How Do You Select An Acupuncturist?
One of the best ways to find an acupuncturist is to ask people you know for a recommendation. If you do not know anyone who has had acupuncture, then you can find listing on Acupuncture Society of New York’s website and on the websites of the National Certification Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
These organizations provide listings of their members in good standing. Once you have located one or two options then contact the individual practitioner and briefly discuss your situation. It is important to be comfortable with your practitioner. It is appropriate to ask about their training and experience, particularly as it relates to your particular condition. Ask about their education.
Some practitioners have degrees from institutes, others have Master Degrees from colleges. The Masters level training involves study of upwards of 4,050 hours. These practitioners are Licensed Acupuncturists. Practitioners who have diplomas from Institutes, are also licensed acupuncturists, and they have been grandfathered under the more extensive educational standards, even though they have fewer academic hours.
Other practitioners, such as MD’s, hold certificates and have only studied for 300 hours. They are not licensed acupuncturist, rather they are certified acupuncturists. The designation indicates a lesser level of training. For those who hold degrees, they vary in terms of the subjects studied. Some practitioners hold degrees in acupuncture (MSAC), while others hold degrees in Traditional Oriental Medicine(MSTOM). The MSTOM degree represents the study of acupuncture and additional subjects, such as herbal studies. The MSTOM is broader in scope then the MSAC degree and both represent a higher level of training than the certified practitioner.
Some practitioners are members in Good Standing of professional organizations. One such organization is the National Commission on Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. To be a member of this organization the practitioner is required to participate in continuing professional education courses which have been approved by the Commission. You should feel free to ask about all of these qualifications. If you have insurance coverage for acupuncture, determine if they accept insurance your particular insurance. Be sure to ask about fees and cancellation policies. You may also want to view the practitioner’s website to learn more about them and their practice.
The bottom line is that they will become one of your health care providers and it is important that you satisfy yourself about their practice and that you are comfortable working with them.