How should I choose a Chinese Medicine practitioner? How are they trained?
Training and licensure in Chinese Medicine requires three to four years (3000+ hours) of postgraduate study. In the State of Colorado, acupuncturists must be licensed and certified. To obtain a license, they are required to pass a national licensing examination consisting of multiple modules, including Theory, Point Location, Acupuncture, Western Biomedicine, and Chinese Herbology, given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
On the other hand, medical doctors and osteopaths may practice acupuncture in Colorado without any specific training. Chiropractors need only 100 hours of theory and supervised clinical instruction to practice acupuncture.
It is strongly recommended to look for a practitioner with formal training, national certification, and an active license in the practice of Oriental Medicine. Oriental Medicine is an art and a science that takes years to master. While any licensed physician can stick needles into you, for a positive experience and results, find an acupuncturist with experience treating a similar condition (with acupuncture) to what you have. There are many styles of acupuncture, and many levels of advanced training that a practitioner may pursue. As a patient, you should feel free to ask about the training and credentials of any potential health care practitioner.