Choosing an Acupuncturist

First and foremost, it is important to seek someone with whom you feel an affinity with, and can build a relationship based upon trust. A practitioner, who will take the time to answer your questions (even briefly), and make the effort to communicate the complexities of this medicine, is one worth serious consideration. The relationship established with your practitioner is an important part of the therapeutic process.

herbsChoosing an practitioner wisely
This means that they are licensed by the state, and are nationally certified by the NCCAOM (National certification commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). Question their experience with similar health issues to the one you are seeking help for. Some acupuncturists are not trained or nationally certified as herbalists, which limits their ability to prescribe effective herbal medications.

Licensed vs. Certified acupuncturist
A licensed acupuncturist (and board certified herbalist) studies acupuncture and herbal medicine in an accredited four year program specializing in this specialized alternative medicine. Thousands of hours in clinical experience are required before a practitioner can be licensed by the state, and certified by NCCAOM.

Palpating shoulderCertification is a much less intense program for MDs. This program requires about 250 hours of training, and there is no test to pass in order to become certified. In some states chiropractors and podiatrists are lobbying to become certified. Needless to say, this training is not adequate to understand the complexity of acupuncture and herbal theory. Consequentially, the patient does not receive the benefit of a fully trained and licensed professional, if not treated by a licensed acupuncturist (and board certified herbalist).

There are some medical doctors who do take the time to fully study Chinese medicine, and thereby become “licensed” acupuncturists in addition to being MD.
A word of caution: When selecting an acupuncturist, be very careful to research the training and qualifications of your practitioner. Medical doctors can take weekend courses in acupuncture and call themselves “certified acupuncturists.” A weekend course is NOT enough to time to understand the complex philosophy or practice of Chinese medicine. These doctors can do harm, so be careful.

Choose a practitioner who is a L.Ac (licensed acupuncturist). These practitioners are required to complete several years of school and thousands of hours in clinical training. The letters DIPL. OM after the name means that the doctor has additional training in prescribing Chinese herbs. More schooling and intensive traing is involved than just obtaining a degree in acupuncture (L.Ac). The more knowledge a practitioner has about all the components of Chinese medicine, the more able they are to diagnose and treat your symptoms.

For Further information on this topic:

“Ancient Medicine for Modern times”

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