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Licensed Vs. Certified Acupuncturists

  • Your doctor, chiropractor, physician’s assistant or even physical therapist may say to you, “I do acupuncture”.  What they really mean is that they do neuromodulation (referring to the technique’s reputed ability to modulate, enhance or diminish, the effect of neurotransmitters) or trigger point needling (needling local points of nerve pain in muscles).  Often these practitioners will call what they do “medical acupuncture”.

    These practitioners have between 100-300 hours of training in acupuncture (often completed at UCLA seminar).  They get a brief overview about acupuncture meridians,  learn a few acupuncture points, and receive instruction about how to insert an acupuncture needle.  While trigger point needling may have some benefit in pain relief, these practitioners have no training in, nor are they practicing Oriental medicine. They are using neuromodulation as an adjunctive therapy to their primary practice.

    Licensed Acupuncturists (LAc), whose educational focus is in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, receive approximately 80% of their training exclusively in this field, and undergo an extensive clinical internship in Oriental medicine averaging three years.

    COMPARISON OF LICENSED VS. CERTIFIED ACUPUNCTURISTS

    THE FACTS

    Certified/Physician Acupuncturist

    Certified physician, chiropractor or dentist [medical] acupuncturists (CAc) with 100 – 300 hours of training

    Training which is often comprised of home study and video-taped lectures

    Minimal clinical experience in acupuncture or no actual patient treatments before certification

    Not required to complete the national certification examination to prove competency in acupuncture

    Not required to regularly complete continuing education courses

    Licensed Acupuncturist

    Licensed acupuncturists (LAc) with an average of 2,700 hours of master’s-level training

    Master’s level, on-site training at a nationally accredited school or college of acupuncture

    Hundreds of hours of clinical experience and at least 250 actual patient treatments before licensure

    Required to pass the national certification exam in acupuncture in order to become licensed (NCCAOM board certification)

    Required to do regular continuing education to maintain national certification

    Amount of Training in Acupuncture

    1905-2000 hours in Acupuncture

    2625-3500 hours in Oriental Medicine

    •    Licensed Acupuncturist

    •    Traditional Chinese Medicine Comprehensively-trained Acupuncturist

    •    Oriental Medicine Practitioner

    •    Oriental Medical Acupuncture

    Many Acupuncture and Oriental schools exceed 2000 hours.  Colleges in California must meet a minimum required 3,000 hours in Oriental Medicine.
    Oriental medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbology and dietary therapy, tui na massage, tai qi and qi gong meditative exercises.

    300 hours or less

    •    Medical Acupuncture

    •    Neuromodulation

    •    Meridian Balancing/Therapy

    •    Chiropractic Acupuncture

    •    Naturopathic Acupuncture

    100 hours or less

    •    Medical Acupuncture

    •    Chiropractic Acupuncture

    •    Detox Tech

    Kath Bartlett, MS, LAc
    Asheville Center for Chinese Medicine

    70 Woodfin Place    Suite West Wing Two
    Asheville, North Carolina 28801   828.258.2777
    kbartlett@AcupunctureAsheville.com
    www.AcupunctureAsheville.com

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11 Comments
  1. #1 Jim
    December 25th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I have read through your website information regarding the qualifications of “acupuncturists vs. chiropractors/physicians” who perform acupuncture. I am a DC who has practiced acupuncture of over 10 years and have about 600 hours of classroom training. I must say that I do now simply needle trigger points, but use a number of modern and ancient methods to determine what to treat. I have successfully treated many G.I. tract conditions, migraine headaches, musculoskeletal and emotional symptoms over the years and have even had people switch to my office from several TCM practitioners, because I offer acupuncture, chiropractic, rehab , nutrition, as well as Chinese herbal remedies.

    Also, don’t forget: Chiropractors were doing acupuncture in this country before there were even acupuncturists practicing legally in the U.S.

    There are many physician practitioneers who do acupuncture in China as well as the western countries. This is a turf war that acupuncturists have waged since they started getting licensed to practice here.

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  2. #2 Elie
    December 29th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    You said “This is a turf war that acupuncturists have waged since they started getting licensed to practice here.”

    Really?? It didn’t start when “medical acupuncturists” decided to practice acupuncture with less than 300 hours of “training” and then start to advertise and divert patients to them?

    Would you say it’s fine for acupuncturists to do the same? Take a 300 hour course in chiropractic and start practicing that on their patients?

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  3. #3 Mike
    January 1st, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I have some concerns about Jim’s reply.

