10 Tips for Choosing an Acupuncturist
By Mary J. Houge, Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, L.Ac., LMBT
Introduction to Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional medicine that’s been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. It is most commonly known for its ability to relieve pain and for bringing a general sense of wellness. Acupuncture can also be effective for certain many other health problems, such as asthma, digestive disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, weight loss and so much more.
1• Identify why you are looking for an acupuncturist. Determine your goals. What conditions(s) do you have that you would like your acupuncturist to help you with.
2• Choose an acupuncturist that has experience and/or training in treating your condition.
Discuss with them your condition and see if you are comfortable with their response. Did they sound knowledgeable? Did you feel good about the interaction. Check testimonials and referrals. Ask around about them.
3• Check credentials with your states Acupuncture Board. Most states require a license to practice acupuncture.
Some physicians, chiropractors and physical therapist perform acupuncture after 100-200 hours of training using acupuncture in a very limited scope.
A licensed ACUPUNCTURIST has around 2400 hours of training and receives a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. They must take a national exam that encompasses western medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture. This enables a licensed acupuncturist to more effectively treat many more conditions with acupuncture.
Check National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at NCCAOM.org for their certification. It is important to understand that:
A NCCAOM Certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine is qualified in the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian Massage.
A Diplomate of Acupuncture is only certified in acupuncture.
A Diplomate of Chinese Herbology is only certified in herbology.
4• Ask them about their personal style of treating. Do they treat you in a private room or in a community setting. How many people do they treat at one time. What is the length of time for your session and cost?
5• Ask them what else may be incorporated into your session other than acupuncture, such as herbs, auricular therapy, moxa, cupping, gua sha, food therapy, lifestyle counseling, hot or cold therapy, or BODYWORK.
6• Ask them what their specialty is and what is the focus of their practice.
7• Ask about the cost of services. What is all included and what is extra. Now you will be able to establish the VALUE of their service. Because now you know what is all included in their price vs someone elses.
8• Check in with your gut feeling. How do you feel? Do you feel confident about the knowledge and skills of this practitioner. Do they offer all that you are looking for?
9• Look at pictures of their facility, watch their virtual tour or online videos, stop by and visit their office. Is it comfortable, relaxing and clean?
10• Make the appointment. If you are comfortable with the above answers don’t delay your healing, make your first appointment and go from there.