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I am looking for an acupuncturist that specialises in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Do I need someone that specialises?

The short answer is 'no'. Traditional Chinese acupuncture has always been a generalist practice, and in that sense every practitioner should in theory be able to treat every person who comes to see them. The reason lies in the fact that each person's energy is unique and different, so somewhat confusingly to the western mind twenty people with the same named western condition might be treated in twenty different ways. Symptoms remain symptoms in all systems of medicine, but the paradigm of Chinese medicine weaves them into a great many more patterns for which other diagnostic signs like the pulse and tongue are the ultimate arbiters of choice. That is not to say it is an exclusively eastern preserve; the great Canadian physician William Osler used to say 'The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease'.

This is particularly important in treating something like PTSD. Not only are there many different ways in which the condition can be expressed by the body, but also the precipitating cause can have an impact on the emotions and deeper aspects of the personality. From a Chinese medicine perspective the body mind and spirit are an indivisible whole, so it is able to make sense of the more subtle impacts of trauma and see the patterns which manifest on all levels.

That said, it can often be good to talk to someone who has experience of working with other patients with similar problems, and although we are in the process of formally recognising only paediatrics and obstetrics we are also aware that complex mental issues can potentially form another area of specialism. So while we would unhesitatingly recommend all of our members to be able to offer you help we suspect there may be one or two in your area who are the 'go to' practitioners for more complex problems, and these will be well known to any local member you call.

Our advice would be to contact one or two BAcC members local to you and see if they are prepared to offer you a few minutes face to face without charge to discuss whether and how they might be able to help you. This is far better than just booking in sight unseen, and will give you a sense of whether the practitioner is someone you can do business with. This may not be the most experienced or skilled, but can often be someone  with whom a prospective patient feels a level of empathy, which can be very helpful in the healing process.

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