I started studying and practicing acupuncture about ten years ago. My training has included many months in Chinese hospitals and private clinics. Over the years I taught myself to read Chinese, which is of considerable benefit in clinical practice, because the vast majority of medical literature is written in Chinese and is unlikely ever to be translated, because the market for it is so small. This means that there is, in effect, a glass ceiling for English-speaking practitioners who do not read Chinese. Once they have accessed and absorbed the literature available in English, which is limited, there is no way for their clinical skills to progress.
And so by that rationale, you would think that a native Chinese practitioner would be ideal. I’m afraid this is not necessarily true (though some of them are really excellent). The reason is that there is often both a language and a culture barrier that can make it very frustrating for a non-Chinese patient to communicate with a native Chinese practitioner. This is a great pity because some of them are very highly skilled indeed. In fact this unfortunate discrepancy is partly why the Confucius Institute was founded.
I have a BSc from the Confucius Institute in London, which is a collaborative project between a Chinese and a British University but long lists of qualifications are not necessarily meaningful. The admission standards at acupuncture colleges are not very stringent, and anyway, there’s a lot more to being a good acupuncture practitioner than simply having been to college.
So much for my CV.
OK, so how does one choose a practitioner?
There are lots of acupuncturists in London and that makes it hard to choose. In addition, frankly, many of them are not very competent and some of them are not very honest. You have probably heard at least one story of someone wandering into the first clinic they saw on the high street and being ripped off. Just the other day, someone told me yet another story like this. So it is necessary to be careful.The way that I inform myself about other practitioners is by reading their blogs. You can’t tell much about a practitioner by their website. Some very good practitioners have pretty unfortunate websites and some bad practitioners have very flashy ones. And after all, you are looking for an acupuncturist, not a web designer.
From my point of view, I can very easily tell by reading their blog, whether an acupuncturist is knowledgeable or not (and if they are not, it makes no difference how pretty their website is or how posh their practice address). For a prospective patient it is more difficult. You won’t really know how skillful someone is until you have a treatment with them, and see how well it works. But of course, that is a risk, because you have to pay for the treatment. What you can tell by reading their blog is whether you think you like their personality and whether you feel you can trust them, and that is a pretty good start when you are trying to choose who to have treatment with.
So, if you’d like to get to know me, have a look at my blog. At the bottom of the articles, there is usually a space where you can leave a comment or ask a question. If you prefer to keep the question private you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call 07411 261 411
I look forward to hearing from you
Member of the Acupuncture Society