Choosing the right style and the right kind of practitioner

What are your health goals?

There are a number of factors to consider when getting acupuncture. While now widely accepted in many areas of healthcare, the practice of acupuncture has varying standards across Canada and the US. Some provinces and states may have active regulations and licensure, while others are unregulated.

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Depending on your health concerns and your health condition, the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments can vary widely. In the case of acute conditions, sometimes one to five treatments might be required to resolve the problem. However, if your health constitution is not optimal, 5 to 10 treatments may be required to resolve the problem.

Chronic conditions require a minimum of 5 to 10 treatments to assess the effect of acupuncture on that condition. This first course of treatments may then be followed by multiple courses spaced over months to bring about lasting changes.

Your practitioner should discuss treatment options, explain the strategy for resolving the problem, and give an estimate of the number of treatments required to obtain results. Whether it is one course, or multiple courses of treatment, acupuncture is a process that will help to stimulate positive and healthful changes in your system.

As a patient, you must think about the end result you desire, including both short and long term health goals. The next step is to find a practitioner that you feel is willing to support you achieving these goals.

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A Kaleidoscope of choices – things to consider:

Once you have a clear idea of your health goals, finding a practitioner will be a process that includes assessing the type of practitioner, comes with good referrals, and does not hesitate to answer your questions in a professional and knowledgeable manner.  Here are list of things to consider when choosing your practitioner:

  • Training
  • There are a number of levels of training in acupuncture, or acupuncture-like techniques, from focused training of a physiotherapist to the comprehensive training of a TCM Practitioner.  Your experience and results may vary depending on the level of knowledge brought by the practitioner to your health condition..

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  • Language
  • As a patient, you should always ensure that you are able to communicate clearly with your practitioner, or have on hand a translator who can effectively translate your health information and your questions.

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  • Referrals and Testimonials
  • While results from acupuncture can be at times miraculous, most results come from repeated treatments over a set period of time. When you hear of exceptional results from one practitioner or from one particular style of acupuncture, please bear in mind that acupuncture results vary from patient to patient. While your practitioner may have produced excellent results in many patients, results cannot be guaranteed 100% of the time.

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  • Treatment Plans
  • Your practitioner, after an initial assessment, should have a plan for achieving a mutually agreed upon goal. This plan may include a variety of treatment strategies. Your practitioner should explain each one and obtain your consent for treatment. It is normal during a course of treatment for the practitioner to adjust their treatment strategy according to changes that occur while treatments are progressing.

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