Find Acupuncturists We Recommend
What's the Best Way to Find an Acupuncturist or Herbalist?
Most acupuncturist databases don't tell
you much about the acupuncturist or their practice. Patients
feel more comfortable if they know something about the
practitioner before they make the first appointment.
6 Steps to Getting the Best Chinese
Medicine (CM) Practitioner for You
1. Use The Pulse of Oriental Medicine's Acupuncturist
Finding Resource ABOVE, and look for your town. If you don't
see it, click on the "general databases" link, then
choose "National Certification Committee for Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine," then search by your city. If that
doesn't work, try state-wide, and choose the nearest ones.
Pick 3 or 4 names, and give them a call. Ask if they provide
a "short, free consult." If they offer to do this
in person, take them up on it, because you'll get a much better
sense of them that way. However, many will assume you mean a
free "phone consult." Make sure you get to talk to
the actual acupuncturist. Most of them will talk to you for
as much as 15 minutes. If only one of your group does this,
I'd say that's a strong testimony to their sensitivity and marketing
savvy, unless they are so successful that they don't have time.
Try to get even 5 minutes on the phone with them. While you're
listening, look for intelligence, sensitivity, compassion, ability
to listen and adapt, and ability to communicate clearly.
Ask them about their education (where, when, how many years).
Find out if they got a degree in Chinese medicine, or - if they
are a medical acupuncturist (chiropractor, MD, DO, or naturopath)
- if they just took a weekend course, or even worse, a video
course. You want someone who either got a 3 or 4 year Master's
degree, and had to take a licensure exam required by the state,
or a medical acupuncturist who devotes all or most of their
practice time to Chinese medicine.
Ask them about their experience treating your condition
(see above caveat). This will tell you how confident they are.
A good practitioner with little experience may still know how
to do as much for you as possible, especially if they keep up
on the literature! But experience does have value.
5. Cost & Payment:
Find out how much they charge for initial and follow-up visits,
if they have payment arrangements, and if they will bill your
insurance (if your insurance covers it). Their charge will
tell you more about their confidence level, and to some degree
this is a measure of competence, although I have heard of bad
care given by practitioners who nonetheless charged more than
they deserved. Likewise, some very good and confident practitioners
may not charge exorbitantly for their own philosophical reasons.
The reasonable range is from $80-300 for an initial 2 hour visit,
including acupuncture, and from $50-150 for follow up visits.
6. Compare & Decide:
Compare the results of your phone consults, not just in numbers
and data, but on your "gut" feeling. It's important
to have a good rapport with your practitioner to facilitate
essential communication, relaxation, and trust. People are sometimes
different on the phone, so I wouldn't make this your determining
criteria, but it may help you decide if the other factors are
more or less equal.