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What is 'Medical Acupuncture'?

Medical Acupuncture is performed by a doctor. Usually by an M.D. or D.O., but in some states, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and even Dentists are allowed to perform it.

Unfortunately, Medical Acupuncture was specifically created so that these licensed professionals could add acupuncture to their list of skills without the lengthy training and clinical experience that is required of Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.).

Some of these Medical Acupuncture programs only require 100 hours of study. Would you want to be treated by a Medical Doctor with only 100 hours of training?

By comparison, a Licensed Acupuncturist typically receives over 3,000 hours of training. Obviously some of the 3,000 hours of training a L.Ac. receives would also be received by medical professionals (i.e. Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Chemistry and Medical Terminology).

I believe that several hundred hours of training is not sufficient to effectively practice acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. There is so much more to this system of medicine that simply sticking some needles in a patient based on a point prescription that was taught over a few months time. Each patient is different and complex and what works for one patient may not work for another. While a practitioner of Medical Acupuncture will certainly have success (mostly with pain management), ultimately a properly trained and licensed Acupuncturist will have the highest rate of success using this medicine.

There is one exception to this- If a medical professional attended a Classical Five Element school (like the one I attended) they would be perfectly suited to treat patients as it is a complete system of Acupuncture with over 1000 hours of training and hundreds of hours of required supervised clinic work.

Also, if your medical professional is also a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and has the required 3000+ hours of training then feel free to see them as they have taken the time, were properly trained and passed the required state licensing exams. In all cases, you should simply ask the doctor where they received their training and how many hours they received.

Lastly, if you have received Medical Acupuncture treatments and did not receive the benefits you were hoping for, please give a properly trained and licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) an opportunity to treat you and receive the complete potential Chinese Medicine has to offer.