In this video, we asked Dr. Josh Eha, DAOM, L.Ac., C.SMA, what his recommendation would be to someone who is thinking of working with an acupuncturist.

Who is a good acupuncturist to work with? How do you pick your acupuncturist? After all, this is not a form of medicine that most people are familiar with.

Here's what he had to say.

There's a lot of benefit to acupuncture. In Chinese medicine, there's a lot of research about it, there's a lot I have written about it on my website, but there's also a lot of trust needed to bridge that gap. This is something very different, very foreign to our way of thinking. It is a practice that we don't understand, and it's really hard to experience through just a description.  So part of the accessibility of Chinese medicine and acupuncture is through practitioners that are devoted and diligent, and experts in their field; but also recognize that medicine is a heart-centered affair.  There isn't any checklist of practitioner verification that I find necessary.  

Obviously, the person should be a licensed acupuncturist, and that doesn't necessarily mean that there are people that haven't gone to school, and are practicing acupuncture all over, especially in Minnesota, in any part of this country. Medicine is very well regulated, and people go to jail very quickly for fraud, for saying that they're a practitioner when they're not. 

There's a big difference also, between a licensed acupuncturist and a certified acupuncturist; someone that did a hundred hour course, or a two hundred hour course.  So, I would be careful of practitioners that aren't specialists in acupuncture. That doesn't mean they're all bad, but it means that they should be honest with you and say, I'm going to try this and if it doesn't work, go and see a licensed acupuncturist because the expertise level is way higher. 

The training is very different, around 4000 hours to be a licensed acupuncturist and four full
years of post-grad training compared to 100 to 200-hour course for those that say they
got training in this field. Because acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is so unique, it doesn't necessarily translate.

If you have a loved one or you are looking for an acupuncturist or somebody that practices Chinese Medicine, I would make sure they're licensed. I would ask for referrals like you would from anybody else, and I would see if you can call or email or meet that person
and see what they feel like. I think we know deep down when we found the person that gives us hope, which inspires us, that has a certain level of expertise, and that is talking about our issue. Not reframing it in such a way that makes it feel foreign to us, that we have to learn this whole new lingo and this whole new culture to be able to get better. I think a good practitioner is relatable and makes us feel like we're ready to be free. You know, like we're bound up, and we're seeing what those ties are binding us up and between what we can do, and the practitioner can do, we see that we can be free. 

About Dr. Josh Eha, DAOM, L.Ac., C.SMA

Dr Josh Eha, DAOM, L.Ac, C.SMA brings a sophisticated, holistic approach to the art of medicine in Minnesota. In just a few visits, he will catalyze the growth and healing you have been looking for - even after failed surgery, physical therapy, meds, or chiropractic. This video is part of our Educational Series at Trailhead Health, where our community of amazing Doctors and Practitioners share their experiences to help answer your health-related questions.