How to choose an Acupuncturist

How to choose an Acupuncturist

How to choose an Acupuncturist

What is a licensed acupuncturist?

“A licensed acupuncturist has completed a three-year professional training program in acupuncture after a minimum of two years of college education. This three-year program includes both theory and hands-on clinical practice. In addition, a licensed acupuncturist must pass a State-approved licensing examination before becoming licensed.” says the office of professions but..

Don’t be fooled! It says 3 years of school forgetting to mention the word ACADEMIC years. What’s the difference? The difference is one whole year, because 1 academic year equals 16 months, and 16×3=48 which is the same as 12×4, and within these 4 years the licensed acupuncturist learns not only about needles, but all there is to know about the human body and how to treat it through over 2600 hours of in class training and earning a Master’s in Science of Acupuncture MSAc or Masters in Science of Traditional Oriental Medicine MSTOM.

What is a certified acupuncturist?

According to the office of professions “A certified acupuncturist is a licensed physician, chiropractor, physical therapist or dentist who has completed at least 200 hours of instruction in programs in acupuncture registered by the department, or in programs determined by the department to be the equivalent of registered programs, and at least 100 hours of supervised experience”


Certification means the participants went through a brief training course, in some cases a mere weekend as opposed to a licensed acupuncturist with over 4 years in training (that’s if you’re doing the curriculum full time every semester with passing all the yearend exams without skipping a beat or taking off for the summer). Ask yourself this question. Would you let a surgeon operate on you after taking a weekend crash course on how to perform the procedure? I hope not. Yet, majority of these certified practitioners lack the knowledge or the skills and they do it anyway. Don’t be one of their victims.

Ok, now you are wondering how is this even possible? Well it’s a loop hole in the system. By law if you are a medical doctor the state trusts you to do anything health related including acupuncture with the least amount of training. So when you hear any mishaps in the media such as a “Patient’s lung collapsed after acupuncture treatment” for example, because it has happened, you will most likely freak out and say “Note to self. Never get acupuncture!”, but if you dig a little deeper you will find that it was performed by someone incompetent and unlicensed which leads me to the next question.

What is dry needling?

Trouble.. that’s what! Dry needling is the insertion of needles into trigger points which are palpable knots under the skin (term used mostly in the licensed Massage Therapy world, which is a whole other profession) to relieve muscle pain and may be performed by certified physical therapists, chiropractor or a physician. It shouldn’t be, but it is. So my advice is stay far away from allowing anyone to perform pretend acupuncture on your body by anyone who is NOT LICENSED.

Can a Licensed Acupuncturist perform dry needling?

Yes. Dry needling simply refers to needles that will not deliver any form of serum into your body. It’s a solid needle not a syringe, therefore if you want to get literal about it, dry needling is a technique used by acupuncturists when inserting a needle in a knotted muscle which is not necessarily located on a designated acupuncture point. This technique is called needling an ASHI point, meaning a point that is OUCHI. We don’t use the term dry needling. That’s a term used by a non-licensed self-proclaimed acupuncturist who may have no idea where an actual acupuncture point is. So stay away from “dry needling” of any sort and from terms such as “chiropractic acupuncture”, “medical acupuncture” or “certified acupuncturist”. Your two key words back to back: LICENSED ACUPUNCTURIST or L.Ac. You may also ask your potential acupuncturist to see the License which in fact should be displayed in the office along with the up to date Registration issued by the STATE you are in. Licenses are issued separately in each state. If I have a License in NY I may not perform acupuncture in NJ or any other state. In addition, don’t forget a Licensed acupuncturist may or may not be Board Certified. (May or may not is because NY State does not require to be Board Certified to qualify for the Licensing exam. That is why the emphasis is on the License and Registration which needs to be up to date. The certification is not what you are looking for)

In conclusion, acupuncture is an Art. It is a science built and practiced for thousands of years, backed by thousands of years of powerful positive results. A qualified acupuncturist has spent countless hours learning the Chinese medicine theory, energy and organ systems, treatment protocols, safety procedures, memorizing a seemingly endless number of points on numerous meridians that run on along the surface or deep inside the human body, on top of acquiring thorough knowledge of ALL western pathologies, so when you come to me and say for instance: “I was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease”, I will know exactly what that is, and all of its manifestations, possible western medical treatments/medications before you even tell me more, and then I instantly translate it in my head into how to treat it with Chinese Medicine and just as instant I know exactly what to do. Sometimes I know what to do before you even finish your sentence. That’s what we do for the four years in Chinese Medical College. I got to tell you. It’s fascinating.

Beware! Don’t fall for the fraud. Experience the power of acupuncture, healing and gain relief by unlocking the flow of your own energy and restore natural balance, health and rhythm with the help of an expert. Please Share!