Updated: Aug 10
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture is the practice that involves inserting a thin needle or multiple needles into acupuncture points in and on the body to stimulate different therapeutic effects that may be locked within the body at the acupuncture points. When choosing an acupuncturist, you should think about a few things first this is a great checklist to get you started. It is very important to consider their education, their experience, and the credentials that the acupuncturist may have or holds. Disclaimer: I'm an acupuncturist, by writing this Blog Post it is only my intent to inform the patient or potential acupuncture patients with relevant information that they may want to consider prior to making a booking. To me, it does not matter if you're in Wellington and coming to my clinic at Acute Acupuncture or if you are looking at different acupuncture practices in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, around New Zealand, and even globally around the world. It's my intention to give you this insider knowledge so you can make better-informed consent with your wellness journey.
The First Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Does the Acupuncturist you're looking at hold a minimum of a four-year degree? You should want to look at the acupuncturist's degree or certificate. This may seem small or insignificant, but it's not, this is actually a big deal. This will tell you if they have completed the minimum of a four-year degree in acupuncture. For example, there may be some acupuncturists out there that only have a three-year degree. As an acupuncturist, I would not go to an acupuncturist that had not completed a four-year degree. The acupuncturists with only a three-year degree are missing an entire year of competency, growth, personal development, and learning. When I was a student, that last year was all clinic related: It was focused on clinical research, clinical placements, case reports,self-management and differential diagnosis of complex cases. How many years was their degree? Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the First Check, yes or no?
Acute Acupuncture has been rated number one in Wellington, click here to see our review
The Second Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Does the acupuncturist you're looking at, who holds a four-year degree, is this degree at level 7? Your acupuncturist should hold their degree with a bachelor's of health science (BHSC) at the minimum of level 7. There may be some acupuncturists out there where their degree is only at level 5 or level 6. The higher the level, the higher the learning, and the higher the education was. There also may be professionals out there who hold a Diploma in Acupuncture, Tuina Medical Massage, or some kind of Western massage at level 7. What level 7 means is that this Qualification and learning is at degree level, it would have taken an extensive amount of time and research to obtain. As an Acupuncturist, I would refuse to receive acupuncture from an acupuncturist who did not have the minimum of their degree or qualification at level 7. Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Second Check, yes or no?
Here's a breakdown of NZQA: use the link to learn more.
Broad operational or technical & theoretical Knowledge
1) Select and apply a range of solutions to familiar and unfamiliar problems 2) Select and apply a range of standard and non standard processes
1) Complete self management of learning & performance within defined context 2) Some responsibility for the management of learning
Specialized and technical & theoretical knowledge
1) Analyse & generate solutions to familiar & unfamiliar problems 2) Select & apply a range of standard & non standard processes
1) Complete self management of learning & performance within dynamic contexts 2) Responsibility for leadership within dynamic contexts
Specialized theoretical or technical knowledge with depth in one or more fields
1) Analyse, generate solutions to unfamiliar & sometimes complex problems 2) Select, adapt & apply a range of processes relevant to the field
1) Advanced generic skills & or specialist knowledge & skills in a professional context
The Third Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Does the acupuncturist you're looking at who holds a four-year degree at level 7, come from an accredited institution or tertiary education facility? Did the acupuncturist you're looking at go to an approved school in Wellington or Christchurch or Auckland New Zealand, or did they study abroad? If your Acupuncturist studied in Wellington or Christchurch or Auckland New Zealand, it may have also been approved by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). If your Acupuncturist who you are choosing studied abroad, it's best to check if this tertiary education that they received is equivalent to New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) from the country of origin where they studied. As an acupuncturist, if I go somewhere new to test the market, I look up on their wall and view their degree, where is the origin of their degree and was this actually accredited? Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Third Check, yes or no?
