Consumers Frequently Asked Questions

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The NCCAOM has compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding acupuncture and Oriental medicine and how to find a skilled and competent AOM practitioner:

Question: How do I find an acupuncturist or an Oriental medicine practitioner?

Answer: You can find a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM), a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or a Diplomate holding one or more other NCCAOM certifications by going to the NCCAOM Find a Practitioner Search Engine.

The additional designation of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is awarded by a state regulatory board. Currently, 43 states, including the District of Columbia, require NCCAOM certification or the passing of the NCCAOM examinations as a requirement for licensure to practice acupuncture. Each state board has a unique set of requirements for licensure. State rules and regulations are subject to change; therefore, one should always confirm current requirements for licensure with the appropriate state board.

Question: What kind of conditions should I seek acupuncture treatment?

Answer: An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and a plethora of other conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the above conditions and many more as being responsive to acupuncture treatment. Please visit the Diplomate of Acupuncture Consumer Page or the Diplomate of Acupuncture brochure for additional information.

There has been extensive practice and research that has evidenced that acupuncture is effective in helping patients with many of the conditions listed by WHO as well as many others. It does more than simply relieve the symptoms. The aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole patient and restore balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment, which is the most important benefit of this medicine.

Question: How many treatments will I need?

Answer: Usually, a series of treatments are necessary to resolve a condition. Each case and condition is treated individually. A consultation is required to determine requirements. Treatments can be between 45 to 90 minutes in length with the first consultation usually lasting longer. It is best to consult with an NCCAOM certified practitioner for more details about your specific treatment plan.

Question: Does acupuncture treatment hurt?

Answer: Most patients have stated that there is little or no pain as very fine, sterile, disposable needles are used. Treatments are available without the use of needles through Asian Bodywork Therapy.

Question: Can you tell me more about Chinese herbal treatment?

Answer: Chinese herbal medicine, also known as Chinese herbology is one of the primary modalities within the scope of Oriental medicine. Chinese herbology includes treatment with substances such as plants, roots, minerals and more. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbology has evolved as an integral part of Chinese medicine and is used to re-harmonize imbalances in the body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines herbal medicines to include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations. Chinese formulas are comprised of herbs designed for each individual patient. This special formulation is crucial because these formulas must be delicately composed for the purpose of achieving balance in each disharmonious state of being. Even small deviations in dosage or herb composition can change the entire focus of the formula and therefore, the results.

You can find a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) or a Diplomate holding one or more other NCCAOM certifications by going to the NCCAOM Find a Practitioner Search Engine.

Question: Can children be treated with acupuncture?

Answer: Children of all ages are treated and respond well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment. In addition, young children of those apprehensive of the use of acupuncture needles may be treated without needles using Asian bodywork and/or electrical probes. In addition, herbal formulas are usually prescribed to enhance the acupuncture treatments and to provide further care between treatments as well.

Question: Should I consult with my physician regarding getting acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatment?

Answer: It is advisable to always inform your physician about any treatment that you are seeking and it is also very important to have a list of medications and supplements that you are taking available during your first consultation with your acupuncturist. Some physicians will also refer acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners to patients. Just remember to make sure that these practitioners are certified by the NCCAOM and licensed in your state to practice acupuncture.

Question: Will acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatment be covered through my insurance reimburse?

Answer: Some insurance companies cover acupuncture treatment and they stipulate that the practitioner be NCCAOM certified. In addition, a majority of flexible accounting spending plans will cover acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatment. It is recommended to call your insurance carrier to verify coverage and discuss options.

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