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How To Choose An Acupuncturist

Posted Jun 20 2009 10:00pm

Did you know that not all acupuncturists are not the same? Yes, it’s true.  Selecting the right acupuncturist to treat your health problems is an important decision that can either make your acupuncture a success or turn it into a disaster. The sad fact is that there are people who go out and take a few weekend courses on acupuncture, buy some needles and themselves “acupuncturists.” This is like someone buying a stethoscope and calling himself a doctor! In the state of Minnesota it is sadly legal for chiropractors to take only 100 hours of training in acupuncture. (They are not allowed to used the term “acupuncturist”) Would you get brain surgery from someone who had just a weekend of training?

Many people ask, “How do I select an acupuncturist?” “Aren’t they all the same?” The fact is that each acupuncturist is unique and, like in any other profession, there are acupuncturists who are great, some who are good, some mediocre and some who should never be allowed to work! 

First, your might want to call a L.Ac. (“licensed As an acupuncturist”) who is a full-time acupuncturist and has had years of experience. Why? The answer is simple: You can relax and rest assured that your acupuncturist had the superior training and experience (instead of a recent graduate) to do what it takes. You want to make sure your acupuncture is done right. That it solves your health problem instead of creating another one.

Then there is the issue of patients going to so-called ‘medical acupuncturists’ instead of selecting treatment by fully licensed acupuncture practitioners. The 4 year L.Ac (Licensed Acupuncturist) qualification requires over 3,000 hours of intense study and research. The ‘medical’ acupuncturists are ‘certified’ after only 220 hours of study, some of which is home study without the benefit of the tutoring of experienced acupuncturists. Indeed, in some US states, medical acupuncturists require as little as 100 hours of training before practicing acupuncture.

Zhu Dan Xi, a spokesperson for said the value of the L.Ac qualification should not be underestimated, and patients should be aware of the potential dangers of receiving treatment from an unlicensed practitioner.

“We hear horror stories on a daily basis from patients undergoing treatment from medical acupuncturists, which just further underpins our belief that 100-200 hours of training simply isn’t enough. In the same way you wouldn’t trust a so-called doctor with 100 hours training, we believe you shouldn’t trust so-called medical acupuncturists either. These practices create a negative perception of acupuncture, and destroy the confidence of patients in what is truly a remarkable healing practice.”

“As a result of the lack of training of ‘medical’ acupuncturists, we’ve seen a rise in recent years in the levels of bad feeling towards acupuncture, with frequent claims of painful and uncomfortable treatments which have little healing effect. As any L.Ac licensed practitioner will testify, this couldn’t be further from the truth with well-executed acupuncture treatments, which can have a dramatic impact on health and wellbeing.”

Make sure your acupuncturist has experience treating your specific problem. You wouldn’t go to a fertility expert to treat your chronic pain. Go to to review the many health problems we treat at our Minneapolis clinic.

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