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  • Writer's pictureRichard Lai

#70: Real Talk with Clara Cohen

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**🩺 New Podcast Episode Alert: TCM Acupuncturist Clara Cohen Interview 🎧**

I'm thrilled to announce our latest episode of "Study Acupuncture with Me," featuring a captivating and insightful interview with **Dr. Clara Cohen**—a true expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.

In this episode, Dr. Cohen shares her journey from initial struggles to becoming a renowned practitioner, complete with practical advice and personal anecdotes. Whether you're an aspiring acupuncturist or an established professional, her story is bound to inspire and inform.

**🎙️ Episode Highlights:**

- **Journey to Building a Practice:** Dr. Cohen opens up about the early challenges of attracting patients and the valuable business skills she gained through free classes at the local Chamber of Commerce.

- **Value of Giving First:** She emphasizes the significance of providing value before expecting anything in return, a principle that bolstered her patient numbers through thoughtful relationship-building with other health practitioners.

- **Tips for Preventing Burnout:** Dr. Cohen shares her strategies for maintaining balance and wellness, including prioritizing sleep, hydration, and regular exercise, along with the use of acupuncture and diet for hormonal balance.

**🔑 Key Takeaways:**

- **Building Relationships for Success:** Give before you ask—developing trust and offering value to others can lead to lasting professional connections and patient referrals.

- **Preventing Burnout:** Follow the cyclical flow of qi, prioritize sleep and self-care through mindful practices like hydrating well, exercising, and savoring meals without distractions.

- **Specialization and Focus:** Don't fear pigeonholing yourself; specializing in an area of acupuncture can make you a stronger and more effective practitioner.

Tune in to hear more about Dr. Clara Cohen's inspiring journey and actionable advice for acupuncturists and healthcare professionals.

📲 **Listen Now:**

📝 *Resources Mentioned:*

- Metricool: Manage your Social Media:

- Descript:

- Free Weekly Study Planner: [Download Now](

🔄 *Share this video:* Help fellow acupuncturists by sharing this episode on your social media or directly with friends. Knowledge shared is confidence gained!

*Connect with Richard:*

*Connect with Clara:*

Transcript of Episode

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:00:00]:

When people look like they got it all together, they don't. They're as scared as everybody else, but they're not afraid to just jump in and see what happens. They just have a parachute. It's okay to jump in, right? You have your parachute, and you'll land. You might do it again or you might go, you know what? Once was enough. I'm not doing that again. You know, but that's the thing. Everybody is afraid.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:00:19]:

But if you take the step, it makes such a huge difference and it helps you grow.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:00:23]:

If you are on social media and you're interested in TCM, then you've definitely heard about my guest today. Her name is Clara Cohet. If you aren't following her, go follow her right now. You will not regret it. I got the chance to sit with her, and I asked her a lot of questions that I felt would benefit acupuncturists and acupuncture students, and she just answered in the most genuine of ways. She really is an amazing person. She's a kindhearted person, and you can really see it in this interview. So in this interview, we talked about the systems that she has in place as an acupuncturist, and also how she's able to be so dominant in social media.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:00:57]:

We also talked about the intention that she goes about her every day, how she eats with intention, sleeps with intention, and exercises with intention. We also talked about some personal things. She shared about how she's born prematurely and how that's affected her even to this day. And we also talked about burnout, and how there's a lot of actionable items that she actually recommends to help combat burnout and bring us back into harmony. So without further ado, I really hope you enjoy this.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:01:24]:

And if

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:01:24]:

you like this style of interview podcast, comment below that you liked it, and I'll think about doing more. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy. Alright, everyone. Welcome to study acupuncture with me. And today, we have such an amazing I it the word is heavy. Amazing, wonderful guest today. Very special person in the world of acupuncture. Today, we have Clara Cohen on the show today.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:01:50]:

So please welcome with me Clara Cohen. Hey, so sweet. I'll I'll share a brief intro about Clara Cohen for those of you who don't know her, but I'm sure you do. She has completed a 5 year program at the doctor of traditional Chinese medicine level and has been practicing since 2003 in Vancouver, Canada. And based on a passion for teaching, she founded and became the sole creator of all content on her online platform, which is AccuPro Academy. Her goal there is to make TCM easy to grasp and fun to learn for all acupuncture students and practitioners. She's also the author of 3 illustrated books on Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and she offers in person and on demand continuing education online courses. She can actually be found daily on all social media at AccuProAcademy, and students can use her TCM resource page to support their studies at www.accuproacademy dotcom.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:02:47]:

So Clara, welcome to the show.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:02:49]:

Thank you so much. That was a cute and sweet introduction, and I'm really happy we connected. You came on my podcast, the Accupro Show, and we decided, well, you know, I wanna reciprocate and come to your podcast. And for your audience, if there's anything I can bring to your audience, I'd be happy to because I absolutely love what you're doing. So and you know that. I've told you that many times, but I love what you're doing. So I'm happy to be here.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:03:14]:

Thank you. I appreciate that. And and even, you know, a long time ago, we we were direct messaging, and and I asked you, you know, I was bold in that in that one second. I said, Oh, will you be a guest on my podcast? And you said, Anything to help out students. And then me, I dropped the ball because then that was I was scared. I was like, Okay. All my boldness went to asking you. And then I was like, Okay.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:03:36]:

Now I have to do I have to interview her. But I was scared to interview you because I just had, you know, the imposter syndrome of all that stuff. But, you know, long overdue, it's truly an honor for you to be here. I feel like I should be standing to welcome you to the show, but I I'll ask you my first question, which it gives the opportunity for the audience to get to know a little bit more about you. So can you share with us something interesting about yourself that no one really knows?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:04:04]:

Well, there's a lot. I could go in millions direction. I'll give you a short one. One of the thing that, you know, when people know that I do acupuncture and and I teach and all all this, Before that, I had another life. And I was in the fitness industry, and I was personal training, and I was teaching aerobics. And I taught hip hop for 15 years. So I can't sing for the life of me, but I sure can dance, and hip hop was my passion. So that's what I did.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:04:34]:

What? That's crazy.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:04:37]:

In oh, wow. That that's amazing. In my research of you, I saw, like, how much you did just even before acupuncture, and, like, I mean, I you've done a lot. Like, I know I know you have this background in fitness, nutrition. Your family has deep roots in healing arts. Right? Like, with chiropractic, physiotherapy, as I think you guys call it in in, I guess, France, the Alps, right, physical therapy in the States. But a follow-up question to my first question actually is because you're literally amazing in I follow you everywhere. Okay? LinkedIn, you're every you're literally everywhere.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:05:12]:

Pinterest, I don't know how you can put out so much valuable content on social media on so many different platforms. So my question to you, have you discovered some way to add more time to the day? Because I I mean, like, what's the secret? Like, how do you find time to do everything that you do?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:05:35]:

I manage my time quite quite well. Not always the time where I don't because if I'm a lot of stress or event occur or if I go on holiday. But I always like to be prepared. That I always wanted to be prepared. Even with patients, I don't wanna be 5 minutes late. I I don't wanna be 2 minutes late. And if I am, I will apologize because, you know, a patient previously was, you know, needing a bit more attention. And I'm a bit late with 2 minutes, and I don't like that.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:06:02]:

So my mom taught me that being on time is very respectful. So that's really important to me, but I also use that for me. And so first of all, I don't have children like you do, so it's easier to have more time when you are not a parent. I I'm aware of that. The second thing is I really try to have system in places. So for example, like you said, I'm everywhere. Well, I use system like Metricool. It's this app where you can literally put your piece of content, and it will publish it to 7 different platforms.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:06:35]:

So I don't have to go manually go to Pinterest and go to Instagram and go to Facebook and do it. It literally will do it for me. So I love I know everybody's aware and afraid of AI, but I think AI can enhance the way we are in the world in a better way. So there is a lot to do, and I do put a lot of time into everything I do. But at the same time, there are a lot of apps that can help me. For example, for my podcast, I took this app called Descript. And when I record the podcast with a guest or by myself, I will say a lot of oh, I will say something and then repeat it. Oh, I'll say, that's really annoying.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:07:15]:

So I put the podcast into that app, and it takes all the like, all the you know, you know, you know in one second instead of me taking 3 hours to do it by hand. So those little system and apps really help me in the ability to provide content without burning out. And then, like I said, I really have system of when I'm treating patients, when I'm teaching, when I'm creating content, and specifically when I'm with family and my husband, my dogs, my friends, and what I do. And there are time where I burn out, and I've done it a few times, and you think I would learn the lesson. But it's happened a few times, and every time I'm like, okay. I'm not not gonna do that again. And, of course, you know, 2 or 3 years later, I will it will happen. So I definitely am not, you know, without fault when it comes to pushing hard, but I always over push myself, kind of.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:08:10]:

That's who I am. So I have to learn to step back sometimes, and that takes a lot out of me to think, oh, I can step back. Yes, I can. But I don't want to because I want to provide support. So it's it's that balance that I have a hard time.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:08:23]:

Oh, yeah. 100%. Like, I totally feel exactly how you feel about that one. Just wanting to do as much as possible. Right? But, I mean, you're human, you know. You said you don't have kids, but that's that that that doesn't matter. You're still a human being, you know. You put on your pants one leg at a time also.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:08:38]:

You're you have your commitments and your energy constraints and your time constraints and your responsibilities of this and that. You know? So I I mean, I I appreciate you for that, you know, and your honesty with that. Actually, on that, I think that it would really be helpful for the acupuncture students and acupuncture is listening because, I mean, you're you're gonna share so many gems and so many nuggets in this episode. But I will share some of those links to what you had said before, like the Metricool, the Descript app. I'll share it in the description as well. I think it'll help acupuncturists who are trying to build their own business. You know, maybe they're trying to put out social media as well. But in terms of burnout, okay, can you tell us like, the acupuncture students out there, the acupuncturists out there, can you tell us some of the things that you do maybe during the day or during the week that sort of keeps you you.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:09:33]:

Because, I mean, when I watch you on YouTube, when I listen to you on your podcast, it's like you're present. You're fully present. You're ready. You you seem like you seem well rested. You seem calm. You know exactly what you're talking about. You know what you're gonna say next. And sometimes I feel like I'm like a zombie, and I don't know what keeps you you because you're literally doing so much.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:09:54]:

So if these acupuncture students and acupuncturists can hear some actionable advice from you, someone who just does literally so much, I think that can be really helpful. So, like, do you do specific things for your mental health, for your physical health? Do you make sure you, you know, have certain things in your diet? Like, what do you do? What's the secret?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:10:15]:

I follow the cyclical flow of qi. Like, literally, my husband has a hard time with that sometimes because, for example, in winter, I'm in bed by 9, and I'm sleeping by 9:15. Like, that's it. I'm done. I'm not going to 10 or 11 or whatnot, but I'll be up at about 6:30, 7. So it's a long night, right? In summer, I'll probably be in bed by 10, 10:30 because it's longer days where we are in North America. And then I'll wake up probably around 5, 5:30 because it's sunrise. So I really my body loves to go with nature.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:10:50]:

