mlm and acupuncture

by Anonymous

Promoting MLM products to your acupuncture clients is a blatant act of taking advantage of them and the therapeutic relationship. It is what is considered a dual relationship which in most cases creates more problems than it helps.


Because of the nature of the relationship that occurs the minute someone finds your website or makes the call for the appointment - your clients are seeking your help. Seeking help conjures up many old behaviors rooted in childhood that cause the patient to project (transfer) feelings and needs that were never met onto you. In other words they think you are their parent or significant caretaker. They want you to take care of them so they don't have to take responsibility for themselves. They will most likely do anything you tell them to do when they are in such a state of transference. It is your obligation as a health care practitioner to protect their best interests and health. Anytime you get a client involved in a downline situation, you set yourself up mixing business (being friends) and being a health care provider.

It is unethical to use the client-practitioner relationship to profit financially beyond your fee for your service charge.

It isn't about whether it is a good product or not, it iw whether you are unfairly using the power of the therapeutic relationship. Would they become a branch of the downline just to please you? What happens when the client doesn't make any money from the product and feels screwed by you? What happens when the client wants to get out of the mlm business and can't unless they stop seeing you as a patient?

There are many more questions...Please be careful with your clients who put their trust in you.

Comments for mlm and acupuncture

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Dec 23, 2007
Good Points
by: Lisa Hanfileti, LAc

"Anonymous" makes some good points, particularly about the sanctity of the therapeutic relationship. Trust is absolutely at the heart of that relationship.

As I stated, using and promoting MLM products is a controversial topic. I am not telling acupuncturists they should or should not use MLM products in their practices. What I am saying is, if you choose to use them, do it in such a way that honors your integrity and the trust your patients have in you. (Which is also why I am very clear and say NOT to present or sell the "Business Opportunity" to patients.)

Up until now MLM has gotten a bad name for very good reasons. (See Ann Sieg's, "The 7 Great Lies Of Network Marketing".) If Acupuncturists or any health care professionals do however decide to use MLM products, I hope they will disregard the techniques that most MLM companies teach and learn how to put their patients, clients, and customers first. Otherwise, Anonymous is right and MLM has no place in your practice.

The statement by Anonymous, "It is unethical to use the client-practitioner relationship to profit financially beyond your fee for your service charge", is an interesting stance given that most acupuncturists sell herbs (patents, granules, or in bulk) and other products at retail prices for profit. I do not regard this as "unethical".

Buying products at wholesale and selling them at retail is the lifeblood of any business and one part of a healthy service-based business that can generate needed income.

I assume that acupuncturists are not selling these products just to make a profit. They are careful and recommend what they believe the patient needs. If a good product is available through an MLM company, should we provide it ethically and responsibly, or reject it all together?

To me, this is a discussion about business models and implementation.

Every acupuncturist gets to decide where they stand. I appreciate that "Anonymous" has made his/her stand.

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