What You Should Know About Acupuncturists and Their Services
What is a licensed acupuncturist?
An acupuncturist is a licensed health care professional who, based on the concepts of oriental medicine, maintains the health of patients and evaluates and treats their illness and pain.
How do acupuncturists treat health conditions?
Using the principles of oriental medicine, the acupuncturist will examine you by looking, listening, asking questions, and touching. This allows the acupuncturist to record a full case history.
Once an evaluation is made, the acupuncturist may insert very fine acupuncture needles into a number of points on your body. The purpose of the needles is to stimulate acupuncture points; the needles do not inject any substance into the body. We encourage you to ask your acupuncturist to use presterilized disposable needles.
In some cases, acupuncture may be accompanied by electrical stimulation or the burning of moxa, a form of heat therapy. Acupuncturists may also use a variety of other techniques to enhance acupuncture treatment.
When would I use the services of a New York acupuncturist?
Many conditions may respond to acupuncture, including those related to the following:
- neurological system
- musculo-skeletal system
- respiratory system
- gynecologic and reproductive system
- digestive system
- genito-urinary system
Acupuncture may also help with:
- acute and chronic pain
- maintaining emotional balance
- stress reduction and detoxification
What is the relationship between an acupuncturist and a medical doctor?
Acupuncturists are independent health care providers; you do not need a physician referral to receive treatment from an acupuncturist.
By law, your acupuncturist must advise you of the importance of your seeing a physician. When this is done, you will be asked to sign a form saying that you were advised of this. You will get one copy of this form, and a second copy will become part of your record.
What credentials do New York licensed acupuncturists have?
A licensed acupuncturist has completed a three-year professional training program in acupuncture after a minimum of two years of college education. This three-year program includes both theory and hands-on clinical practice. In addition, a licensed acupuncturist must pass a State-approved licensing examination before becoming licensed.
How do I locate an acupuncturist?
Acupuncturists work in private offices, clinics and hospitals. Check with relatives, friends or colleagues who have had a successful experience with an acupuncturist. You can also check under "Acupuncturists" in the yellow pages of your telephone book.
You may also call professional organizations for assistance in identifying member providers. The State Board for Acupuncture cannot refer you to a practitioner.
What questions should individuals with disabilities ask about accessing services?
Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities.
What records does my acupuncturist retain? Can anyone else get them?
Your file includes a record of your history, evaluation and treatment. Your file also includes a copy of the signed form that says the acupuncturist advised you on the importance of seeing a physician. Acupuncturists must keep client records for six years or until the client turns 22, whichever is longer.
Generally, your records are confidential unless you approve their release. Ask your professional about exceptions to this. If you want a copy of your records, provide your acupuncturist with a written request. You may be charged a reasonable fee to offset the cost of providing copies.
Will my health insurance cover the services provided by my acupuncturist?
It may. Some health care plans cover acupuncture. Review your insurance plan's benefits with your insurance provider.
To help your professional relationship with your acupuncturist you should:
- Answer all health-related questions completely and accurately
- Ask questions to help you understand your evaluation and treatment plan
- Ask whether the acupuncturist uses disposable needles
- Ask if your condition is appropriate for acupuncture treatment, and whether the acupuncturist has had experience treating it