Finding a safe practitioner?


Question from Paula: I'm nervous about doing either massage or acupuncture because I don't know anyone who does it. How do I find a safe practitioner who understands not just the therapy but also knows breast cancer?
Answers - Mary Ellen Scheckenbach With regard to acupuncture, most states in the United States license acupuncturists, so the first step would be to find someone licensed in your area. The second step would be to call the person and have a conversation about his/her training and experience in this area. Obviously, the more training someone has, the more likely you'll get effective treatment. There are websites where one can find a qualified acupuncturist. In states with no law, the person should be certified by the NCCAOM. (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.)
Tracy Walton Massage therapists are regulated differently state to state. However, you should see a massage therapist who is nationally certified - NCTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork). In addition, ask them if they've had advanced training in work with people with cancer. Ask them what kinds of adjustments they make in their work for clients with cancer. And finally, a number of us teach training around the country and can be found on the web and maintain databases of our trainees. Memorial Sloan-Kettering does training, and Gayle MacDonald, Cheryl Chapman, and I all train significant numbers of massage therapists each year. Hopefully, one of us could locate someone in your area if you choose to call us.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. If you live outside of the United States, my best advice would be to inquire with a national cancer or breast cancer organization for a referral to a therapist in your country.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2005, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Acupuncture and Touch Therapies. Mary-Ellen Scheckenbach, M.Ac., Tracy Walton, L.M.T., M.S., and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about acupuncture and touch therapies.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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