To the Point

Check credentials. Every state has different licensing standards, so find out the requirements where you live. Licensed acupuncturists typically have completed three to four years of training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, whereas physicians (and other medical professionals) can become certified with a couple hundred hours of training. The license or certification should be prominently displayed. Inquire how long an acupuncturist has been practicing.

Seek rapport. Talk to multiple practitioners–and make office visits if possible–before making an appointment. You’ll want to feel comfortable discussing your medical history with your acupuncturist, in addition to trusting him or her to puncture your body with needles. Get referrals from friends or family, or seek out testimonials from current and former patients.

Get specific. Some practitioners specialize in treating certain conditions, such as infertility, respiratory disorders, cancer, or addiction. Look for someone who has a proven record of successfully treating your ailment.

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