It almost feels like a recurring dream. I’m at a health fair, networking event, or out meeting new people, and it happens. A conversation starts, we introduce ourselves, and I tell my new acquaintance that I’m an acupuncturist. They say that they have had acupuncture before and it didn’t work for them.
My next question is always the same. “Who did the acupuncture?” Nine times out of ten it was done by someone who has had limited training in acupuncture. This may include medical doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors. I’m writing about this not out of sour grapes, but because it is a consumer issue, and may ultimately prevent people from using a healing therapy that is safe and effective.
Many people who perform acupuncture have had limited training, and virtually no background in the art and diagnosis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you are thinking about having acupuncture, the most important question you can ask a prospective practitioner is about their training.
It has been my observation that the better someone’s credentials in acupuncture sound, the less training they have had. For example, physicians may only be required to take about 50 to 100 hours of training to call themselves Medical Acupuncturists. This sounds good!
In many states, chiropractors may need only as little as 105 hours of training to call themselves Board Certified Acupuncturists. This sounds pretty good, too. What most consumers don’t realize is that the board that is certifying them is their local chiropractic board.
At the bottom of the title heap are Licensed Acupuncturists. They sound like amateurs, but in reality, they have about 3,000 hours of training, over 600 of which are in the clinic. They then must take a grueling exam hosted by the national accreditation board, NCCAOM, and present their credentials to the Board of Medical Practitioners in their state in order to be licensed.
So what does this mean to you as a consumer of complementary medicine? It means that if you are looking for acupuncture practiced under the principles that have defined it for thousands of years, look to a Licensed Acupuncturist. They are practitioners of Chinese internal medicine and can treat a variety of health conditions from pain to anxiety. If you are looking for simple pain relief or to use acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy to chiropractic adjustments or a medical treatment, you can get it through your doctor or chiropractor.
It’s okay to ask about your practitioner’s credentials. In fact, you owe it to yourself to ask.
For more information on this issue, check out this site .