How to Choose an Acupuncturist

 Today, more so than ever before, it’s getting easier to find someone who does acupuncture. Unfortunately, it does not mean you may be finding the most qualified of practitioners. Many states allow other modalities of medicine to legally practice acupuncture and/or herbology, with little to no training. 

 Just to put things into perspective, what is currently required by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) to be eligible to sit for their national board exam, which is required by most states for licensure, is the following:

Many times when a person goes to someone for help with acupuncture/herbs and they do not get any successful results, based on their own definition of what that is, they will blame the modality and not the practitioner or that person’s training or lack there of. It’s not fair to judge an entire modality of medicine from a single practitioner.

 Here are a few questions I think are important to ask someone you’re considering going to for help with your health issues:

  1. How much training have you had and where?
  2. Do you have any clinical experience as part of your training? If so, how much?
  3. Are you licensed to practice in this state? If so, what did you have to do to get your license?
  4. How long have you been practicing?
  5. Have you treated my problem (the condition you’re seeking help with) before? What kind of success have you had treating it?

 There are many more questions that you can ask but these are a good starting place. In addition to the answers you receive, it’s also important that you feel comfortable with this practitioner on a personal level. You’ll be discussing personal and private information to this individual and it’s important that you feel comfortable and have some level of trust with this chosen practitioner. A good place to start looking for a practitioner is by asking friends of yours that have already been to someone. It can help narrow down your choices if you trust your friend’s opinion.

 Basically, I'm trying to tell you to be your own advocate here. Educate yourself and ask many questions as we are often mislead, intentionally and unintentionally, about the efficacy of one treatment over another, how knowledgeable someone may be about what they are doing, etc. Ask lots of questions and take nothing for granted.