Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) website has a national directory of all acupuncturists and TCM practitioners that hold NCCAOM certification. Since NCCAOM certification is a prerequisite for licensure in most states, this is a reliable and reputable source of information about practitioners who have met established standards of competency.
What are some other sources?
Most states that license acupuncturists and Oriental medical practitioners have professional associations that provide public education and outreach. These associations usually host websites providing a listing of local practitioners as well as information about educational opportunities and community events.
Schools of Oriental medicine usually maintain listings of alumni, providing another source for referrals. They also usually offer student and faculty clinics that are open to the public and provide quality Oriental medical services at very reasonable fees.
Other sources include the local yellow pages (listed under the category of "acupuncture," rather than "TCM"), health food stores and natural food cooperatives, local health clubs and spas. And keep an eye open for local alternative health publications. Aside from the interesting articles, you will often find a number of advertisements for local complementary practitioners.
Of course, the best advertising for a practitioner comes from happy and satisfied patients, so note who your patients are seeing and the results they are getting.
What do I do once I find a practitioner?
Once you've found a practitioner with whom you'd like to work, make sure you open your ears, mind, and heart when learning about available TCM therapy options. Remember that you are not only dealing with a different set of treatments but with entirely different world views and perspectives on human health. This may make some of the treatments seem very different from what you are accustomed to.
The key to successfully integrating TCM into your healthcare routine is communication. Ask questions, share ideas, learn more. Ultimately what matters is what works, and being "right" should never be more important than finding out what therapies really contribute to your health and well being.