•Have they completed any advanced training beyond their schooling and clinical training? Extended and focused study in a particular style under a master acupuncturist is a good indicator that someone has made an effort to become a better practitioner. 150-200 hours of such training is a minimum to achieve any competence in an individual style, where 350-500 hours is even better.
•The ability to provide a traditional diagnosis based on the theories of Chinese medicine and a comprehensive treatment plan after the first or second visit, is a very positive sign that a practitioner has a good understanding of one’s disease pattern and what would be involved in treating it.
•Can they achieve noticeable and meaningful change in one’s symptoms in 4-6 treatments or less? This doesn’t mean a cure should be expected in that time, but improvement in one’s main complaint should be obvious in a short period of time. This should provide confidence that a practitioner has the understanding and competence to successfully treat one’s condition.
•The fewer needles the better. The use of less than 4 or 5 points, (8-10 bilaterally) is a sign that a practitioner has a good understanding of the properties of individual points and that they have confidence in their treatment approach.
The above points are a great starting place to finding a good practitioner or to evaluate the acupuncturist you currently see, but in the end, results are what count!