    First, Jim makes some common talking points that are historically inaccurate about acupuncture in the US. Chiropractors like to make a claim that they were the first to use acupuncture in the US (I have been informed that acupuncture was mentioned in both allopathic and osteopathic texts pre-dating his chiropractic claim) and secondly that this dabbling in acupuncture should imply equal proficiency and acceptance.

    Second, Jim’s legal claim is very deceptive as there was no legal status on acupuncture prior to when the first chiropractors began attempting usage. Legal opinions and laws came much later.

    Third, the first acupuncture-related legislation was to allow for acupuncture-related research not unrestricted practice for allopathic physicians and researchers, which did not include chiropractors.

    Fourth, Jim is forgetting that Asian immigrants used acupuncture and herbal remedies for many decades in this country. This was long before chiropractic’s origins.

    Fifth, making a claim of curious usage, without proper training I might add, is not a superior claim, but one of ignorance. In this case, Jim’s claim to be first does not make you better, more effective or historically accurate.

    Six, I am glad that Jim has received more training then most chiropractors, but consider how much better he would be clinically if he had undergone the COMPLETE training with a supervised clinical internship. Accepting Jim’s argument makes both professions look bad.

    Seven, Jim might want to consider that acupuncture patients transfer to his office might be simply do to insurance coverage, location and personal economics, instead of individual acupuncture ability.

    Finally, the continued confusion within our healthcare system will surely bring up more of these issues of training vs. legal usage. The PT’s are also wanting to conduct so-called “dry-needling” so ask about acupuncture specific training. A similar argument is currently affecting PT vs DC over who can adjust.

    Personally, I vote for open and transparent public education as to a providers education. In my state, we already must do this with our acupuncture education but other providers do not want an equal playing field that allows the public to become better informed on their healthcare decisions. Go figure.

    In the end, I wonder why did Jim undertake more training then is necessary if he feels so confident in the current level (100-300 hours) of acupuncture education for chiropractors.

    AND

    Maybe someday these providers will explain why they have such a problem getting proper training and another license.

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  4. #4 Yang
    January 3rd, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for this website

    I wanted to comment about this subject because I think this is something that needs to be addressed by our profession.

    I love this medicine, I really do, I mean I really love what I do and have finally found my way in life. TCM has done more for me in my life and the life of my family than anything else I have ever done. I decided to get into this medicine on a promice I made to my father in law who was dying of cancer. I promiced him to find a better way to help cancer patients and you know what,I did and TCM was the answer. I got into this profession with a pure heart and the right intentions. This is what the sage wanted when they passed down this sacred medicine throught the ages. Many were concerned that it might fall into the wrong hands, and as you can see unfortunately it is. People today want to do what we do with little or no training and just because they are already a healthcare practioner they think they have this right. Just look at the requirements to practice what we do on acufinder. Look what acufinder says about these requirements to practice in Connecticut. They now allow 11 different professions and even list that now nurses RN/LPN can perform acupuncture in Connecticut without any training. (not to take anything away from nurses because they are really awesome) but they and everyone else should not be allowed to practice acupuncture without proper training. We are the only profession that is being attacked like this and if we do not stand up now, our profession will be lost. We cannot with 100-300 hour courses become nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, MD, DO, ND, Vetrinarian, Physician Assistant, NP, or any type of healthcare professional. If we tried then they would be crying outrage. So why are we allowing them to do this to us. It is an insult to not only our profession but also the Chinese Culture and other cultures that hold this medicine so dearly to heart.

    This chiropractor claims that they allow this in China? This is not really true. Maybe to some extent. Say MD, but not anyone else esp chiropractors because they are illegal in China and you will never see Chiropractors performing acupuncture in China. Nice try though, but simply not true.

