Why Change is like a Yoga Studio
Yoga is a habit. Just like exercise is a habit. You can't just show up once and expect to get the benefits of a regular practice. I suspect that this is a fairly obvious statement to make. Yoga doesn't change you, unless you keep showing up.
Accordingly, yoga studios generally have high rates for drop in students. If the purpose of a studio is to instill new habits within a community, it is not useful to make drop-in visits more affordable. Yoga studios have passes and memberships that spread out the cost of practicing - as long as you can commit to practicing.
- They want to encourage a new lifestyle.
- They want to make it easier for you to create a habit.
- They want you to get to know the teachers over time & understand their teachings.
- They want you to drop the expectation of getting it all, the first time.
- All of this because studio owners know that if they incentivize the pass that gives you the most benefits yet still sustains their business, their success rate goes up. And who doesn't want a good success rate?
Starting to sound familiar?
Natural Medicine cannot, and in fact supremely disappoints, when trying to be a quick fix.
Naturopathic Medicine is not a drop-in only practice. But the naturopathic model for business was built on offering drop-in rates to everyone. And it stopped developing from there.
If you want to come see an ND once or twice, check it out, or move on, that's great and fine - but that has to cost more. That type of engagement is not sustainable for a practitioner, nor successful for outcomes.
That's why we have high fees for those individual visits - it caters to unpredictability and transience - just like drop-in rates at a yoga studio. It's the same reason why a consultant charges high rates per contract - they don't know where or when the next contract is coming. They need to cover for the unpredictability.
If you commit to coming back when we recommend, we do not need to charge you drop-in rates, flat out. When the income is consistent, there is breathing room for rates. Rather than offering a punch card, the focus is appropriate medical care for a case - the rate per visit will vary, but that's not the point. The goal is effective care that is budgeted over a reasonable time period. This is a concept that is missing in the Naturopathic Business Model.
Currently, many of us can show up to a Naturopathic Doctor and want to make a lifestyle & time commitment, but there are no avenues to pay beyond a drop-in model. In that environment, how likely is it for you make a commitment? There is no incentive to continue care.
Now, finally, there is a model that enables change, empowerment and effective medicine. It's time for Change.
How is Change NOT like a Yoga Studio? It's not unlimited forever, and not for every condition.
There are cases that require far beyond what a one-doctor membership can sustain:
- Because as naturopaths, we can't seem to find appropriate solutions even though we keep trying OR
- Because the technique or treatment we offer is soothing and desirable, but not actually treating effectively
- both which lead to dependence, without real change.
Scenario 1: is when a doctor needs to recognize their own skills and scope and admit - "I don't think my tools are empowering you in your health". And that's OKAY. Membership incentivizes us to be honest. As patients, you need to be prepared that we might not have the answer.
Scenario 2: is when a patient enjoys and wants to receive frequent treatment. That is a lovely service and available at lowered fee-for-service rates, but that is not the same service as assisting you in making a lifestyle and habit change - which is where the real benefits of naturopathic medicine exist, and why membership exists.
There is a difference between being a doctor, and providing an alternative healing technique on-demand. That is something that most NDs have not thought to differentiate in a fee-for-service model.
If you decide to take actions toward improving your health, there is a growing group of NDs who understand that drop-in rates are not for the motivated & dedicated.
And if we practice effectively and honestly, we can make a living - a steady income beats grand fluctuations any day. If I want high risk, high reward - I'll play stocks for that kind of thrill. It's not worth it when it comes to a professional passion.
Wouldn't you prefer a doctor who doesn't play games with your health?