Wednesday, December 10, 2008
If you need acupuncture, why choose an Acupuncturist instead of an MD or a Chiropractor?
Why choose a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (OMD), Acupuncture Physician (A.P) or a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) over an MD or Chiropractor? Simple. Training and experience.
If you break a leg, yes, certainly and immediately go to see an MD. Western medicine is tops in acute care, trauma and emergencies. We would recommend then seeing an OMD to speed the healing, but no one would suggest seeing an acupuncturist first. Why? MDs are the best for trauma due to their training and practice. They are a good choice for many things for that very same reason and often, MDs and OMDs work together for a patient’s overall health.
But, does an MD have any training in Oriental Medicine or acupuncture? Many do have a small amount of training but most have none. Yet, the law allows them to practice acupuncture regardless of this. The American Medical Association has been around a long time and a lobbyist is a great thing to have on your side.
How about a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)? If your spine is out of alignment, certainly. And a good chiropractor can adjust much more than your spine. It works well with Oriental Medicine too. If your nervous system is working well and your muscles are not too tight, then they will not pull your spine back out of alignment. That is why Acupuncture and Massage work well with Chiropractic.
But what training does a Chiropractor who ‘does’ acupuncture have? 100 hours is the requirement. That is the minimum. Some DCs have more training but most who practice stick with the minimum.
And both MDs and DCs use the Western medical model for acupuncture. In other words, your OMD or Acupuncture Physician would treat you according to your individual set of signs and symptoms as well as history and constitution. Two people with a headache in the same place would very likely get two very different treatments depending on diagnosis and history. Eastern Medicine treats cause according to a patient’s constitution. But an MD or a DC looks in a book and say, “Headache: do these points.” Everyone with a headache in the same place gets the same points done. The same with knee pain or whathaveyou.
MDs and DCs prescribe acupuncture just like most MDs prescribe drugs: by symptoms and not by cause. Then many people who have had acupuncture by an MD or DC complain that it just does not work. Why? They were not really treated with acupuncture the way it was designed to be used.
Imagine if an Acupuncture Physician could take a 100 hour class in chiropractic to adjust your back? Would you trust that? I know I wouldn’t. I’d see a person trained, specifically, in chiropractic. Would you trust an Acupuncture Physician who took a 100 or even 300 hour class to do surgery on you? I think that would be crazy. I want a skilled, trained and practiced surgeon. You should want, and insist on, a skilled, trained and practiced professional for Acupuncture and Oriental medicine as well.
The right person, with the right training, for the job.
Below are the Florida State minimum requirements for an Acupuncture Physician.
Formal Education Requirements:
Four year course of study in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, which includes western anatomy, western physiology, western pathology, western biomedical terminology, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
1,155 hours of traditional Oriental acupuncture diagnosis and treatment (including 705 hours of Oriental medical theory, diagnosis and treatment in acupuncture and related studies and 450 hours of herbal studies).
330 hours of biomedical clinical science (including 90 hours of pathology, 120 hours of anatomy and physiology, and 120 hours of western biomedical and diagnostic terminology).
30 hours of required adjunctive therapies.
200 hours electives of adjunctive therapies.
660 hours of supervised clinical experience.
15 hours of universal precautions; 3 hours of HIV/AIDS, and 20 hours in Florida statutes and rules.
Undergraduate Requirements: 60 college credits.
Exam: NCCAOM written and practical exam in acupuncture.
There are no requirements for medical doctors or osteopaths to practice acupuncture. Chiropractors may practice acupuncture with 100 hours training.
For more reasons to choose Oriental Medicine from a Qualified Practitioner, visit: