Table 5

Faces of acupuncture consumerism identified in this study

Face of consumerism


Consumer as smart [26] chooser

Makes an active and informed decision, selecting acupuncture from a number of other options and making an informed decision to access it in a specific setting. (Very rare in this study.)

Consumer as chooser*

Makes an active decision, selecting acupuncture from a number of other options.

Consumer as patient

An offer of acupuncture is accepted within the context of a therapeutic relationship.

Consumer as earnest explorer [25]*

Acupuncture is something new to be tried, amongst a universe of many possible therapies, in the context of an embodied need for treatment.

Consumer as pragmatist

Emphasises the likely effectiveness of acupuncture in a particular setting and the actual effectiveness of it once experienced.

Consumer as hedonist*

Uses a particular form of healthcare to experience its positive emotional effects (only seen as attributed to the private sector by NHS patients).

Consumer as victim [14]

Is vulnerable and requires protection from unscrupulous healthcare practitioners or providers who might defraud them or otherwise cause harm.

Consumer as citizen [14]

Whose choice to use private or public sector healthcare is made within the context of moral and social implications of private sector involvement in healthcare provision.

*Adapted from Gabriel and Lang [14]

Bishop et al. BMC Health Services Research 2011 11:129   doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-129

Open Data