So with the season, with nature, I always follow that rhythm, and I will not be that person that goes to bed at 1 o'clock in the morning because I can't. I don't have children that wake me up during the night, which helps a lot, but I I need my sleep. That literally will dictate my day. So So that's the first thing. The second thing is I will not have device right before I go to bed and right when I wake up. My husband knows even the lights. You know, if he wakes up before, me to go to work and he has to wake up and it's still dark outside, he knows to get out of the bedroom, go to the bathroom, close the door, and then you could put the lights. I do not want the lights on my face.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:11:27]:

It literally ruins my day. That's how sensitive I am. So I like my eyes to slowly adjust. I open my eyes, you adjust to the room that's in the darkness. You open the curtains, there's a bit more light that comes in. It takes me 10 to 15 minutes. I can't just have a flip light in my face. So all those things, my poor husband, really helped me in being more with the environment.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:11:49]:

So that's the first thing. The second thing is I'm French. So when we eat, we sit down. We chew our food. I don't watch TV. I don't not on my phone. I'm not doing something else. I'm really sitting down.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:12:00]:

I can't walk and eat. That just, you know, I didn't grow up with that. So I take the time to really enjoy my food, savor my food. That's something that I've always done, but I was raised that way and I love really good food. Not always good for me, like cheese, but, you know, in the downstairs. But in general, I love real food. I don't like junk food. I've never been raised with that.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:12:20]:

I like really good food, and I like a glass of wine because, again, I'm from France originally. So those are the things that I do. I make sure I hydrate all the time. I don't wanna have that dehydration, so I usually have my bottle of water with fulvic and turmeric acid on it and I sip and I drink to make sure I'm hydrated and I don't forget. So those are the things that I do to stay. I exercise. That is I was in the fitness industry, like I said before. So to me, if I don't exercise physically, then I don't sleep as well, and my mind doesn't feel calm and focused.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:12:52]:

So I know that if I don't exercise for 2 or 3 days or something happened, I'm like, I need it's like I crave the, you know, movement so I can just feel relaxed after because I feel much more relaxed. Another thing that I wanted to share is, you know, as female, we have hormonal shifts and cycles and phases, and that is something that acupuncture has really helped me with. So having acupuncture regularly kept my hormonal levels really good. And because I'm in my late fifties, I went through menopause like nothing. Like, it was nothing. I didn't have hot flashes, no insomnia, no anxiety, no night sweat. Like clearly my period stopped and it was over. So and I contribute and attribute this to acupuncture, to being able to be less stressed with the acupuncture, but also the diet.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:13:43]:

And I try to really eat again with the season, chew my food, and eat food that feels right. And I know sometimes when I eat something that doesn't feel right because it doesn't feel right in my stomach, and I know it. So, obviously, 80% of the time I eat well. 20%, I probably don't. I'm not, you know, perfect in any mean at all. But I was born 10 weeks premature. And I'm sharing this because the essence part and, you know, kidney essence and whatnot. My mom smoked 2 packs a day, the whole pregnancy because that's what they did in the sixties.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:14:14]:

And I came out 10 weeks early. And I used to joke when I was younger, and I said, oh, I came out early because I needed to breathe fresh air because I was probably, you know, in the smoke in there. So she's like, no, no, no. It's just it happens. But I always think in the TCM perspective that I wasn't finished. I didn't have enough Essence. I was missing 10 weeks of Essence. My lungs were not strong enough.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:14:32]:

I had to be in an incubator. I had asthma as a kid. I had scoliosis. Like, I had all this stuff. My spine wasn't straight, which is, again, an essence or a kidney issue. I didn't have straight teeth growing up. You know, all this stuff gave me, in my mind, less than someone that had straight spine, straight teeth, and was born at 40 weeks of the pregnancy. So my goal in life is to do postnatal chi with whatever I can control, which is diet, sleep, stress, exercise.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:15:03]:

I don't do drugs. I don't smoke. It's not my thing. I never have. And then I make sure that I have really good love and support. Having hugs every day, my dog, my husband, my friends, that keeps me happy. And in order to be healthy and feel full of energy, I need to have a good surroundings. So I really have to say thank you to them, and I'm grateful for them as well.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:15:25]:

So that's that.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:15:26]:

That's amazing. I I see that, and I can see that's how you can show up so well. Because you're just so intentional. And, like, for me, I'm listening. I'm like, okay. I need to be more intentional with the things that I do. Right? I think that's a lesson that we can all take from that. Being intentional, literally.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:15:42]:

Even just you eating, you're intentional with the way you eat. Sleep, sleep hygiene. You know, I talked to some of my patients about sleep hygiene, not using the phone. I use the phone myself. I mean, honestly, I do. Right? But it's, like, you know, being intentional with, I want to sleep well, so let me darken the room. I'm I'm sure you probably keep the temperature, you know, to a to or 68 to 72, something like that. Dark, heavy blanket.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:16:06]:

Right? These are all things that are intentional to make sure that you're optimal in in in your sleep, your hydration. What did you say always put in your water?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:16:14]:

Oh, fulvic and shumic acid. It's fulvic and shumic acid. It comes it's a mineral that comes from the lava volcanic rocks. And it's really good to clean your intestine, keep them really happy, and it's good for the immune system as well. So, I like to have it. It doesn't taste like anything. It looks funny because it's brown in the water, but doesn't taste like anything. And it's really, it feels like it's a shower for my intestine.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:16:43]:

So it feels really clean. So I love that.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:16:45]:

Yeah. Yeah. You're literally very intentional with just how you drink, you exercise. You control your controllables. That's the biggest thing. And you you put in systems in place for for everything. Even your emotions. I mean, that's right? You make the time to have positive and happy emotions, which I mean as an acupuncture student or as, like, an acupuncturist who's maybe just starting to build their practice, or they're starting to get too many patients, and, oh, do I need to get another acupuncturist with me or whatever? They may start to lose, you know, sight of all the intentional ways that they need to, like, replenish themselves.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:17:16]:

