Looking for an acupuncturist may be a daunting experience for some people, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what to look for. The best way to find a good acupuncturist is to ask your friends and family for the name of a practitioner they’ve had a good experience with. But if that’s not possible here are 5 important points to remember when interviewing an acupuncturist for the first time.
1. Where did they receive their training?
Make sure your acupuncturist attended a nationally accredited school. In states with strict licensing laws (Florida is one of them), acupuncturists must have completed four years of training and passed rigorous national and state board exams.
Florida requires passage of the national certification exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to be eligible for state licensure. NCCAOM specifically requires graduation from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program to be eligible to sit for NCCAOM's certification exam(s).
The training and experience of acupuncturists may also vary from state to state. While some states allow only MDs to practice acupuncture, be aware that a medical doctor licensed to practice acupuncture may not have the same depth of knowledge as a practitioner whose primary training resulted in a degree focused on Traditional Chinese Medicine.
2. Do they offer a FREE initial consultation?
Before scheduling the appointment, ask for a free consultation, or at least the opportunity to speak with the acupuncturist on the phone. If they are too busy to talk to you on the phone, they may be too busy to give you high quality care. If they are with a patient when you call, leave a message so they can call you back. You’ll want to discuss such details as rates for visits, insurance billing, and the practitioner's appointment cancellation policy. Remember to make a list of questions before you call.
3. Are they opened on Saturdays?
Look for an acupuncturist with flexible hours. There may be times when your schedule will not permit you to get that needed treatment on a weekday, so the flexibility of getting treated on a Saturday is very convenient.
4. Do they have more than one treatment room?
An acupuncturist operating 2 or 3 treatment rooms instead of 1 has increased capacity and the flexibility to get you in on short notice. When you are in pain or have to get that much needed treatment, this alone can make the difference between getting in today or getting in next week.
5. Do they offer an option for those without insurance?
Ask the acupuncturist if they have treatment packages. Buying treatments in packages of 4, 6 or 10 will provide you a substantial discount resulting in affordable healthcare.