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How to Find an Acupuncturist and Chinese Medical Herbalist

by Dr. J on February 9, 2014

Image about acupuncture needles in packQuestions to Ask: 

  • Does the practitioner have experience with your specific condition/health needs?
  • Is the practitioner licensed in your state?
  • Is the practitioner certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)? (acupuncture and herbal certification are separate designations)
  • Has the practitioner completed any additional specialization  and training?
  • How long does a treatment last? (average 45-60 minutes)
  • What is the cost of treatment? (generally $50-$175/session in office = national range depending on area and expertise)
  • Does the office handle insurance if you have coverage?
  • Any other questions you may have at the time.

Considerations: 

  • Is the office location reasonably convenient to you? 
  • Are you receiving confident, intelligent responses to your questions?
  • Does the office staff sound pleasant and respectful of your needs and inquiries?
  • Do you feel comfortable and respected when at the office?
  • Trust and rapport needs to be established – this is your subjective assessment.
  • Evaluate the 4 Cs of Quality Patient Care: Communication, Connection, Concentration, Compassion. 

Licensure/Designations: 

  • L.Ac. – Licensed Acupuncturist (state licensure)
    • Other State Licensures – some vary by state; most are L.Ac. 
  • Dipl. Ac. – Diplomate in Acupuncture (national certification) 
  • Dipl. C.H. – Diplomate in Chinese Herbology 
  • M.T.O.M. – Master’s of Traditional Oriental Medicine 
    • Didactic/clinical master’s degree (generally >3000-4000 hours) to be eligible to take state/national licensure examinations 
  • D.A.O.M. – Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: 
    • Highest level of education available in the field; 100s of current graduates in the U.S.; presently approximately ten schools nationally approved by the U.S. Department of Education matriculating students/in progress.

Search for Nationally Certified Acupuncturists at: 

  • www.nccaom.org
    • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (Alexandria, VA
    • Acufinder.com Acupuncturist Referral Service
  • Search for State Licensures by searching (e.g. Google) for:
    • State Board for Acupuncture in “your state”
    • Licensed acupuncturists in “your state” 

Note: some general websites including acufinder.com and yellowbook.com will advertise licensed practitioners (paid advertising) but may not reflect all licensed and qualified practitioners in your area.  Search for licensure via the state board and/or call practitioners in the yellow pages or through personal referral and ask them about their licensure directly. 

Finally, referrals can be good resources to consider for your care—from a friend or other trusted healthcare practitioner.  Still, do your homework and establish personal rapport for your own best care.  Ask lots of questions and be proactive about finding expert healthcare for yourself.

Your 2 ¢

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