In For your practice

“I’m not like Jeff,” said a natural medicine practitioner to me the other day. Which is true. These are two very different practitioners. She is a massage therapist and meditation teacher. Jeff is a Chinese Medicine Practitioner (and the other half of Ethical Practice). But she wasn’t talking about differences in modality. “I’m not that interested in fixing particular body problems,”  she added. “I’m interested in the whole body and mind”. This woman had made a big assumption about Jeff and how he works.


Her very natural assumption was borne from what she saw on Jeff’s website, Evolve Natural Medicine.  The home page has a list some conditions treated, which feeds to a whole page dedicated to an extensive list of health issues.


I thought about this for a moment. A holistic approach, embracing mind-body integration, is not unusual amongst natural health practitioners. Usually because it’s the foundation of their modality. And Jeff is no exception. Traditional Chinese Medicine is not symptom-driven. It is whole body/mind focused. “Yes, I can see that you and Jeff are different in some ways,” I said, “but Jeff is also holistic and enjoys introducing holistic approaches to his clients.” The problem is that prospective clients usually book to solve a specific problem.  The challenge for holistic practitioners is to meet the client where they are and transition perceptions from a specific condition to a holistic mindset.


“One client,” I continued, “was a very blokey bloke who booked with Jeff to have a musculoskeleatal problem treated. The man wanted the pain gone – that was his focus. Jeff expanded the acupuncture treatment to discussing the client’s diet. This relates to inflammation, which relates to the pain. Before too long, eight cups of coffee a day was reduced to zero. The client was not just pleased with less pain, but also his healthier approach to life. Within a month, Jeff had the guy listening to classical music in his car to help with stress levels. His wife couldn’t believe it. Classical music! But because of the music, the client was even happier. In the sessions, while his client lay on the table, Jeff introduced meditation techniques. But never used the word ‘meditation’. He didn’t need to. The client started using these nameless exercises at home and work. The pain had left long ago. This was just about happier living.”


“Jeff introduces meditation to his clients all the time – and other holistic approaches,” I said. “But the reality is: most people book to have a specific problem fixed. That is why the conditions are on the website. It’s meeting the prospective client where they are. Once they are in the treatment room, you can then introduce the client to a more holistic mindset.” I could see my massage therapist friend’s eyes light up. The ‘transition’ penny had dropped.


Having specific conditions listed on your website also helps with its SEO (Google ranking). Why? Because prospective clients often type in conditions (as well as modality and geographic area) in the Google search field. They are searching for practitioners who are familiar with what they are suffering. I explained to my massage therapist friend, “When I was at the dark end of CFS. I felt better about booking with a therapist when I saw ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ on their website. I felt I’d be more understood and in better hands.”


Empathy is the key to successful marketing. So allow the content of your website to meet prospective clients where they are. By all means introduce the benefit of holistic approaches you can assist with. But keep in mind that, chances are, the prospective client will be booking to have a specific problem solved. Listing specific health problems (which can be physical and/or mental) on your website can help (a) find you online; and (b) put their minds at ease.


It’s the treatment room where the benefits of holistic approaches can be truly expanded on and worked through – and in a way that suits each particular client. Everyone is different. What words and approaches each client responds to will be different. What’s manageable to incorporate into their lives will be different. In the end, it is the client’s choice if they wish to take up certain holistic approaches. And if they don’t, don’t despair. Just, crunch into an organic apple, go for a walk and listen to that meditation on letting go.

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