1. Credibility: Acupuncture is a regulated health profession in Ontario, meaning each acupuncturist is legally required to be registered with the College of Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) in order to practice. Before choosing an acupuncturist it is important to check to see if they are registered (https://www.ctcmpao.on.ca/publicregistersrc/). By choosing to work with a registered acupuncturist who has undergone the proper education and examination you will be receiving the highest standard of care.
2. Experience: When choosing an acupuncturist it is helpful to determine the level of experience and training the practitioner has undergone. By choosing a practitioner who has demonstrated a high level of education as well as clinical experience (for example apprenticeship or continuing education courses) can assure you that they have the commitment, knowledge and skill to give you the most optimal level of care.
3. Technique: There are a few different styles of acupuncture that are practiced. The most common are Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Japanese style acupuncture. All of these styles incorporate the same principles but vary in technique. TCM typically uses stronger needle technique and stimulate to get a strong sensation response whereas Japanese style acupuncture is very subtle and often painless.
4. Specialization: Most acupuncturists treat a variety of health conditions. However, many can have a tendency towards specializing in a certain area of concern or condition. Legally, in Ontario practitioners are not allowed to advertise a specialization but it is always helpful to ask a prospective practitioner if they have some experience in treating your condition. It is also important to find out what kind of results the practitioner has had with your condition.
5. Insurance: In Ontario acupuncture is now covered under most extended health insurance plans. Before booking an appointment it is helpful to know if you have coverage. Most insurance companies will also be able to determine if your practitioner is insured and eligible to be billed for acupuncture treatments.