If necessity, as is said, is the mother of all invention; then, financial necessity is the mother of all advertising. I do not like it when it applies to healing and medicine. Applied to iPhones versus Samsung Galaxies, I am okay with that. A Mustang versus a Cougar — I mean the car not the animals — I am okay with that. In fact, for most material goods that are advertising ad nauseum all over the place, I understand. It is not a little bit of a nuisance, advertising here, advertising there, advertising everywhere. Okay, it is a bit much and over the top and in general I am truly, as I am quite sure everyone is, damn sick of it. Still, I understand. And I would not interfere with anyone’s right to turn their economic necessity into good profit by convincing you that you need the next electronic gizmo or slice of pizza.
Still, when it comes to medicine, my annoyance and toleration, pulls up short. And as I am a kind of medical practitioner, an acupuncturist and herbalist, a medicine man and an astrologer, I have some issues. I am a completely reluctant advertising; although advertise I have — much to my dismay. Yet, financial necessity being the mother of advertising and not wanting to go stark raving broke sitting at my office waiting for someone who need healing with needles, herbs or spiritual presence, I have by necessity and I assure you by necessity alone to promote my business. I do not even like the idea that what I do is “a business.” Is it? Should it be?
Nice if I could just put the shingle out and everything would be hunky-dory. If you are an alternative practitioner good luck with that. You, of necessity, had better get out their and hustle up some business or “go get a real job, buddy.”
Money and advertising have created a distorted medicine in general. And, I am sorry to say, I have participated in what I consider less than a morally defensible action pattern.
So then what is my problem with advertising? What is the distortion?
Medicine is difficult. Lots of education and as any practitioner, even the best of the best knows, with all that training and education, medicine of whatever kind and stripe, is horribly difficult. There are most of the time as you treat one person or another just too many factors to take into account. We all do the best we can. We do help many people. We do lessen suffering. But if any of us thinks we have it all figured out and that is that, I wish them luck with their delusion. I do not care whether you are an orthopedic surgeon, a midwife, a Reiki master or like me, an acupuncturist, MODESTY should be a requirement for a license.
Not so. Promotion is the societal order of the day. You must advertise how good your medicine is. Make claims.
I have always believed that doctors get sued at such a great rate because we expect, given how modern medicine has been promoted and advertised, that if something bad happens, it must be negligent incompetence on the part of the individual doctor. I am almost certain that if in general claims were far more modest and treatment understood as contingent on too many variables and advertising and promotion of pharmaceuticals stopped and billboards touting your local chiropractor or hospital eliminated, I believe that maybe then, with that general understanding, we all, the general public, might be more realistic about medicine and healing and what a practitioner can and cannot do.
Everytime a client asks whether I can help with one problem or another, I give them my most honest assessment based on what I understand to be similar cases like theirs’ in the past. But I always add the caveat that everyone is different and just because I helped or did not help one person with a similar complaint, means something but certainly not everything. There is certainly no guarantee one way or another.