Right? And I like that you shared about, I guess, you're uncontrollable of your constitution, but you're controllable of your postnatal essence, which is everything that you literally just did. That is amazing. Now another question just about the burnout aspect too, just to even drill even deeper, because I know you teach. Right? Students, they get burnt out. Right? Because they're just trying to operate on all cylinders. They're trying to learn and understand the material as much as possible, but while also trying to do work and do all these different things. What do you do though? What what happens? How do you help yourself out of that burnout? How do you What do you do though? What what happens? How do you help yourself out of that burnout? How do you help yourself out of that exhaustion?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:17:57]:

So when I was a student in TCM College, the 3rd year, I remember vividly, I was in bed in the morning, and I thought, I can't get up. I can't I can't go to school. I had to be at school at 8:30. I just physically can't, and I love school. I love to learn TCM. Even though it was hard and it was complicated and it was difficult, I love learning. I've always loved learning, so I I love school. Growing up, I love school, so I was really happy, but I just couldn't physically get up and go.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:18:27]:

And I'm like, I just can't. I need a break. I just can't. I had been in school 3 years full time, and I was working on top of that 26 hours a week in the fitness industry to support myself, to pay my rent, to pay all my bills. So 26 hours plus your regular 30 hours a week, plus studying, as you know, exam and all this. And so I was really tired. I was burned out for sure. And then I thought, I just can't.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:18:55]:

So I lay there and then you look at the clock, and suddenly it's 9 AM. You're like, well, class has started half an hour ago, and I'm not there. And I feel really guilty and bad that I didn't show up, But then I was like, you know what? Listen to your body. I got up. I took a shower, and I went for a walk. I picked up a tea at the the coffee shop, and I at the time, I lived by the beach in Vancouver, and so I took my tea and it was, you know, like the fall, so it was quite cool. And I walked along the beach with my tea, and I felt so good, like, I needed this. And I'm so glad I listened to my gut.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:19:30]:

And the guilt went away for me feeling guilty because I didn't go to school. And I sat on the bench, and I look at the ocean, and the waves were coming in out, and I was drinking my tea, and I was like, it's been so long since I felt like the weight on my shoulder was finally relaxed instead of my shoulder being up to my ears. And I did this for about an hour, an hour and a half, then I went back home, prepared my day, and then went to school for the afternoon class. And when I went to school, I studied with a bunch of people that, you know, you get close to, and we're a group of 4. And then I come and sit down next to one of the girls that became my friend. And I said, okay. So you have the notes for this morning. Like, I just couldn't come here, but I'm glad I didn't.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:20:09]:

I needed a break. And she's like, we barely learned anything. It was super easy. There was nothing. Like, you can have my note, but you didn't miss much. And I was like, this is the universe telling me that this was needed. I didn't miss much. It wasn't super important, and I did what my heart told me to do.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:20:26]:

The problem with me, and I know that of myself, is that I love to listen to my gut. I always listen to my gut, but I will push through and say, shh, don't talk to me. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this until literally my gut will say, no. You need to stop. And when I do, I realize, oh, yeah. That's right.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:20:47]:

I should have listened earlier, but I didn't. This is why you burn out. Right? So I always say make sure to listen and step back. It might take a while. It might take you further until you suffer. Like, you're not gonna learn until you're in in pain. And once you're in pain, like when I was in bed going, I can't physically get up and go. I just can't.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:21:07]:

And that's your body. You're like, okay. I gotta stop. Right? And in life, it's happened a few times where, you know, I I was teaching at 2 different colleges, owning a wellness center, practicing full time in my practice 4 days a week, and having the AcuPro Academy. And, literally, one day, I was just like, I can't do this anymore. And my husband's like, you think? Because, you know, you can't stop me. I'm like, I'm okay now when I go. And so I had to make, you know, a change.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:21:37]:

And once I did and took the decision, at first, you feel bad. You're like, oh, I'm dropping a college. Like, I had to say to one of the college, I can't teach there anymore. Like, I have to let you go. And it was hard. And then I went from, you know, practicing 4 days a week to 3 days a week. Oh my god. I'm dropping patients.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:21:52]:

This is horrible. What am I doing? I feel like I'm abandoning those those patients. Right? But once you feel better and you you get stronger again and you heal and your strength is back, then you are actually giving much more of yourself in a better way to your patients, your students, to everyone, right, around you. So it takes me a while to figure it out. But once I do, then I make the decision. So it's not that easy.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:22:15]:

Yeah. It's not. But it's that listening to your body, stepping back, and just, like, actually hearing. You know? What what do you need? You know? Yeah. Listening to your body. I think that that's the biggest lesson I got from that. Wow. Okay.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:22:26]:

I mean, so I think also I'll you know, you mentioned you had the fitness clubs. Right? You had your own practice. Maybe we can switch gears actually even into that. Is it okay if I ask you some business related questions? Because I Of course. I think, you know, with your background personal training, I think with your background in managing not 1, but 2 fitness clubs in Vancouver, I read somewhere also like, one in Vancouver, one in West Vancouver. You had your own acupuncture practice as well. Right. So for acupuncturists out there, you're an excellent resource for anybody who wants to start their own practice or just start their own business or even start their own online presence.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:23:03]:

You've done all of it. So first, I guess we just start with first step. So I imagine for your acupuncture practice, you had to choose good locations for that. How did you come about choosing locations? Did you look for specific things, choosing