    I am not against Chiropractor, my father has gone to one for almost thirty years now, I am not against any other healthcare provider, it takes a team in healthcare. What I am against is people who want to practice what we do with no training. Mass and RI have it right, if you want to practice what we do then go to school and learn it. Other states are like this also. Also look at Texas, as an example, Chiropractors in that state lobbied against us acupuncturists to stop us from performing tuina, because it was siad that it involved the spine? Wow but they want to perform acupuncture? Go figure, this does not sound very fair does it? I think Palmer Chiropractic College says it best, they do not support chiropractor performing acupuncute because it is not chiropractic, period. They are the best of the best when it comes to chiropractors. What would Mr. Palmer think about this, I don’t think he would be to happy either. Chiropractors remove subluxations and that is the main reason for them to practice, this is important and I believe in what they do. If I want to see a Chiropractor I will only see a Palmer Grad who focuses on subluxations. My fathers Chiropractor thinks that it is totally wrong for any Chiropractor to perform acupuncture. I know a lot of other chiropractor who also are against DC doing acupuncture. This is the mixers who do this. They also want to do everything else like pedactrics, Internal Medicine all with only 300 hours of training. I know that MD/DO are not happy about this. I could go on forever about this but I think you get the point now. I love Chiropractors but only ones that hold firm to what is important (removing subluxations), I also love MD/DO without you guys I as well as my son would not be alive today, I love nurses (my wife is an awesome one), I love PT, ND and everyother healthcare professional we really need all of you. I love Acupuncturists (big time) I am working on being a good one. Without TCM I also would probally not be alive today. I absolutely cannot stand the healthcare professionals that mislead people (patients) this is really dangerous and cannot be tolerated, it is what we call healthcare fraud. I know that the FTC and other goverment organizations also frown on misrepresentation in healthcare as well as the attourney generals office. This is how we have to pursue this matter.

    Let me explain, when say a DC or any other healthcare professional is advertising themselves out to be Licensed Acupuncturists without the proper training (they may be able to perform acupuncture for now) but they are not licensed acupuncturists, and when they step over into these dangerous waters they must understand that they open to exposure with not only their license but also their personal assets. What we have to do to address this is in a legal manner. A good friend of mine who is a Attourney told me that we as a profession should start collecting data with regards to injuy from these so called untrained people performing acupuncture. I know that it exists, we need to get it together. We need to start a program to alert patients and public that if they are getting acupuncture from a person without proper training and they feel they have been injured either physically or psychologically they may have a good chance of getting compensation due to this injury. This is a good avenune because I know that no jury is going to think after the facts have been presented that these people had adequate training to do what they do. Also we may have a potential class action lawsuit against the State that allows this behaviour and the State assiciations affiliated with these practitioners. This will get the attention of people. Also make a complaint to the FTC and Gov officials about this esp when you see someone claiming to be something they are not. I have spoken with officials who have stated that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. Let me give an example, I call a DC who claimed to perform acupuncture, he told me that he was licensed and I know he wasnt because I checked, he also state that he is far more qualified that any licensed acupuncturist and TCM doctor and has over 1500 hours of training, I asked where he got his training and he told me at his clinic. Wow can someone say fraud? This would equal to a nice sized lawsuit settlement!

    We have done 4 years of school prior to AOM school, plus 4 years of AOM school consolidated into 3 years, and now if we do DAOM another 2 years. That is 10 years of school total, I DAOM is included that is 4400-5000 hours. (I think the Doctoral is key to our survival), No jury, goverment organization, patient, or Healthcare professional (that is not commiting fraud) will even try to argue that they are more or just as qualified to do what we do with 50-300 hours of training if that.

    Lets come together and get them were it really hurts, also stand up for yourself and our profession or we will not have a profession left in 5-10 years.

    Thats my two cents

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  5. #5 Yang
    January 3rd, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    About the last post, please forgive my spelling, I was not able to check over my reply before it posted. I would also like to comment that I have never seen a MD/DO misrepresent themselves out to be acupuncturists. Most of my professors at school were MD (only diff is that they did or at least most of them did the full schooling for AOM) I cannot say this from the DC’s doing acupuncture at least from what I have seen most of them misrepresent themselves to be licensed acupuncturists. Pretty sad state of affairs. Also noted it that with the DAOM most of will have close to 100k if not more in student loans. Also we need to speak with he MD/DO about this because I think that many of them will agree with us and they do not need AOM for financial reasons, unlike others who only try to do what we do for the money. I also keep hearing about turf war from the DC, this is acutally funny, how can a DC claim this when they are not an acupuncturist. I will again state that we have to address this now, also want to hear about the crazy stuff going on in CT esp if Acufinder is correct then someone needs to contact the Gov/Attourney Generals office. We also need to get the real DC on our side because they are against anything besides removing subluxations and feel that the DC has no business doing Acupuncture. I hope more people respond to this forum and I will get the word out to my friends about this site. A very good site.

    Regards,
    Yang

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  6. #6 Yang
    January 26th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I found this recently, I just wanted to show everyone what we are up against. I hope people start commenting and getting involved. If not, then things are going to be pretty bad for us in the future.

