Choosing the Right Acupuncturist for You
Some of the first questions to ask are just the same as those you would ask of any other professionals. Where did you receive your training? Did you go through an apprenticeship and if so and for how long? Are you licensed or national board certified? What level of malpractice insurance coverage do you carry?
In addition, you should ask questions that relate specifically to the treatment methods and conditions that personally concern you. Traditionally, herbal medicine has been used in conjunction with acupuncture, but not all practicing licensed acupuncturists have formally studied herbal medicine. To include herbology in their practice requires formal study, in school class hours, apprenticeships and clinical experience.
An acupuncturist who has only studied through a correspondence course will not have this training. If the acupuncturist states that they have studied in Asia, be sure to ask about the duration of the course was and get details about the curriculum. There is a big difference between an acupuncturist who has studied the full educational curriculum given in the traditional medical colleges of Asia and the three to six week training programs are offered in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
Check with the medical licensing board of your state, in California, for the past 12 years, the Medical Board of California has been licensing acupuncturists. An acupuncturist is only allowed to practice only after successfully completing both requirements of four years of training at an approved college of Oriental Medicine, a rigorous written and practical exam given by the California Acupuncture Committee. When you see the title "Licensed Acupuncturist" or "L.Ac." in this state, it means that these criteria have been met and a copy of the license should be prominently displayed in the practitioner's office.
Next in the series: Styles of Acupuncture