You’re in pain. Or maybe struggling with infertility. You could be feeling anxious. And someone mentioned that acupuncture could help you. It sounds a little strange. How could those teeny tiny needles help me feel less anxious, help me get pregnant, or cure my pain? Your friends swear it’s true, and the research shows it’s not just in their heads. So, you decide to give in a try. But where should you start?
In Chicago, we are lucky to have many acupuncturists to choose from. But all those choices sometimes makes it harder to find the right acupuncturist for you. Here are 6 things to ask yourself once you’ve decided to take the plunge:
1. Did you know that not everyone who does acupuncture is a licensed acupuncturist?
It’s true! There are a number of professions that can legally perform acupuncture (in Illinois) without becoming licensed in acupuncture or attending acupuncture school. This includes chiropractors and MDs, who only have to attend a few hours of training to start treating clients with acupuncture. Physical therapists can also perform ‘dry-needling’, which is a form of acupuncture, with minimal training. Acupuncturists (the licensed kind) earn a Masters degree, spend nearly 4 years in school, must pass national board exams, and keep up with continuing education to maintain their license. I think a licensed acupuncturist is the way to go, but whoever you decide to see, make sure they have sufficient training under their belts.
2. Would you like to find a practitioner with a particular specialty?
One of the best things about getting acupuncture, is that it has the ability balance out so many aspects of your health. That said, many acupuncturists choose to specialize in a particular area. For instance, I specialize in women’s health and fertility, pregnancy, and anxiety. This makes me especially comfortable treating in these areas, and I have learned much of the Western medical treatment and lingo that these patients are getting and hearing.
3. What kind of needle technique are you comfortable with?
Hold on now. I’ve gone ahead and decided to jump on the needle wagon, and now you’re telling me I need to think about how I’m going to get needled?
Well, yes, but I’ll keep it simple. Most acupuncture techniques fall into two broad categories: Japanese-style or Chinese-style. I could go on and on about this, but what you need to know is that Japanese-style tends to be much gentler while Chinese-style tends to be much stronger stimulation. At Four Flowers Wellness, I primarily practice the Japanese-style. I love how gentle it is for my clients, and in my experience, the results are phenomenal!
4. Would you benefit from other Eastern Medicine techniques, such as herbal medicine, guasha, or moxibustion?
Despite calling myself an acupuncturist, it would actually be more accurate to say I’m an Eastern Medicine practitioner. Eastern Medicine is so much more than acupuncture and includes a highly sophisticated herbal medicine tradition, manual therapy, techniques to benefit the muscles and fascia such as guasha and cupping, and moxibustion (aka moxa). You may or may not know that one of these therapies could add another layer to your healing. You don’t need to know-that’s my job! I’ve got a full toolbox and I know how (and when) to use it.
5. How much experience does your acupuncturist have?
It’s always good to know you’re in experienced hands. I’ve been in acupuncture practice since 2010 and started my shiatsu practice in 2008. During school, I also had 3 years of experience working in the student clinic and a year doing an amazing internship at the Chicago Women’s Health Center. Woah! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for over 10 years already!
6. Can you start with a free consultation?
I really believe that no matter how good things look on paper, for a healing relationship to really work, you need to have trust and a good rapport. This is why I always encourage people to come in for a free consultation before getting started.
Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to holistic health care?
Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.