    Read Carefully

    John A. Amaro L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM), DC

    Thirty years ago I was one of the staunchest supporters of the American Chiropractic Association. In fact one of our early professional journals used to print a list of the doctors who had the highest referrals to the membership of the ACA. My name appeared in the number three spot on several occasions just behind Dr. Joseph Janse and Dr. James W. Parker. Both names anyone in chiropractic will recognize as legends of the profession.

    Following President Richard Nixon’s 1972 historic trip to The Peoples Republic of China, interest in acupuncture grew to unprecedented demands. My own and many of my colleagues personal practices grew to include acupuncture as a vital part of our chiropractic practices. Unfortunately, many became including myself, became quite disenchanted with the ACA’s apparent lack of interest in this extremely popular healing modality. Even as thousands of D.C.’s began to form an interest in acupuncture and Post Graduate programs were being offered by at least five of our chiropractic colleges with the earliest beginning in 1972, the ACA would take no position regarding acupuncture.

    Numerous attempts to establish a “Council on Acupuncture” met with deaf ears even though there were hundreds of doctors who wanted the ACA to take acupuncture into its domain as it had nutrition, physiotherapy and soon, sports injuries.

    Reluctantly I felt compelled to drop my membership in the ACA, as they apparently did not reflect what I felt was the dynamic future of the profession. On multiple occasions over fifteen years following acupuncture’s introduction into the US, I would alert the ACA through a variety of means advising them there were currently more acupuncture colleges in just three of our United States than there are chiropractic colleges in the world. I felt it was imperative the ACA adopt a policy toward acupuncture at the national level. Again it was met with deaf ears.

    As the acupuncture profession grew to include national certification and the formation of several professional organizations, its distaste for doctors of chiropractic utilizing acupuncture grew as well, even though D.C.’s had utilized acupuncture since its inception in this country. The ACA still would only show its back to the profession even though as many as an estimated 25% of the entire profession had taken post graduate work and were routinely using the principles of acupuncture in their practices. .

    Numerous State Boards around the country have been forced to take a position on acupuncture with more than half allowing for D.C.’s to practice acupuncture as part of their scope of practice. All States require additional training and/or certification through the Post Graduate Departments of the nine chiropractic colleges currently teaching Acupuncture/Meridian Therapy. I can’t help but wonder of the remaining States that do not allow acupuncture, would they have accepted its use if the ACA had endorsed acupuncture for the profession.

    For close to thirty years now, I have sat on the sidelines watching this profession develop thru the undying efforts of incredibly dedicated individuals who run our largest national Association. The sacrifices they have made to insure the growth and place this profession has achieved legislatively is humbling to say the least. Even though I have not been a part of the ACA for over a quarter of a century, other than for the acupuncture issue, they have always had my utmost respect.

    Even though the ACA has solicited my membership in a variety of ways over the years, it was not until a few weeks ago a letter came across my desk as an appeal to membership from president Dr. Darryl Wills. He laid out the most common sense reasons for belonging to the ACA I have ever heard. In short, he pointed out the national Associations representing Physical Therapy, Osteopathy, Medicine and a host of others who continually fight our every move, are huge compared to our comparatively tiny association. The amount of finances available to each of these Associations compared to the ACA is frightening. It came to light for me how much we have accomplished as a profession in the wake of gigantic organized overwhelming opposition. To make matters worse we now even have the Acupuncture Associations attacking us on every front in matters of legislation. Frankly I wondered how in the world we have even survived. If it had not been for the few driven doctors who represent us, I’m afraid this profession would have been history years ago.

    Dr. Wills letter was brilliant. To take a person like me who has purposely boycotted the ACA for all of these years and make me want to roll up my sleeves and belong may be one of the toughest sells in the country. If the ACA and Dr. Wills can change my mind and make me want to belong, I can hardly imagine what this leadership can do at the legislative level in some of our biggest challenges we are currently faced. After reading Dr. Wills letter, I told my office manager to write a check for $600. as I had decided to join the ACA. I figured for less than $2.00 a day it was well worth it.

    It’s absolutely amazing to me how the universe works. The following day after I had made my decision to join the ACA, I received an E-Mail from the ACA Council on Physiological Therapeutics and Rehabilitation inviting me to participate in a special meeting to be held at the ACA Annual Governors meeting discussing the formation of an ACA sponsored and endorsed “College of Acupuncture” under the umbrella of that Council and chaired by Dr. Kim Christensen. Even though I was not a member of the ACA I was specifically invited to participate in this historic conference along with the Post Graduate Departments of the Chiropractic Colleges. I attended representing myself as well as the Post Graduate Department of New York Chiropractic College.

