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  • Writer's picturePhilip Niño Tan-Gatue

Five Questions to Ask Your “Acupuncturist”

In the Philippines these days, it seems that the number of people proclaiming themselves acupuncturists is growing faster than Pinocchio’s nose on prom night.  There are some authentic acupuncturists who are thoroughly trained in Oriental Medicine theory and there are the wannabes who think that by knowing how to insert a needle into five or six points they can be qualified to call themselves “acupuncturists”.  I have often blogged about this topic and so I have been asked, “how can we tell the real thing from the wannabe?”

Hence this blog post – Five Questions to Ask Your Acupuncturist.  If they don’t answer them right, well, buyer beware.

1) Where and how long did you train?

Many people get by this one by giving vague answers.  I know one physician who trained for ONE WEEK in China and that lets him say to patients that he trained in China. Compare and contrast to those who have studied in China for months or years at a time.  Also, there are excellent acupuncturists who have trained outside of China but in the Philippines.  However, some train only through some very loosely taught weekend courses.

This is your health you’re talking about.  Feel free to ask for details.

2) What flows through the acupuncture channels?

Most people would answer Qi.  The right answer is not just Qi.  Feel free to let me know how many “acupuncturists” will say only Qi.  Heck, feel free to follow up this question with “okay, what KIND of Qi flows through the meridians?”  If they give you a look that seems to say, “there are different kinds of Qi?” then skeedadle out of there.

3) What points are forbidden in pregnancy?

Yes, there are acupuncture points that are forbidden in pregnancy.  This is basic.  If they don’t know this…

4) What is the difference between Tonifying and Reducing Methods of Needling?

Most people these days simply stick the needles in and connect them to electric stimulator machines.  But even then, the real acupuncturist should be able to know that there are different ways of manipulating needles.  If they don’t know tonifying and reducing… well…

5) What is the difference between acupuncture and “dry needling”.

I can’t define dry needling without giving away the answer, though.  What the heck is “wet needling” – that I don’t know.

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