I have been practicing acupuncture for 20 years and have loved every minute of it. I consider myself blessed to have found a livelihood that I am truly passionate about. Recently, I read a book called The Practitioner’s Journey that has led me to take an introspective look at the way I would like to spend the rest of my career in the health field. Success for me has never been about financial gain, but about living my passion and personal fulfillment. I have learned that career success is not just about how many patients I can see in a day, but about spending the time that I have wisely and on what matters most to me. Time truly is the most precious commodity in life.
I have worked at Kaiser Permanente’s chronic pain clinic for 15 years because it was a great opportunity to hone my craft, and treat a variety of pain related conditions. During this time I have been able to experiment with different treatment styles and develop new techniques of my own that I found to be more effective than the traditional methods taught in acupuncture school. The ancient Jing Luo Meridian style of acupuncture is inadequate for treating the myriad of musculo-skeletal issues prevalent in the modern world. A new model of acupuncture that addressed people that move differently, exercise differently, and work differently than people centuries ago when the Masters and Academicians first developed this medical science, has become necessary. The style of acupuncture that I now use, and that is widely regarded as an evolutionary advancement in acupuncture techniques is known as Orthopedic acupuncture. I have taken 18 orthopedic seminars with Whitfield Reaves, who is the main force behind the development of this revolutionary style of acupuncture therapy.
Some of you know I have been writing a book on pain and sports medicine that I hope to complete in the next six months. It is a technique book for acupuncturists in the use of Orthopedic acupuncture coupled with the application of electro-stimulation (electro-acupuncture) for treating painful conditions. I call it Anatomical Electro-acupuncture. I have scaled back my hours in private practice so that I can concentrate on its completion. My long range plan is to do training seminars for acupuncturists in the U.S. and in Europe on this “Next Generation” style of acupuncture. I think it will be my legacy, if you will, and a symbol of my appreciation for a modality that saved my life when I couldn’t even tie my shoes because of the back pain I was suffering with.
So this brings me back to The Practitioner’s Journey, or rather, this practitioner’s journey. How do I align my clinical practice with my passion for treating pain? The answer is obvious. I make my practice a specialty clinic for pain and sports medicine. As much as I have enjoyed seeing and treating a variety of health issues the past 20 years, helping people in pain has remained my greatest joy and source of fulfillment. It’s what I know the best, it’s what I do the best, and it’s what I can teach the best, which is where my future lies. Therefore, I will be transitioning my practice to an Orthopedic Pain & Sports Medicine clinic. This simply means I will be only seeing conditions related to orthopedics. If a patient has a concomitant issue I will certainly address that as well, or if a past patient has a non pain-related condition, I will make exceptions. But I will only be accepting new patients who suffer with pain- related conditions in the future.
The Center has two other acupuncturists to address other health issues. Alison Hunter specializes in infertility, and is essentially all she treats. Joey Sarti also has an expertise in sports medicine but is adept at internal medicine as well. We also have two massage therapists and a cranio-sacral therapist on staff. Please feel free to call the Center for whatever health needs you have. We are honored and privileged to be of service, and excited for what the future holds.
Yours in health,
Rick J Bernard, L.Ac.
Photo By: Daniel Zedda, used under the Creative Commons 2.0 License