How to choose an Acupuncturist. This is a big question.
I have made prior note of the evidence based findings demonstrating physiological improvement in pain and inflammatory conditions/diseases/injuries with acupuncture. If you have such a condition, acupuncture would be a good choice of care if your symptoms are of moderate intensity or prolonged or freq. recurrent. That said, how do you choose an acupuncturist?
You would be best served by someone with extensive and intensive training plus experience. That would be the case with an experienced physician acupuncturist who would also offer you some advantages as follows:
1. Anatomical training would help insure identifying point locations and safe “needle” placement.
2. Your symptoms and response to treatment would be broadly assessed as to the possible need for further western medicine treatment and or imaging.
3. Should you be among the 10% that do not respond to treatments over 3-5 sessions, or your symptoms are concerning for a dense tissue change (gallbladder slug that is in reality a stone, gastritis that is in reality a fully developed ulcer, and back pain occurring due to actual bone disease or as referred pain), that would be brought to your attention.
4. A care plan would be coordinated with your personal M.D.s and shared per your direction — noting also that many conditions are best treated with a combination of western and eastern medicine.
5. After responding to treatment, possible medication and dosage reductions may be suggested to you to review with your own M.D.
6. Physician training will ensure that the frequency of treatments will continue to decrease once you have responded – i.e. sinuses are one of the most responsive maladies to acupuncture and after 3-5 sessions likely weekly, your treatments would then be recommended to occur in 3-4 weeks, and if well, 4-6 weeks and thereafter may only be needed 2-3x/year to provide you with minimal symptoms and possibly
minimal medication needs.
7. Many other conditions will be recognized as self limited such as tennis elbow and many back pains so that, once you are significantly improved, further self treatment and care will be reviewed with you and additional treatments may only be needed should there be a relapse.
As a physician acupuncturist, I can and will provide you with these advantages as noted and I look forward to assisting you with the modality of acupuncture.
Mark S. Gibson M.D.