Finding the best acupuncturist in London for you, especially if you’ve never had acupuncture before, can be a little awkward and daunting.
You don’t know what to expect.
Even before you make the appointment, you aren’t really sure how to pick the right one for you, or how to know if the acupuncturist is any good.
Luckily, I will be going over 7 tips in detail on what to look for to find the right acupuncturist for you in London to help you transition into this ancient medical practice.
Bear in mind that Acupuncture is currently not regulated in the UK. This means that anyone can claim to be an acupuncturist but if you follow the below steps you can be assured to find someone who is right for you.
1. Choose the right type of acupuncture for you
In the UK, there are several types of acupuncture available.
‘Traditional Acupuncture’ is practiced by members of the BAcC, the British Acupuncture Council. Members are required to have completed over 3600 hours of training at degree level, usually a full time BA or BSc (Hons) university degree in acupuncture. The training incorporates Western medical theory, Chinese medicine and acupuncture. They are trained to use acupuncture to treat the widest range of conditions. Each treatment is bespoke to you as an individual. Additionally, BAcC members are required to be fully insured and to engage in a set number of annual CPD (continuous professional development) hours per year. The easiest way to confirm that your chosen acupuncturist is a member is to search the BAcC directory.
‘Medical Acupuncture’ is practiced by people with Western medical training such as GPs and midwives. ‘Dry Needling’ is practiced by people with training in manual therapies such as physiotherapists and chiropractors. The training ranges from 2 days to 6 months in duration. Some medical acupuncturists are members of the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), and some Dry Needling courses are accredited by the British Acupuncture Society (BAS). Medical Acupuncturists treat a smaller number of conditions and Dry Needling courses only cover certain musculoskeletal problems. Each treatment uses standardised protocols, just like medicine prescriptions, based on symptoms and doesn’t take into account your personal medical history or needs.
2. Where to find your new Acupuncturist?
Get a recommendation. Chances are you may know someone who has had acupuncture in the past. Ask them about who they went to see, especially if the treatment they received was for a similar condition. You can also ask your doctor who may be able to give you a good recommendation.
Search online. If you are not able to get a personal recommendation, search online. Look at review sites to find popular and highly rated practices. Search for practitioners who specialise in your condition. For members of the British Acupuncture council, you can search their website to find a practitioner near you. BacC members are required to work under strict codes of conduct and have insurance coverage; they will also only use single-use sterile needles.
3. OK, so you’ve shortlisted a few acupuncturists, what now?
Before you settle on an acupuncturist, ask what their specialties are. If you are undergoing IVF treatment or planning for a baby, for example, you may be better off with someone who has experience in that field. In addition to acupuncture, many therapists practice additional therapies like reflexology, massage or aromatherapy. Some of these treatments fall under the Chinese medicine category, such as Herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion or heat therapy.
Many people don’t know that there are numerous different styles of Acupuncture including traditional Chinese, Japanese, 5 Element, scalp, facial and many more. Some styles are more effective for certain conditions than others or they align more with the kind of approach you are looking for.
4. Choosing the best acupuncturist for your needs
Aside from the previous points, there are a few other things you need to consider when selecting your new specialist:
- They ask and answer your questions
A practitioner who asks questions is a great practitioner. This allows them to hone in to the root of your problem and provide you with the right treatment plan and healing journey.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should feel comfortable asking questions about anything from qualifications to advice. Your acupuncturist should be patient and able to answer any one of your questions.
- They listen attentively and deeply
Find someone who listens to your concerns, symptoms and anything else you say. This will provide you with the best treatment every time you visit them.
- They spend plenty of time on you
The last thing you want during your treatment is to feel rushed. You should have your practitioners’ full attention. Even a thirty minute session with a great practitioner can feel fulfilling and satisfying.
- They are upfront about costs, treatment plans and success rates
Make sure you talk to your practitioner in detail about your treatment plan and cost for each session. The last thing you want is to negate the positive effect of your sessions by feeling stressed about the fees.
- It is convenient
Look for a practitioner that is easy to get to, whether this is from home or from your office. Make sure they are relatively flexible and have office hours that you can realistically work around your busy schedule. Pay attention to small details such as parking, public transport or what floor the practice is on , for example.
5. Go with the practitioner you feel personally connected to
Once everything checks out, you need to decide whether you feel comfortable with the chosen acupuncturist. Trusting your practitioner will make your treatments much more enjoyable and effective.
If you enjoy a professional that talks throughout the treatment and chats about their own adventures, then that type of acupuncturist is the one you should go for, but on the other hand, if you prefer someone that is quiet and just instructs you what to do, then this is the kind you should aim to find.
To establish clear expectations, you can talk to your acupuncturist ahead of time and let them know what you are looking for and what your communication style is so that treatment can be given more effectively.
6. Are you afraid of needles?
Even if you are afraid of needles, a good acupuncturist will be able to work with you to reduce the fear and provide a relaxing treatment. Acupuncture needles are nothing like needles you are used to and should not cause any pain. An experienced acupuncturist will listen to you attentively and will stop treatment if you ask. There are still other modalities that can be used such as acupressure, moxibustion, herbal medicine, cupping and reflexology.
7. You’ve now chosen your acupuncturist and booked your first appointment
The aim of the first session and beyond is to build a relationship with your acupuncturist that is based on principles of trust and mutual respect.
Know that each therapeutic process is unique, as is each person. At times, according to your acupuncturists professional judgement and understanding, they might suggest particular ways of working but you will always have a choice of what you wish to do.
Therapy is a collaborative process and it is important to let your practitioner know and share your experience, when, for example, you feel uncomfortable or harmed in any way by the process, or anything they might have said or done.
I hope the article was helpful to you and will aid you to make the right choice when looking for an acupuncturist. Now that you know more about how to do it, I’d love to hear from you.
How did you find your acupuncturist?
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