    Also in attendance was Dr. Richard Yennie representing Texas Chiropractic College, Dr Jon and Joy Sunderlage of National University of Health Sciences, Dr. Ralph Barrale Chairman of the Post Graduate Department of Logan College and Dr Lawrence Beem of Cleveland Chiropractic College Kansas City.

    While in attendance at the ACA Annual Governors meeting I personally hand delivered my annual ACA membership to president Dr. Darryl Wills with my most heartfelt “thanks” from myself as well as thousands of D.C.’s for adopting acupuncture into the acceptance and scope of the chiropractic profession.

    I’ve rededicated my self to seeing the formation of this “College of Acupuncture” to be successfully launched within the shortest time possible. It appears to be a gargantuan undertaking however it pales in comparison to what the doctors at the legislative level deal with on a daily basis.

    Thanks again ACA! Acupuncture within the chiropractic profession is about to enter into an entirely new dimension. Wait until you hear about what is developing concerning National Certification in Acupuncture for the Chiropractic profession.

    Incidentally, if you are not a member of ACA it is definitely time. If you need details, drop me a line at DrAmaro@IAMA.edu

    John A. Amaro L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM), DC

    Can you believe this guy writes articles on acutoday. How insulting is it for us licensed acupuncturists. Come on people get involved and do something about it.

    I want to hear what we can do about this. Looks like the Chiro is going to try and go for the gold which is our profession.

    I am sick of it

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  7. #7 DCdoc
    May 9th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Yang – If fact remains that the public will decide who is giving them the best results using acupuncture techniques. If it is a TCM doc, then more power to them; if it is a Chiropractor, again more power to them. The same does go for the PT’s wanting to manipulate the spine. This doesn’t bother me in the least, and I feel that using legislation to control who can do what procedure should be limited to what keeps the public safe, not protecting your TCM investment or my chiropractic investment. If we are talented in our work and can run a business, we will succeed, if not we won’t. Your Congressman can’t make people come see you.

    By the way, your chiropractic history is quite a way off as the profession began in 1895 with DD Palmer, not BJ – the son. DD was a magnetic healer – a term from the late 19th century and I’d bet he would have loved acupuncture, therapeutic nutrition, massage and mixed it in with adjustments. BJ Palmer took over after his dad, and was forced to make chiropractic all about the adjustment so that chiropractors at the time wouldn’t be thrown in jail for practicing medicine without a MD degree. Sadly that strategy to keep chiro’s out of jail became the “way” for pin-headed chiropractors for many generations. National College of Chiropractic began in 1906 and since then has always taught to employ as many natural therapies (in addition to the adjustment) as needed to help the patient.

    BTW – Dr. Amaro has been practicing since the early 1970’s – how about you?

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  8. #8 Bitong
    May 26th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    DCdoc,

    Dr. Amaro has without question become successful in providing Acupuncture to his patients.

    That is not the debate here.

    The debate is that he supports Chiropractors to become Acupuncturists with very limited training.

    Now say you have a Chiropractors that does the course on Acupuncture, and say this DC limits him/herself within the scope of Chiropractic Neuromuscular disorders, and refers when something is out of scope, and is honest with patients and tell the patients that he/she is not a fully trained Acupuncturist and just took a say 100-300 course (weekend) they also stated to the patient that they are performing Chiropractic Acupuncture, then stated that a licensed Acupuncturist is far more qualified in Acupuncture than they are, and also the governing board overseeing these Chiropractors would pull the DC right to use acupuncture when any of the above happened.

    That will never happen, just go onto health prof sites or even acufinder; you will see Chiropractors claiming to be licensed acupuncturists? Why because they do not care. Most people that do a weekend course to learn something are not truly interested in it to become good in it; they are doing it to increase the bottom line.

    Then you have DC in TX that fight to have tuina taken away from Acupuncturists and they state it is not in the Acupuncturist TCM scope? How sad is that? Tuina has been used by Acupuncturists for thousands of years.

    The bottom line here is money, money, and more money. Prove to me I am wrong. Some DC will state that they have no problem with Acupuncturist doing the same and taking a weekend course to do manipulations? But they are not being honest, as they know with the Chiro lobby that will be fought tooth and nail and will never happen. At least no right now. You would be surprised how many DC I see misrepresent themselves out to be fully trained acupuncturists. How sad is that, and if the tables were turned as is happening right not to you guys with the advent of the DPT, I do not see the DC profession welcome DPT with open arms. I do not think that MD/DO do it for the money, but I still do not support them or DC or anyone for that matter doing Acupuncture without the paying the same price in years and training that all Licensed Acupuncturists pay to practice.

