Scottsdale Acupuncture


The Importance of Receiving Acupuncture From A Licensed Acupuncturist

Posted Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by

acupuncture, licensed, scottdale, AZ

Over the past few months there have been a few patients who have come for treatment at Above & Beyond Acupuncture after receiving acupuncture from chiropractors, naturopaths, medical doctors and physical therapists. Since the general public doesn’t know the specifics around licensure and how extremely important it is to receive acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist, we wanted to take the time to share some helpful information concerning this issue.

As a prospective patient you should know who is performing the acupuncture, where they received their training, and if that individual is a licensed acupuncturist. If a professional claims that they are a licensed acupuncturist, the first few questions to ask are: which acupuncture school did they attend, what their Arizona acupuncture license number is and if they are certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). With the answers to these very specific questions you will be able to ascertain if the provider is a licensed acupuncturist or not; this should weigh into your decision about moving forward with them. The Arizona Acupuncture Board has a list of every practitioner in the state who has a valid license, please click here for a link:

There are many clear reasons why you should only receive acupuncture from licensed acupuncturists. A quick and helpful analogy that I like to use is that the dentist you visit has attended medical school and has some basic training on how to tend to a variety of medical issues. If you injured yourself, for instance perhaps you broke your finger, your dentist could provide some assistance but why would you receive treatment from someone who isn’t specifically trained on how to give you the particular treatment you need?

A licensed acupuncturist uses specific information obtained during an intake consultation and examination that allows them to create a treatment plan. Aside from asking a multitude of questions, they will also look at your tongue and check your pulse; these diagnostic tests provide more information on what type of treatment might be required. If you are about to receive an acupuncture treatment and your practitioner hasn’t looked at your tongue or checked your pulse, there is a high likelihood they are not properly licensed.

Other professions claim to be licensed to perform acupuncture, but please be aware that they are not licensed acupuncturists. There is a clear delineation, and it should be noted that there is a huge difference in the amount of training and hours that it takes to graduate from acupuncture school and pass national board examinations in contrast with what requirements are held for chiropractors, physical therapists and other professions who may be practicing outside of their scope.

Currently, chiropractors are only required to have 300 hours of training to perform acupuncture, and many have substantially less. Physical therapists have been performing “dry needling” which is the insertion of acupuncture needles into certain areas of the body. Please make no mistake about it: dry needling is acupuncture being performed by unlicensed acupuncturists. Many times these physical therapists only have as little as 10 hours of training, in comparison to the 1,850 hours of training it takes to become a licensed acupuncturist. It should also be noted that many other acupuncturists, such as myself, have as many as 3,500 hours of training that includes herbal studies and clinic internship.

This issue does not just pertain to the protection of the field of acupuncture. There is a public safety issue that needs to be addressed here, because practitioners who lack the necessary training and information can inadvertently injure patients who mistakenly believe they are receiving legitimate acupuncture.

With more physical therapists now performing “dry needling”, there has been a considerable rise in injuries from the use of acupuncture needles, most often pneumothorax (which is the puncturing of the lung that can lead to collapse). Recently I was provided with a picture from a patient of an acupuncture treatment that they received from a chiropractor. It was quite startling to see the work that was done; not one acupuncture needle was inserted into an actual acupuncture point. In fact, there were quite a few needles inserted too deeply and in areas that should not be needled.

Above & Beyond Acupuncture is a clinic that provides patients with treatments that are performed by licensed acupuncturists. We will continue to provide patients with the necessary information so they understand how important it is to receive acupuncture from practitioners who have received the necessary comprehensive training, graduated from acupuncture school and carry the appropriate license.