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:23:24]:

practice by itself in a house with a bunch of other people. And I'm saying a house because it was an old heritage homes. And then I opened and built my own wellness center, which had naturopathic, doctors and massage therapists, etcetera, etcetera. But what's interesting for the location, you're gonna enjoy this one. For me, it was to have to be close to home. I don't wanna spend 45 minutes each way commuting because I wanna give the most to my patients, but I also wanna spend time, a yin and yang balance, with my family at home. So I don't wanna spend 2 hours a day or an hour and a half a day or whatever it is to get somewhere. So my practice was literally at first 10 minutes drive, and then eventually I walked 10 minutes to work for 10 years.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:24:14]:

So that to me, at the end of the day, you just come out, you have fresh air, you walk 10 minutes, you get home, and you all relax, and it's perfect. So for me, the location was that. The second part, for patience purpose, I wanted to make sure that it was in a place where people could park. If there's no parking, that's not gonna work. The second thing is I didn't want to be upstairs or for people to have to go up or downstairs because as you know, people sometimes that's difficult. I've had lots of, you know, MS patients that are in wheelchairs or etcetera. So I wanted to be on the ground floor, and I wanted to make sure that they could park and also that it was on an area where people were commuting by, even though I wasn't commuting. So it would be in an area that was quite busy with commuters, so they could stop on their way home or on their way to work or whatnot.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:25:01]:

So those were my criteria that were really, really important. It didn't matter if there was other acupuncturist around or other clinic around. My block had 4 wellness center in the same block. That didn't deter me. That didn't bother me at all.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:25:17]:

Yeah. I I think we talked about that, you know, earlier. Right? Where, like, patients, they they may come because, oh, they see you here, etcetera, etcetera, but they stay because of you. And so it doesn't matter that there's another person right across the street or whatever, but they stay because of, you know, your connection with them, your personality. I think the close to home thing, yeah, that's that's actually very funny. There's I saw a study about that that, like, the proximity to your home, it's directly correlated with your own personal happiness, you know, in life too. So if you're commuting an hour, 45 minutes, whatever to work, you know, or you could be commuting 20 minutes, right, there's correlation between happiness and how close you are to work. Yeah.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:25:54]:

Okay. Great. Now at your acupuncture practice, so did you did you take insurance? I I don't know how it is actually in Vancouver. So were you a cash based practice, a hybrid of the 2 perhaps? I think some acupuncture students will probably be wondering about that, you know, when they start. Do they go in network? Do they stay out of network? Or do they just stay out of it altogether and just do cash?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:26:16]:

Yeah. Most in Canada, most 99%, I mean, it could be once in a while someone is employed, but all of us are self employed. Right? So we are licensed by the province, and then we are self employed. We have depending on the province, so in Vancouver, British Columbia, the province itself, a lot of people have extended health. And so extended health will cover, depending on your plan, maybe $300, $500, $1,000 a year. So once they finish that, then they have to pay out of pocket. Now the second thing is we have 1, only 1, I would say, auto or vehicle or car insurance. So we have one car insurance for the whole province.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:26:56]:

There's no competition. And that car insurance provides 12 session of acupuncture after a car accident to anybody that wants it. So that's paid for. The car insurance pays for a 12 session or 12 weekly session after your car accident. And then if the acupuncturist writes a report saying, you know, we need more than 12, they will pay and agree or not to provide 12 more. So that's paid as well. And then we have the the province itself that provides 10 acupuncture session a year for people that are on minimum wage, that are on premium insurance, which means obviously they don't make a lot of money. So they have the ability to come and get some acupuncture.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:27:37]:

They don't pay for the whole thing, but they pay for part of it. So it's kinda like the government will pay for part of your session for 10, 10 sessions a year. So my practice was a lot of mixture. People that had car accidents, what's paid for, people that had extended health and then people that pay out of pocket. So it was a lot of different things. So in the end, you are paid either by the patients or the insurance companies. And that's how it works. So it's half and half, I think.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:28:03]:

Got it. Okay. When you were practicing, where you were in there, right, practicing, and you were running the business side of things without yourself. Right? You were managing the books, you know, paying for, I guess, rent. Right? Paying for materials, paying for your equipment, things like that. How long did it take you to feel like you got the hang of things? Like, how long did it take you to feel successful? Like, alright. I got this.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:28:30]:

So when I first started after acupuncture school, I literally had the rose glasses on. I opened my practice, put my diplomas on the wall, all excited to help people, and nobody showed up.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:28:44]:

Yes. Yep. I feel

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:28:46]:

that. The 1st week, nobody showed up. The 2nd week, nobody showed up. The 3rd week, zero patients, people. And so the 4th week I had 3 patients booked, and they were all friends of ours, and they felt so bad for me that they actually booked to come and see me. So they were all friends, which is fine. So I didn't charge them a full amount. I charged them a little bit because I did you know, it was good practice to have people coming, do full consultation, do treatment.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:29:10]:

We did the whole thing, but they were friends and because they felt bad for me. So the 1st month, really, I did not have new patients because when I finished school, I had no idea about business self employed. I was managing fitness club. That, I knew what to do. I knew how, you know, people came to the fitness club, And I explained how exercise is such a good part that it's going to enhance your whole life and people signed up for a membership. It was easy because I I absolutely love it, but people came towards the club. So with this, it's like, well, nobody knew I was there. And why would they come and see me when, you know, there's other people around in the area that have been there way longer, and they would see them because they have a reputation.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:29:54]:

So nobody came. And I didn't know I needed to have a business hat because in TCM school, we didn't learn any business class. We had zero business class, so I had no idea. So the the 1st week of November, because I started in October, so the whole month of October, no new patients. I was paying rent, like you said, all those things. November, my phone ring, I pick it up, and this lady goes, I'd like to make an appointment. And I was so shocked that I said, Really? She's like, Yeah. And then I just, you know, I kind of went, Okay, well, what's your schedule like? And I'm like, Oh, great, you could come at 6 o'clock tomorrow, let's make it happen.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:30:33]:

