Q: My husband has CFS/ME and would like to try accupunture to treat his symptoms. We are located near to Glasgow and I have found a list of practitioners using your search facility. I was hoping to find a practitioner who has experience of treating people with this illness but did not want to have to call each and every clinic to assess each practitioners' experience in this area. Is there any other way to establish this.
A: We do not hold lists of people who specialise in specific conditions or who have had more experience of treating named conditions. In the case of the former we are still in the process of agreeing what counts as 'an expert practitioner' and in the case of the latter it would involve an element of quality control - just because someone sees a great many patients with a single condition might imply that they are successful in treating them, which may not be the case.
Essentially, however, our position is that all of our members are trained to a sufficiently high standard in the use of Chinese medicine to be able to offer a safe, competent and professional treatment to any patient that comes to their practice. The disease labels of western medicine are not integral to the work of a Chinese medicine practitioner, and it is the patient's descriptions of their symptoms, the signs and observations which the practitioner makes within the field of Chinese medicine and the understanding of the unique balance and needs of the patient which are the strength of traditional acupuncture treatment.
The one aspect of treating CFS/ME where the choice of practitioner may be important is in the management of the patient. As you are no doubt only too well aware, the CFS/ME patient can experience a great many temporary improvements and setbacks, and it helps if the practitioner is aware from experience about how best to manage what may well be a long-term course of treatment. The best way to determine this is often by looking at practitioners' individual websites. Most now have them, and most are usually very clear about how long they have been practising and what kind of experience they have had. The current advertising restrictions means that there is a limited amount they can say on their websites about treating named conditions, but most would be happy to have a chat with you.
Unfortunately we cannot use our database to identify for you people who have been around a long time. We make a commitment to members to maintain a level playing field as a mark of our confidence in all of them.