OK, you’ve come to the point that you realize you need some help with the problem you are dealing with and you have decided you want to engage an acupuncturist to work with. It really does not matter what that problem is (back or other pain syndrome, infertility, weight loss, immune issues, mood issues, etc.) there are five key things you should look for before deciding to work with someone to help you.
1. Is the acupuncturist licensed: This seems like a no brainer but most people do not even realize that there is a license for acupuncture? In New Jersey, there is a licensed issued by the state that allows an acupuncturist to legally practice acupuncture. Look for an L.Ac. after the practitioner’s name and ask if you do not see one. It should also be noted that other professions are legally able to perform acupuncture (Medical Doctors are an example of this). However, Medical Doctors are only required to do 300 hours of training to obtain a license. Licensed acupuncturists on the other hand go through thousands of hours of training to obtain their license. To get the most out of your treatments, you should seek out a professional who knows the medicine inside and out.
2. Does the acupuncturist specialize: More and more acupuncturists are specializing in things like pain management, infertility, ophthalmology, mood disorders and the list goes on? If you have a specific problem such as back pain, someone who sees this type of problem dozens of times, day after day, is more likely to be able to help you with the problem more effectively, completely and with fewer visits (saving you time and money) than someone who has a more general practice.
3. Does the acupuncturist utilize Chinese herbal medicine: Some problems respond better to acupuncture, others to Chinese herbal medicine and still others to a combination of the two? Some acupuncturists are only licensed to perform acupuncture and not Chinese herbal medicine. Having this powerful tool available allows a practitioner to use herbal medicines to work synergistically with acupuncture treatments and in other cases address separate issues. This helps you get better, faster.
4. Do you “click” with the acupuncturist. Depending on the issue you are dealing with, healing can take many weeks and often months. You will be spending a lot of time with this person and a relationship develops. Not everyone clicks with everyone else, it is just inevitable. You want to spend your time with someone who you are comfortable with and someone who you look forward to seeing on a regular basis.
5. Cost: Of course, cost is a key factor. It should also be noted that sometimes, you get what you pay for! There are community style acupuncture clinics where there can be several other people in the same room. The acupuncturist spends a very short time with you, needles are inserted, and you site for a brief time. These clinics are very inexpensive and for those on a budget, this may be the right fit. Other practitioners will charge between $50 and $300 per treatment. Some process insurance, others will require “cash” payments and give you paperwork to submit to your insurance company for direct reimbursement, if your policy covers acupuncture. Keep in mind, a few treatments normally do not do the trick and you do not want to be getting relief for your problem only to find out you must discontinue treatment because you cannot afford it any longer.
There may be other things that are important to you when choosing an acupuncturist and , make sure you get your questions answered and your concerns addressed. But these five items area a great place to start!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!