Finding and choosing a doctor of any kind requires some thought to the desired outcome. Acupuncture has a holistic view on healing, and treats the entire person: body, mind, emotions and the spirit. Other modalities such as herbal therapies, lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, exercise, dealing with emotions, avoiding toxins, and reducing stress also play a part of the process that helps lead to good health. Besides the beside manner, there is a nuance to providing helpful medical care that can’t often be summed up in just a few words. Before you allow anyone to treat you for a medical condition, you’ll want to make sure they are well trained. This means you’ll ask about the acupuncturist’s background, training and licensure in acupuncture. Other practical issues to consider are fees and insurance reimbursement. There is, however, much more involved in choosing the best acupuncturist besides training and a reasonable rate. Besides being a Dr. of Acupuncture, I am regularly a patient as well. Here are seven qualities that I consider when looking for the best acupuncture treatment I can find.
While the best acupuncturists are obviously trained well in their trade, any great doctor is really skilled at many things beside the technical aspect. Great doctors don’t just methodically go through the proper motions to facilitate healing, they need to be exceptionally attuned the signals a patient provides both verbal and non-verbal. Being able to feel or intuit the root of a health issue can often seem like an indescribable talent but it’s a skill that some have developed more than others. The notion of energy plays such a large part in the healing practice of acupuncture, it’s not unusual to hear this referred to as being guided by the Qi of the patient. The Chinese refer to this unseen guidance as “Knowing how”. Terms like Qi, spirit and unseen guidance, or “Knowing how” will quite likely sound a little airy fairy or foreign to have who have been accustomed to traditional Western medicinal treatments.
The best acupuncture treatments come from doctors who help put the patient in a receptive frame of mind, communicating in a way that the patient can understand while looking at the physical symptoms and then digging deeper to understand the root cause of the issue. There are a few secrets to finding an doctor to help. Read through these seven qualities of the best acupuncturist in your area to help guide you to finding the best acupuncturist for your needs.
1. Deep Listening
The best acupuncturists will treat each patient as an individual and not follow a rote method of needle placement. Rather than merely inserting needles used for stimulation at specific points on the body, the best acupuncturists use acupuncture as a tool within a full medical system. This requires sound knowledge and clinical skill along with a caring heart and the ability to form a trusting relationship between the acupuncturist and the patient.
2. Good Communication
When a patient visits any doctor, a good bedside manner is important to make the patient feel at ease and to fully understand what is going to be done to his or her body. The same is true with acupuncture. A good acupuncturist begins with listening to what is really bothering the patient and then translates how acupuncture treatments will work and what to expect in terms of length of treatments and any temporary discomfort involved.
3. Bridges Western and Alternative Medical Practices
Acupuncture is a widely acceptable practice in the East, but for many people here who are accustomed to presenting a list of symptoms in order to receive a prescription or a surgery, it can seem mystical and foreign. A good acupuncturist understands both methods of treatment, can work in conjunction with existing western medical attention and is able to present the benefits of Oriental medicine in a way that works best for the patient and the desired outcome.
4. Experience and Expertise
Years of experience is more than knowing the contents of a medical textbook from cover to cover. This experience develops character and complete understanding of how to handle difficult diseases, how to manage case loads of real live patients as well as how to incorporate life experiences into the treatment process. Acupuncture is becoming more and more accepted and popular to use in correlation with Western traditional treatments or by itself. Patients find acupuncture to help with any number of a wide range of ailments, from morning sickness nausea to side effects from chemotherapy and everything in between. Just like any doctor the is often specialization, and acupuncturists are no exception. While there are generalists, many also have their areas of treatment where they are well versed. You will find acupuncturist that have a great deal of experience and success in treating infertility like myself, while others may be more comfortable alleviating pain, depression, or neurological disorders.
The patient’s main complaint is usually really just the symptom of the real problem. A good acupuncturist will look beneath the surface and get to the root of what is causing the problem.
The basic explanation of acupuncture is that it works on a premise of energy, called Qi that flows through the body through meridian points. The energy that promotes good health is within the patient’s body, but outside factors like stress blocks it from flowing properly. Trust is important for energy. If you feel that your acupuncturist is trustworthy, intuition and integrity work together for your benefit. You, then, relax and get the most out of your treatment. One question to ask yourself is, “Does the office feel safe and peaceful to you?”
7. Works With You
Acupuncture treatments are beneficial; but the ultimate result is overall good health. In order for a patient to receive the full benefit from the acupuncture treatments, he or she must aim to take control of a healthy lifestyle. A good acupuncturist will work with you to achieve this goal to empower the patient to heal. The patient needs to play an active role in the healing process. Does the acupuncturist provide you with suggestions of how to help you make this happen outside of the office between treatments, with nutrition, herbs, acupressure, and affirmations? Temporary relief from a symptom is one thing, but true healing begins when the acupuncturists helps the patient discover his or her ability to participate in the healing process.
Here’s to your journey of life filled with balance and good health.