I was having a discussion with a patient the other day about his bad experience with a previous practitioner, so I gave him some tips on how to choose the best practitioners for various forms of health care.  This isn’t a new conversation, it’s one I’ve had many times, so I thought it was best to share it with you. Here are my 6 tops ways to choose your acupuncturist or allied health practitioner.

1. Qualifications

What kind of qualifications does your practitioner have?  Is it the top level for their field? Tip numbers 2/3 can help you if you’re not sure.

2. Registered & Accredited

Acupuncturists in Australia are part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).  You can search the AHPRA website to make sure your practitioner is up to date with their registration and is allowed to be seeing patients.  You can also search their membership association (most acupuncturists are with AACMA, however some are with ANTA/ATMS as well).

3. Health fund registered

Can you claim the treatment with your private health fund?  Acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists should all have private health fund coverage.  If you aren’t able to claim, then it’s possible that the provider isn’t qualified enough to be covered by the funds. (They may have chosen not to be covered, however most should be, and in my opinion it’s a red flag if they’re not)

4. Price

Pricing is a factor for a lot of people, but it’s worth remembering your health is not something to save a few bucks on.  If the price is low due to low overheads, no problem. If it’s because patient turnover is high, then you might not get the attention you need.  This depends entirely on your specific health needs.  I personally like to pay top dollar and get treatment from someone who will remember me and take the time to get to know me/my body as well.

5. Experience

This point can be considered in a few different ways. A practitioner with years of experience may be more familiar with your condition, but don’t discount new graduates.  They often have lots of enthusiasm and will go the extra mile for you.  Feeling comfortable with your practitioner might be more relevant than how many years of experience they have.

6. Recommendation

Ask your friends and family who they see. A recommendation based on someone else’s experience is a great way to get a feel for how a practitioner operates and what they’re like.