In one of my recent sessions at Acura Acupuncture Clinic, I was finally able to observe our director performing acupuncture on a patient. I was very excited, since one of my goals for this internship is to learn more about traditional medicine. This session was especially informative for me, since it was also the patient’s first time getting acupuncture treatment, so I was able to see initial patient-acupuncturist interactions. Therefore, I was able to learn from our director’s explanations of the treatment to the patient.
One of my major observations was how holistic the acupuncture treatment seemed. Instead of solely asking about symptoms, pain, and discomfort, our director also asked many questions about the patient’s daily lifestyle. There was special emphasis on her stress levels and sleeping patterns, which even got me thinking about my own personal habits! This approach seems to align much more with a preventative style of care, rather than solely alleviating pain. It contrasts with some of the doctors I have observed in the US; sometimes, there is an absence of compassion and empathy on the part of these physicians. However, connecting with patients to provide a complete, preventative treatment seems to be more effective in this acupuncture practice. As I continue to pursue a degree in medicine myself, I think that this is something to really consider integrating into my own personal interactions with patients.
I also noticed how significant certain phrases are to the Japanese people, both in the workplace and in other daily interactions. At Acura, I learned to say “osaki ni shitsurei shimasu” when leaving work for the day. This is a lot different from my workplace experiences in America, where I would simply punch out when my shift was over. This phrase demonstrated to me how much more of a collectivist culture Japan has than the United States. By saying “osaki ni shitsurei shimasu,” I am essentially apologizing for leaving before others. In America, individual priorities are usually regarded as more important than the community’s, so this sort of phrase wouldn’t apply. But here in Japan, everyone at the workplace acts as a team, so it is polite to acknowledge that I am leaving that team. I think that my main take away from this observation is to be more aware of my relationship to others in the workplace. I am also interested to learn and observe how Japanese ideals shape other language patterns as I continue my internship at Acura!