You know? I'm like, I am all deep opening you want. So But I didn't say that. So it was really interesting because it made me realize, okay, well, this is not working. I I need to do something about this. Right? And so I went to the local chamber of commerce, and they were giving business classes for free. So I went and learned that and learned I didn't even know about how to file my taxes, all this thing. I was just like, what is this? How do I do this? How do I so they taught a lot, and it was all for free because they're helping small businesses, which I think is fantastic that those Chamber of Commerce or, you know, Ocuro have, in most communities or in most communities. So I did that.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:31:13]:

And then I was like, okay. What can I do? So I started. I made my first website, and this was in 2003, so there was not a lot of website out there. I didn't know how, but I went, and it was ridiculous. It was a big, huge, pink flower with my picture, and then it says, you know, acupuncture services. That's it because that's all I could do. It's very funny. It was my phone number, call to make an appointment kind of thing.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:31:34]:

So you can look them up because you can look old websites online, and it's very fun. So I did that, and then I put a sandwich board outside, you know, like, hey, acupuncture services. And then it didn't really help much. You know, I would see maybe 2 patients a week for the 1st November December. And then I thought, okay. I need to meet people. So I went and I talked to chiropractors, physiotherapist or physical therapist, massage therapist, yoga studio, fitness club. And I went and said, hey.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:32:06]:

You know, I do acupuncture. Here's my card. Blah blah. Didn't help. Some people were like, no. I don't like acupuncture. Yeah. Sure.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:32:12]:

Okay. Leave your card, but didn't help. And I was like, I understand why. It's because I'm coming in, and I'm telling them about me. But what am I giving them? Nothing. You can't go and ask something without giving in exchange. People are busy. They're like, yeah.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:32:26]:

I'll leave your card, whatever. So then I changed my tune, and I started going back and going to talk to people. And I said, I'm you, so I don't have, you know, patients I can refer to you. But once I get really busy, I will refer patients to you if you like what I do. What I'd like to do is give you a free treatment so you can see how I work. And if you enjoy the way I do things, then I would love for you to send your patients my way. I will treat them like the gold. Not only that, but every time you send someone to me, I will give you another free session of acupuncture.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:32:57]:

Oh, wow.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:32:58]:

And that changed everything because it's not easy to do. People are like, oh, my God. You just went and talked to people. I'm like, it wasn't easy because a lot of people said, no, not interested. No, no, no. And you felt like they're all rejecting me, but they're not rejecting me. They're just rejecting the idea of what I'm presenting. But one person's like, oh, my God.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:33:17]:

I love acupuncture. She was a massage therapist. And she's like, oh, yes, yes, I'll come and see you. She came. We did. And she's like, I love it. It's great. I love it for women's health.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:33:26]:

She loved the treatment, and then she started sending me patients. And I started October 1st. By March, which is my birthday, so by my birthday, I was seeing 40 patients a week. That's how it happened. It took 6 months. But she built my practice and I gave her so many free sessions. Literally for a year, she got free acupuncture. But she built my practice.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:33:48]:

Not only that, but after that, when I was super busy, we exchanged treatments. So I would do acupuncture. She would do massage on me and we would do that in order to continue because I was like, I don't know how. And she's like, no. We'll arrange now. But that's the thing. You gotta come with ideas, but you can't ask for things without giving first. It is not gonna work.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:34:07]:

Because if you want something, first give. Because, I get emails every day. People ask me for things. I'm like, if you come in with an email saying, 'Kaira, I love what you do online. Thank you so much. It's so helpful. Could you x y z? I have no problem because you were so sweet. You gave me a thank you.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:34:25]:

You gave me your support. I'm gonna help you.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:34:27]:

But if you come in and say, hey, can you give me this?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:34:30]:

Do I really wanna help you? You know, and it was the same thing. It's like, can you send patients my way? Who are you? Why am I gonna send you patients? I don't even know if you're good. Maybe you're gonna treat those patients badly. I don't know. So I had to do it this way. And when you do it this way

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:34:43]:


Dr. Clara Cohen [00:34:44]:

It works like a

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:34:45]:

That's amazing. Yeah. Because, like, if you want to if you wanna even, like, with CPR, if you wanna give a breath, you have to, right, take a breath. And so they needed to understand what you were able to give out. And so you gave them free acupuncture. They got an amazing service. Then you're telling everyone, hey. You gotta try this person.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:34:58]:

You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. And you're telling everyone, hey.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:35:02]:

You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. You gotta try this person. That's awesome. Now when I was researching you too, I noticed that you chose some specialties too. Right? So it looked like you were doing fertility treatments, mental health treatments. How did you come about choosing these 2 specialties in particular? Do you recommend acupuncture students to choose a specialty? You know, I've looked at so many different websites. Sometimes, you know, or even driving down the street, sometimes you see a clinic, and it'll just the whole entire all windows just have all the ailments that they treat, you know.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:35:34]:

And right? But, like, for you, you put out there fertility treatments, mental health. Can you talk about how you brought these 2 in particular?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:35:44]:

So you talked about intention earlier, so we're gonna talk about talk about intention again. But before we do so first, when I first got my period when I was 13, I had massive dysmenorrhea. I would be in bed the 1st 2 days crying with the hot water bottle. Like, I'm so pain. I can't go to school. My mom would say, just take an aspirin. I don't want to. I just want my pain to go away.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:36:06]:

And eventually, when I was about 15, my mom's friend said, why don't you bring Clara to the acupuncturist? He's super good. He's mine. Blah, blah. So she brought me to the acupuncturist. I, you know, I can't remember what he did, but, obviously, I had acupuncture session. I don't remember how many. But it went away, and I never had dysmenorrhea again. So that's my first introduction with women's health and acupuncture.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:36:28]:

The second one was when I was in school, my favorite teacher, Waijatan, doctor Waijatan, my favorite teacher was my gynecology teacher. Every time I was in clinic with her and she treated women's health, they magically got better. And I was like, she's magic. She's like, I mean, wow. Like, it's just how And so I wanted to learn everything from her, and I really followed her and and learned from her. And everything she said to me, I was absorbing. I was writing. She just really embodied who I wanted to be.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:37:02]:

And so naturally, when I got into my practice, I really wanted to help women because I just thought that this was so magical from her perspective. And, of course, she had been practicing for a long time. And so I kind of put the intention out there that I wanted to do woman's self a lot. And so that's how I started. And even my sandwich board outside my clinic would say fertility, you know, hormone balancing. It would have, you know, pregnancy acupuncture, all that kind of stuff. And I treated a lot of that to start with. But what happened is, because my intention was that, a lot of women came and I did a lot of women's health.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:37:40]:

And in that, I learned that a lot of the women's health problem that women came for were stemming from longstanding emotional trauma or emotional stress. And so I started going a little bit more into that direction. And so little by little, my practice became this mental health and women's health and then often both together at the same time. Now when you said, you know, students are a bit afraid, and I see that all the time of, well, I don't wanna pigeonhole myself into one thing because, you know, like, nobody's gonna see me. Well, I have to say that it didn't stop people with chronic back pain or, you know, I don't know, my migraine or something different to come and see me. Of course, people with back pain would come and people with, you know, high blood pressure have come, and that had nothing to do with women's health or mental health to start with, but the majority of people came for that. And I became, in my area, known for that. So people would recommend and reproductive endocrinologists would recommend people to come and see me.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:38:46]:

Gynecologists would recommend because patients start talking. Oh, she helped me with this. Oh, she helped me with that. So your intention, eventually people are gonna come that way. But you're still gonna have you still can treat all the stuff. However, when a person comes and sees me and they come in, they're like, I heard acupuncture can help. Look at my rosacea. It's so bad.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:39:07]:

I've had it for 10 years. I do not feel confident because I never did continuing education in dermatology or anything that has to do with skin. I did all my continuing education in women's health and mental health, so I feel really good about this, right, but not in skin. 1 of the person that graduated a year after me is, I call him the skin guru because he has done everything. He studied under, and he's just he's done everything to really know the dermatology and the skin and how TCM can be so good for it. So if someone comes from rosacea, I'm gonna say, you know what? I'm not the best person for you. Let's send you to my friend who is fantastic, Trevor rocks when it comes to dermatology. I'll send you that way.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:39:51]:

So for me, it's all about helping the patients to the best of our ability. And if I can't help you, I know someone else is focused on that area. That's why focus is so important because you can help each other. You can recommend each other within your community, and at the same time, it will not stop someone from back pain to see you even though you say I do women's health. I see a lot of guys with back pay back pain, obviously, but that's the intention. So don't be afraid because it'll make you such a stronger practitioner in one area, and we can't do it all. It's not possible. It's it's too hard anyway.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:40:25]:

So that's my advice.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:40:27]:

100%. Yeah. Networking and then making sure that you refer them to the right people, and they'll refer back to you as well. I mean, if you that's your specialty. Right? That that's awesome. For everyone that's listening, make sure you go to Clara's website, AccuPro Academy website. She has those courses when you're speaking about continuing education. On fertility treatments, you can get PDA points with them, pregnancy support, mental health, a ton more.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:40:50]:

She has it all on your, website. So I'll link her website in the description of this episode, and, of course, I'll link it also on my website as well. Now on also that note though, given all the knowledge that you have with, you know, specializations, opening up your own practice, now you're teaching the masses through your social media, You have amazing books on acupuncture as well. If you brought all this knowledge that you have on life and and and everything back to acupuncture student, Clara. What would you tell yourself back when you were in acupuncture school to help you get through everything that you had to do in acupuncture school?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:41:31]:

Yeah. First of all, if if you had told me when I finished acupuncture school that I would do what I do today, which is put my face and my body and my knowledge online, and go out there and and do this, I would have said, there's no way I would do that. That's too scary. I would not do that. And actually, when I first started, I remember how long it took me when I recorded my first video to actually schedule it and publish it. It sat there for a while before I could press that button because I was so scared. So I think, you know, one of the thing that we have to think is look like they got it all together. They don't.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:42:07]:

They're as scared as everybody else. But they're not afraid to just jump in and see what happens. They just have a parachute. It's okay to jump in. Right? You have your parachute, and you'll land. You might do it again or you might go, you know what? Once was enough. I'm not doing that again. You know? But that's the thing.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:42:22]:

Everybody is afraid. But if you take the step, it makes such a huge difference, and it helps you grow. So when you are in school and when you're a student, it feels like it's insurmountable. It feels like another thing that I thought, okay, here, you know, your parents are from Taiwan, so you have that background of Chinese medicine, you know, the the acupuncture comes from Asia. And I'm the white girl. And one of the things that I remember thinking when I finished school is, who's gonna come and see this French white girl that is not Asian? I would wanna see someone that's from Asia because that's where it comes from. Right? This is what I'm thinking in my brain. So I'm like, who's gonna come and see me? I'm not Asian.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:43:02]:

This is this what was I thinking going back to school even though I loved it? You have all those little things that come in your brain that your brain sometimes gets in the way of everything. And it's ridiculous because it doesn't matter. People come and see you because of who you are. It doesn't matter where you're from or whatnot. I've had patients come and see me because I'm French. You know? Because they don't speak English. I'm like, oh, okay. Well, that you know, fair enough.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:43:27]:

Right? So I think we we get in our own way. And everyone that is in school, we're all learning the same thing. It's how much passion, first, you put into what you wanna do, your intention, your passion, how passionate you are about helping people, about really going out there and making a difference. The second one is you need consistency. It's okay to continue to do things, do the things, do the things, do the things, and it's little step by little step by little step, you're gonna get better, you're gonna get more comfortable, you're gonna understand and learn more because, you know, who teaches you the most? Your patients. You don't learn anything, you come out of school, and then that's when the learning start. And then the last thing is having grit. Because things are not gonna go our way, we are gonna fail, we're gonna have some days where it's just not happening, and we're gonna feel scared, and we're gonna have a lot of fears.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:44:21]:

We need to take it back and say, okay. It's okay to fall. Just get back up. Look at little babies. You have 2 kids. You know that. Right? They get up. They grab the couch, and they take a step with you, and then they fall down.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:44:32]:

Do they go, okay, well I'll never walk again, I'm done? No. They get up and they try again. And then they fall down. They're like, man and then they get up and sometimes they cry because they fall a little bit harder, But they don't give up because all of us are walking. So obviously, we didn't give up because we had no notion of knowing what would happen. We really wanted to walk. So if you really wanna help to help people, have the intention, passion, consistency, and grit. You're done.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:44:56]:

I'm digesting that. That was that wow. I know for me, selfishly, I'm gonna go back to what you just talked about, and I'm gonna listen to it whenever I need some motivation again, whenever I find myself just like, okay. Like, I I'm really tired. I don't know. That was thank you for sharing that. That was that was really amazing. Okay.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:45:16]:

Well, Clara, I wanna be respectful of your time. This was amazing. I wanna, again, just I wanna acknowledge you for who you are, for what you're doing for the acupuncture community. I try to see I try to watch every single minute of everything that you do. And you really are just amazing. And every time I watch your videos, every time I hear your voice talking about TCM as a, you know, topic, I get motivated. I wanna go out and treat patients. Right now, I wanna go and treat somebody.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:45:41]:

That that like it's just amazing. The passion that you have for acupuncture. And honestly, it's it it really has passed on to me. I feel motivated again. I feel passionate again. I wanna just put out as much content as possible right now and help as many people out as right now. And seriously, you you really are just an amazing soul. I look up to you, and you motivate me to work even harder and just to affect as many lives as possible of acupuncture students and acupuncturists out there.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:46:06]:

So, again, thank you.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:46:08]:

You made my day. You're so sweet because, you know, that's why I love the Internet. It connected us. We would have probably never met. I mean, you're in New Jersey. I'm in Canada. What are the chances? Right? And this is why what you do allows us to connect. And that, to me, makes me happy because I don't feel alone.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:46:29]:

When you're on the Internet, you can feel alone. Right? But you know there's other people that feel like that feel like you do. And then you connect, like, I feel like I could hug you. It's so cool. So thank

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:46:40]:

And that's that's the thing too about, I mean, speaking speaking just to myself and how I felt sometimes when I when I reached out to you, when I was trying to do more interviews in the beginning of my podcast life, and then I got scared, and I scared myself out of it. Right? Because of, you know, I I thought, oh, I don't know how to ask her questions because she knows so much, and I don't know as much, and this and that. And so you get into your own conversation in your own head that's just, like, you know, it just breaks yourself down. Right? But it's like like you said, putting yourself out there, even as an acupuncturist trying to build your own practice, going out and giving acupuncture for free to the people around you because it's a community, And and that that that can only help. And sometimes people look at that like, oh, these are my competitors. You know, but they're not. You know, we're all in the same boat together. Right? Rising tide raises all ships.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:47:27]:

And if we all help each other, we all win in the end. Alright. So I wanna leave everyone with one last question. I could ask you questions over and over again because, selfishly, I wanna learn as much as possible from you, and I want everyone else also to learn. But I think one question my last question for you would be, what is one quote or one message that you keep close to your heart that you feel would help someone listening right now?

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:47:56]:

One word, adaptability. That's all I could say because we know change is constant and stress is going to happen, just don't fight the wave. Ride the wave, adapt to the wave, don't fight it. That's it, adapt. Because we're gonna have to. Adapt to whatever change is happening. It's okay to step back and go, woah, that wave is really big. It took me under.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:48:21]:

Get back up, get on your board, ride the wave. If you're a surfer, you totally get what I'm saying. If you're not, just think adaptability. That's it. Every time you're stressed, just go, I'm not fighting. I'm adapting.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:48:35]:

Wow. Okay. Amazing. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for your time with this. Thank you for everything that you're doing again. I know I'm saying thank you.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:48:42]:

Thank you. Thank you so much, but I feel like I'm literally talking to a celebrity. So thank you again, Clara. Thank you for being on the show. And is there anything else is there anything that you're you wanna share? Like, I hope that everyone follows you. If they're not following you already, follow her podcast, follow her YouTube, follow her on Instagram. I think your handle everywhere is AccuProAcademy.

Dr. Clara Cohen [00:49:05]:

That's what it is. So if you need to look for me or found me anywhere, just check those out and, you know, say hello because I answer my DM as Richard knows.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:49:15]:

Yeah. That's that's that's the big thing about you. Like, it's like you're you're you are you. You are running the show. You are running everything. And, you know, what you see is what you get. You're as real of a person as you are. And when you reach out, if whoever's listening, if you comment on her post, it's her reaching back out to you.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:49:33]:

If you DM her, it's her DM ing you back. Everything that you see is exactly what you get. And, honestly, she has a big heart. You have you have a big heart. Thank you for what you're doing again. And one to show it like that. Thank you, Clara.

Dr. Richard Lai DPT LAc [00:17:51]:

So you can download my free planner at my website at www. Studyaccu with Alright, everyone. Until next time. God bless and happy studying.

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