Often, one of the best guidelines to use in selecting an acupuncturist is to ask for referrals from friends and family who have been treated by the practitioner. If this resource is not available, there are many associations which can direct you to certified practitioners in your area.
Is the acupuncturist certified and how long have they been practicing acupuncture?
Although all regions do not require an acupuncturist to be licensed, the acupuncturist must possess a certificate of course completion from an accredited institution such as the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists, or the NCCAOM
The duration of practice also plays a role in the overall effectiveness of treatment. Now that is not to say that a newly certified acupuncturist does not possess the skills to effectively treat a patient, but as in most areas of life, increased practice enables the acupuncturist to have treated a wide variety of conditions, and symptoms and may allow them a keener insight into your situation.
How long was the course of acupuncture study?
All accredited acupuncture training programs are at least 3 academic years in length. This is an indicator of the complexity of the practice of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in treating the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of the human form.
Does the acupuncturist make promises that sound too good to be true?
While acupuncture is often highly effective in treating a wide range of conditions and their symptoms, every person is different and must be treated as such. As in conventional medicine, a treatment that works for one does not necessarily work for all.
Does the acupuncturist take time to get to know you or are they solely concerned with treating your condition?
As a holistic form of medicine, it is essential that the practitioner become acquainted with the person first and then, and only then, should the determination be made as to how the condition will be treated. We are all unique, with our own set of circumstances and influences that bring our bodies into a state of imbalance. It is of utmost importance that the acupuncturist is aware of these variances, before beginning treatment, in order to effectively restore balance and harmony in the body.
Do you feel comfortable with the acupuncturist?
If you are not at ease with the practitioner, it will be difficult for you to reveal personal details about your health and in fact your life (including metal and emotional states). This type of information is an integral part of whole body treatment and should not be left out because "you don't feel comfortable". There are many, many certified acupuncturists out there today to choose from, and with a little work you will be able to select an acupuncturist to suit you and your needs.
Always ask questions of the acupuncturist prior to, during, and after treatment. Knowledge is key in self care, so don't hesitate to make inquiries. Any good practitioner will be more than willing to fully explain the answers to your questions in terms you can easily understand.