Acute Acupuncture has been rated number one again in Wellington, click to see our review
The Fourth Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Is the acupuncturist you're looking at have a registration certificate or are they registered? Is the acupuncturist you're choosing registered with Acupuncture New Zealand or are they registered with another professional governing body? It's important to make sure that the acupuncturist you're potentially visiting is registered under a professional body of some kind. It's now unlawful to practice acupuncture without being registered with a professional body that governs the aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine in New Zealand, as this is now under the Ministry of Health from 20 September 2021. Click the link provided below to read more on the Ministry of Health or Manatu Hauora. As an acupuncturist, I wouldn't receive acupuncture from an acupuncturist that was not registered. Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Fourth Check, yes or no?
Acute Acupuncture continues to be the highest-rated clinic in Wellington on Google Reviews, click to see reviews
The Fifth Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Does the acupuncturist you're looking at who is registered have an up-to-date annual practicing certificate? Each year your acupuncturist will have to renew their annual practicing certificate. What does an annual practicing certificate mean? This means that your Acupuncturist is current with regulations outlined by the acupuncture governing body and the Ministry of Health, the acupuncturist is up to date with their first aid certificate, the acupuncturist has completed or exceeded the minimum hours of continued professional development (CPD), the acupuncturist is in good standing with the community and regulating body, the acupuncturist has paid their fees, and is up to date with insurance. As an acupuncturist, I have to renew my annual practicing certificate yearly. I lead from the front and by example, I would not receive treatment from an acupuncturist who did not have an up-to-date annual practicing certificate. Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Fifth Check, yes or no?
Acute Acupuncture was featured in Stuff, click here to read the article
The Sixth Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: Is the acupuncturist you're looking at or choosing, registered or listed as a treatment provider with The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is the New Zealand Crown entity responsible for administering the country's no-fault accidental injury compensation scheme, this is commonly referred to as the ACC scheme or just ACC. As an acupuncturist, if I went to receive acupuncture for an injury to test the market and I saw that the acupuncturist I was looking at or choosing was not registered with ACC, I would raise my eyebrow at this. This would then send 20 questions racing through my mind like ("Why would they not be registered") I would actually automatically think it was because of some kind of nefarious reason and it would erode trust in me. This would make me further scrutinize all of the first five checks on the list on how to choose an acupuncturist. As I also do Tuina Medical Massage, I have colleagues in Wellington who are massage therapists. One of the number one things that all of the massage therapist colleagues say is "I wish ACC also covered massage and massage therapy." That if their massage qualification was a degree, at level 7 or above, and they were registered with a massage regulating body then why not. Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Sixth Check, yes or no?
The Seventh Check on How to Choose an Acupuncturist: With the acupuncturist, you're looking at or choosing, what is their time and grade in their position and the profession? What year did the acupuncturist you're looking at or choosing graduate? How much experience does the acupuncturist you're looking at or choosing have as an acupuncturist? What is the experience of the acupuncturist with treating your particular condition or the reason for you to seek out acupuncture? What does the Google feedback look like of the Acupuncturist you're looking at? What is their star rating? Do they have any negative feedback? If they have negative feedback, what was this negative feedback for? Is there a theme to their negative feedback or was it someone on a rant? How did they respond to the negative feedback? As an Acupuncturist and also a consumer these are all things I look at first. Did the Acupuncturist you are looking at or choosing pass the Seventh check, yes or no?
Some things to expect during your initial acupuncture session include an initial consultation to discuss your health history and specific treatment goals, a physical exam, and the actual acupuncture treatment. Your acupuncturist may also recommend lifestyle or dietary changes to enhance the effectiveness of your treatments.
Scientific studies suggest that acupuncture may be effective in treating pain, nausea, and other conditions. When seeking acupuncture treatment, it is important to also consult with your primary healthcare provider or general practitioner (GP), or midwife and inform them of any complementary therapies you may be using. If you have any more questions or concerns check out our Acute-Acupuncture Wellington Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as we find these answers most people's questions. I hope this blog post has been helpful to you in looking to find the acupuncturist that is the best for you.