    Now with that said I think Chiropractors are great doctors and know a whole bunch and I respect them and their profession. As I do the MD/DO.

    How would you feel if you were in the same boat and everyone wanted to become a Chiropractor with (weekend) courses? Think about it, what would the sages think?

    It is always about the bottom line with things like this people are out to make more money and money is the motivating factor here for people like this.

    Now a licensed acupuncturist will spend 4 years program that is accelerated into 3 years, and 3000 hours of training. To look closer at this say the average person has a BS/BA (4 years prior) then in AOM master program another (4 years) and now many are doing the DAOM on top of it another (2 years) that is 10 years of schooling with 6 total years in AOM and 4400 hours to have the honor to practice as a DAOM acupuncturist.

    With say a 100k in student loans if not more after 10 years of schooling, then they see other wanting to do the same thing with only 100-300 hours. This is a joke and is fraud and please do not get me started. This is complete absurd

    A Chiropractor is a Doctor of Chiropractic and considered a Primary Care Provider/A MD is a Medical Doctor/A DO is an osteopathic doctor and so on. A MSAOM is a Masters degree leveled Licensed Acupuncturists/ A DAOM is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

    Why is the above so hard to understand, people cannot be something they are not trained or even licensed to do. Also all of these so called medical acupuncture programs are not even licensed by the Department of Education’s and not legitimate in courts, they are associations in the given profession.

    In the future things like this will stop; you can count on that just look at some states like Hawaii.

    If you back is hurt then go see a DC and also for natural type of primary care and other neuromuscular disorders, see a MD/DO to save your life and everything else these wonderful physicians provide, BUT see a Licensed Acupuncturist when you need/want/desire acupuncture

    It is really that simple

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  9. #9 A Chinese in Texas
    April 20th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    There is not a single chiropractor in China or chinese dictionary. Chinese doctors/Acupuncturist in China can put your broken bones together, adjust your dislocated joints, etc., without operation. What can chiropractors do??? Chiropractors are so greedy and aggressive, they want to grab anything works because chiropractic itself is a piece of joke.

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  10. #10 A Chinese in Texas
    April 20th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Who says chiropractors are qualified to practice acupuncture? Only chiropractors say so. What a joke!

    They must be stopped because they are ruining acupuncturists’ reputation. Before that happens. All Chinese doctors/Acupuncturists should make available on their web pages the difference between real acupuncturists and those so-called CERTIFIED chiropractors. People deserve to be told the truth – only licensed acupuncturists are QUALIFIED to perform acupuncture.

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  11. #11 JP
    May 12th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    This has probably been reported elsewhere, but I just noticed that as of 2013 or so, John Amaro’s IAMA is awarding the title “Dipl.Ac. (IAMA)” for a couple hundred hours of study. By contrast, the federally-accredited NCCAOM has for years used the title “Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM)”, commonly shortened to “Dipl.Ac.”, to indicate National Board Certification for licensed acupuncturists who have studied two or three thousand hours. Gee — no chance of any confusion there!

    http://www.iama.edu/Diplomate/Diplomate.htm

    (Classy website, isn’t it.)

    If you don’t have three or four years to train in acupuncture and TCM and get your Dipl. Ac. from the NCCAOM, don’t worry, because now you can get one from the IAMA by taking two of their 105-hour courses and writing 30 clinical case studies.

    The NCCAOM is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and is federally accredited to certify trained L.Ac.’s. The IAMA is “The International Academy of Medical Acupuncture Inc.”, which offers short courses in acupuncture to chiropractors and others, and conveniently offers its own certification as well.

    It’s one thing to engage in a political turf war over practice, and pay lip service to “medical acupuncture” vs. “traditional acupuncture”, and how awesome the former supposedly is with a fraction of the training. It’s another to outright mislead the public by using virtually the same title!

    I don’t know if this is illegal, but it’s plainly deceptive and unethical.

    If “medical acupuncture” is so awesome, why should its practitioners need a credential that mimics the one used by fully trained L.Ac.’s?

    How exactly is the public supposed to decide which group they like better when one group is disguising itself as the other?

    This is just ridiculous and unethical. It reminds me of Breaking Bad, where Walter White’s competitors dyed their inferior meth blue in order to imitate his product. It’s a pretty good analogy, actually: it’s a deceptive hustle, and comes from a position of weakness, not strength.

    Get the word out!

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