View Full Version : The business of TCM in Calfornia

cha kuen
04-03-2003, 01:45 PM
I am considering enrolling in a TCM school and practicing something like accupunture for my career. My friend's dad said that it's not a good idea because there are over 10,000 accupunturists in California.

From a business standpoint, is it a good career to go into? Seeing that people always have increasing health problems- the market is there. And with so many accupunturists out there already, it would seem like the key to success is your marketing and people skills, as well as your TCM skills.

What do you guys think?

Former castleva
04-04-2003, 05:30 AM
Thatīs a lot of players there.

As far as I know,if you do it,you are likely to do it for something else than solely a good living.
The good point would seem to be that with relatively little training you may be able to set up your own clinic and practice legally I would assume.
From a business viewpoint,conventional medicine would certainly be the case but then,it would require hard training for justified practice.

This reflects the idea that I have built based on my experiences and data-as objectively as possible.

herb ox
04-04-2003, 10:30 AM
As an individual considering doing the same (TCM), I face the same issues. However, one needs to take into consideration WHY they are motivated towards TCM. Is it only business, or is it to fulfill a lifelong thirst for learning how to heal...

When you're in the middle of nowhere with no western meds... you can still treat someone with acupressure. I feel it's the medicine of the ancient past that will prevail during the post-apocalyptic (SP?) days of uber-violence. :rolleyes:

Either way - are you doing it for business or for lifelong learning? If it's soley for business, heed the other's advice carefully. If it's for yourself and the quest to help others, follow your heart.

good luck
herb ox

Former castleva
04-04-2003, 10:34 AM
One for the money,
One for the show... ;)

Coming down to it,if one really loves his/her work,then may end up doing it even if it is not financially great.

cha kuen
04-04-2003, 01:15 PM
I am considering it because I enjoy it. But you cannot just go into a field just becuase you like it. I feel that you have to consider the business aspect of it so that you don't end up broke.

Anyways, I have thought about why I wanna do it already. BUT this post is to consider the business aspects...

Former castleva
04-04-2003, 01:48 PM
"Anyways, I have thought about why I wanna do it already. BUT this post is to consider the business aspects..."
Stand out from the crowd?
Practitioners would still be a few if compared,and a bit "hidden".
Besides this babbling,careful analysis of the situation I find unlikely to hurt.

cha kuen
04-05-2003, 12:04 AM

herb ox
04-05-2003, 10:25 AM
Personally, the business aspect I consider most appealing is the independence to practice medicine without needing to belong to an HMO, a big company, etc. You can move to just about anywhere in N. America and practice (provided you get licensure in the area you decide to practice in).

I'm not sure if your martial practice has progressed to the level of teaching, but it seems to be a good combination - martial arts and TCM - open a school, practice TCM - seems like a winner to me!

If it was good enough a combo for Wong Fei Hung... well, you know the rest! :D

Former castleva
04-05-2003, 10:35 AM
What Iīm trying to say (which is not easy to-) is that you need/might want to observe the situation in terms of how-is and how it works like in there,does it seem productive?
Additionally I meant that practitioners tend to,naturally,be out of general hospital setting and to "stand out from the crowd" is a concern,as you do mention on "marketing" etc. (unless you are famous or something :) ) You might have to do something else besides it.
If this is what you are after,it would seem to be important to invest in good education on it.
Too bad if this all sounds like stating the obvious :o Canīt really think of anything else now.

cha kuen
04-05-2003, 11:18 AM
I think i know what you're talking about. I've met people who were educated at TCM schools in America and make a good living from their practice. They see at least 8 patients a day.

8 patients x $40 = $320/day.

$320 x 5 days = $1,600/week

$1,600 x 4 weeks = 6400

$6,400 x 12 months = 76,800

Of course they have to pay rent for their office and whatever but that's not too bad.

My little idea I have is that I would be one of the best at TCM in america. My theory is that basically everyone that comes out of a TCM school in America has a set of skills and is at a certain level. What makes you good is taking seminars and learning from people one on one. I know one person in Hong Kong who is over the top in his skills. If I did go through with TCM, I'd get my degree in the States (to make all the license stuff easier) and I'd get the good stuff from the Hong Kong guy.

I'd come back after and take over.

Former castleva
04-05-2003, 11:22 AM
Good luck.

cha kuen
04-05-2003, 11:26 AM
Just to give you an idea the guy in Hong Kong sees anywhere from 40 - 100 patients a day, averaging 65 or so.

65 patients x $25 per visit (in Hong kong) = 1,666 per day

He earns about 400,000 a year. But then again he takes time off to go to Fukien here and there to visit his sifu and he has 2 children that go to school overseas so that takes a good chunk of of his cash.

Of course I won't get 65 patients a day but average people get 8 a day, I can aim for like 15 a day and still be making it pretty good doing what I wanna do.

herb ox
04-17-2003, 07:36 AM
CK -
The hong kong dr. you mentioned - are the numbers based upon the ol' "feel the pulse, look at the face, look at the tongue - write a prescription for herbs" kind of practice? I've visited doctors who do this and I can see how one could see so many patients. However, in California, it seems people would like an hour treatment including extensive interview, acupuncture, moxa, ringing of bells, lighting of incense and candles - perhaps a mystic Taoist mantra on top ;) Seems like a bit more time consuming to me...

My point is this: in CA, if you treat mostly non-Asian patients, people who visit an acupuncturist are expecting acupuncture and a short visit would not be considered a good value... maybe! I mean, you go to Kaiser, wait an hour, the dr. spends about 5-10 minutes with you and the rest is taken care of by a nurse or an assistant.... the bill is easily over $200... now, that's value? Anyways, I think in CA, the 8 patients a day is plenty ambitious figure.

BTW, I'm a Californian... (but I can do without the incense and candles - just gimme my herbs for my yaw feen plaster!)

herb ox

cha kuen
04-18-2003, 02:11 AM

No it's not like that. The hong kong doctor brings relief to these patients. First he would check their pulse, look at their tongue, work on the soft tissue, little bit of accupressure, energy thing, tuina and some herbal tea. He usually finishes a patient in like 3 mintutes, but is very very effective which is why he gets so many patients.

His policy is that he doesnt see patients that just come to him, he only sees them by recommendation. AND he still gets at least 65 a day. He's just that good.

herb ox
04-20-2003, 01:15 AM
truly amazing... the 3 minute treatment - you know your stuff pretty well at that point! Actually, on second thought, his method seems like something very marketable in the states as well... fits right into our over stuffed schedules:p

cha kuen
04-20-2003, 10:01 AM
Yeah he's pretty amazing. For someone that only sees patients on referral and still can see 65 a day and sometimes 100 a day- truly incredible.