Because scientific studies have not fully explained how acupuncture works within the framework of Western medicine, acupuncture remains a source of controversy. It is important to take precautions when deciding about acupuncture.
Discuss acupuncture with your doctor first. Acupuncture is not for everyone. Discuss all the treatments and medicines (dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter) you are taking. If you have a pacemaker, are at risk for infection, have chronic skin problems, are pregnant, or have breast or other implants, be sure to tell your doctor. Acupuncture may be risky to your health if you fail to mention these matters.
Do not rely on a diagnosis of disease by an acupuncture practitioner. If you have received a diagnosis from a doctor, you may wish to ask him or her whether acupuncture might help.
Choose a licensed acupuncture practitioner. Your own doctor may be a good resource for referrals to a licensed or certified practitioner. Friends and family members may also be good sources of referrals. You do not have to be a doctor to practice acupuncture or to become a certified acupuncturist. About 30 states have established training standards for certification in acupuncture, although not all states require acupuncturists to get a license to practice. Although not all certified acupuncturists are doctors, the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture can provide a referral list of doctors who practice acupuncture.
onsider costs and insurance coverage. Before starting treatment, ask the acupuncturist about the number of treatments needed and how much the treatments will cost. Some insurers cover the cost of acupuncture while others do not. It is important to know before you start treatment whether acupuncture is covered by your insurance.