of granules (that looked like Chinese herbs although he was not able to explain to us what was in it) which thankfully helped her. He came back several times to her room to check her pulse and inquire about her improvement. We were told they had had visitors in the past who'd had to be driven 10 hours back to the closest hospital due to altitude sickness, so perhaps it's not a wonder he was worried about her.

Speaking of herbs, another thing we found interesting is that the Chinese have created an insane market for the local hong hua, gou ji, dong chong xia cao (cordyceps), and a dark/red-orange version of ju hua, all grown/produced in that area. These were all sold in fancy packages at varying outrageous prices, especially the cordyceps, in hotel and tourist stores in Qinghai province.

Upon my return to Colorado, a combination of Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan and the Blue Poppy Original Resolve Depression and Stabilize Sleep® got me back to a normal sleeping cycle in fairly short order, just to give that quite versatile formula a small marketing moment.

Here's hoping you're having a great Summer, perhaps interesting travel opportunities, good health, and that the lights are on in your clinic! By the way, if you read my blog and enjoy the articles and suggestions, please forward it to a friend. With the advent of the new website, people have yet to find my new blog. Thanks for helping me spread the word.