The One Percent

What I always tell people is, what that I do is 1% of the work, and what you do is 99% of the work. The acupuncture is the smallest spark, and if I can just a subtle shift in the way you feel, or in your outlook, then you can go on and do the rest of the work yourself. Ultimately, what we believe is that the human body heals itself; we all have a capability to get better, to get stronger. Acupuncture is a nudge back in that right direction, or a safety net to prevent you from completely crashing. It affects you to get back on a healthier path.

One of my teachers—Marie France—said, “You’re a conduit.” I say, I’m a middle-man; I’m an insurance agent. “You need this? I have this set of tools.” You’re the rock star: I give you some information and some options, and then let you take the ball and run with it. That’s how we work.

All the amazing results I’ve seen in my work lie within that little 1% shift that it’s my job to create during our time together. You can’t look for the massive thing. You have to find the beauty and the amazingness in the micro–in that little 1% shift–and understand just how useful it is.

You know, I talk to people about going to yoga all the time, and they’re like, ‘I can’t do all that.’ And I read something interesting the other day, about yoga practitioners: they’re doing themselves a disservice by posting these photos of these really beautiful, elaborate postures, when the real work in yoga comes from every little centimeter of doing the posture the right way. Doing a posture the right way starts with just the smallest inch; it’s finding a certain part of a balance, or a certain part of alignment.

All healing begins with the 1%. It’s not the stuff you get all the attention for; it’s doing a little bit the right way, instead of doing a lot the wrong way. The value of achieving that correctness or rightness in a new orientation–being able to sift through all the other things and find the essence—should never be undervalued.

As far as studying all this Chinese medicine theory and acupuncture and then bringing it out into the real world and seeing how hard it is to apply… When you get out of school, you’re thinking you’re going to revolutionize medicine–that everyone needs this and people are going to be lining up out the door. And you see that it’s not as easy as it was in the textbook. You realize your inadequacies–not in a bad way, but you realize where you need improvement. It was just so naive to think that you can get out of school and you’re going to know how to cure all these illnesses, and to even believe that you have that kind of ability–without having practiced for a single year. There’s just a learning curve, being in any profession. And so, you have to go study more; you have to get better; you have to communicate better; you have to be better with your paperwork. You have to be better at everything you do. It’s the most humbling experience ever.

That’s why I’m here today—on Saturday morning, doing acupuncture—instead of hanging out with my wife, going out for brunch. I need as much work as I can get so I can achieve my own 99%, and be my own ‘rock star.’

Demetrios Bobolos is an in-house practitioner here at People’s Community Acupuncture. You can schedule appointments with him on Tuesdays and Saturdays during normal business hours.