How to Choose an Acupuncturist, 3 Tips

March 29, 2018

Let’s be honest, finding a healthcare practitioner of any kind can be scary. We often go to a practitioner because they were referred to us. If you’re the first of your bunch to try Chinese Medicine, here’s my best advice on choosing an acupuncturist.

Click the image to watch my video or continue reading below!

 #1 – Find a practitioner who is an Acupuncturist and a Herbalist

This information will likely be stated on their website. If it’s not, call and ask or stop in and visit their practice space. When you visit their space, you’ll likely see evidence of their herbal supply. This may include raw herbs, granular bottles, tinctures, or tropicals.

Why is this important? An acupuncturist who is also an herbalist will be able to provide a complete profile of care.

You may be asking yourself, what does a complete profile of care mean?

Here is a bit of imagery to answer that question. Imagine the structure of your home. This makes up the beams, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and each room. Now imagine everything in your home. The furniture, washer and dryer, refrigerator, plants, clothes, decorations, and so on. The structure and foundation provide a stable, upright, and safe environment. Everything inside is what makes your house a comfortable home and keeps it running efficiently.

Acupuncture is your house, your structure, and your foundation. It provides you with the necessitates. Herbal medicine compliments your acupuncture treatments, supports your system and continues your healing process between your treatments.

Can you resolve a concern with only acupuncture? Yes, absolutely. It may take longer to completely address your concern, but it can be a resolution on its own.

Herbal medicine will increase your recovery time, while also giving your body the necessary resources. It will also help you to connect with the healing process.

Keep in mind, that just as you shift things around in your home, your body shifts as well. This means that your acupuncture and herbal treatments may change over time too.

*Please know that not all acupuncturists practice herbalism. If you are unable to find an acupuncturist and herbalist in your area, I encourage you to visit them anyway. You may always consult with me for herbal remedies.

Click to read more about What Acupuncture Can Treat

#2 – Choose a practitioner who you like and are comfortable with

Think of your relationship with your acupuncturist as a true confidant. Similar to friendships, the more you like and trust a friend, the more you are willing to share personal information.

It’s also important that you feel safe with your practitioner. The more comfortable you are, the easier it will be for you to confide in and again, share personal information. Most practitioners will ask questions about your daily habits including lifestyle, diet, bowel movements, menstruation and emotional and spiritual tendencies.

Bottom line, find a practitioner who you like and can support you and help you achieve your goals.

#3 – Pay attention to an acupuncturists education

There are over 50 acupuncture and Oriental Medicine schools across the United States. By becoming familiar with your potential practitioners education, you will also become familiar with those they have studied under. Similarly to other professions, there are reputable and well respected educators in the acupuncture community.

It’s also important pay attention to their education because there are different schools of thought. 

The three most common are:

  • Classical Chinese Medicine

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine

  • Five Element

Do your research and find one that best suits you and your needs. Most larger cities have practitioners of all three. For those in an area with fewer choices, I encourage you to visit the best fit.

Before you leave this section, please be sure that your practitioner is certified by The National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This information will likely be listed on their website and you may even see their certification in their office. In addition being nationally certified, each practitioner must also be licensed by the state board that they are practicing in.

Check out the posts below for more information on the different types of Chinese Medicine.

*Bonus Tip

Avoid dry needling. This practice has become popular among physical therapists. They are performing acupuncture. However, they do not view, diagnose or heal the body the way acupuncturists are trained to. Personally, I would discourage you from receiving dry needling. Instead, find an acupuncturist and address your physical concerns with them. Dry needling has been banned in six states including New York and California. These states have deemed that dry needling is acupuncture. Therefore the modality should only be performed by an acupuncturist.

For more on dry needling, check out these articles:

Different Types of Chinese Medicine

  • further distinguishes the differences between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine  

Recommended reading about Chinese Medicine

*Disclosure: Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. This means that I earn a commission, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase. 

I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a reply down below.

As always, stay curious!


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.