Acupuncture is the main therapy I use on patients.
But it's only one of Chinese medicine's therapies.
The others include a sophisticated system of herbal
medicine, an acupressure-like massage style called tui
na (twee nah), qi gong (exercises to increase vitality),
and tai chi (a series of movements that conditions the body
and calms the mind). Not to mention the whole preventive/balancing
system of food cures, life habits, emotions, and exercise
we can advise you about.
So would you call me an acupuncture specialist?
I don't know...I like practicing acupuncture. It works. It makes
people feel better. It helps when other medical interventions
can't. And sometimes it keeps people from needing surgery.
And yes it can cure things. You wouldn't believe how much
bunk there is on the internet about acupuncture. On my web site,
and in my book, you'll find the credible
research reviewed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health,
and more recently and comprehensively, the World Health Organization.
I like acupuncture better than herbs - not because herbs
aren't amazing - they've healed my migraines, and I've seen them
treat lupus, acid reflux, and all kinds of other things. But they
take lots more time, they're lots more complex, and I'm a busy
writing speaking kind of guy. So call me an acupuncture specialist.
I won't mind.
In China, doctors of the traditional bent (in addition
to receiving conventional Western medical training) focus on either
herbs or acupuncture.
It's not quite that way here. In California, we get a
4 year long Masters degree, and our licensing exam is only 17%
acupuncture; the rest is herbs, laws, diagnosis, theory, etc.
On the national level, most states require the national
acupuncture licensing exam. And some students go to schools that
only teach acupuncture.
So some of us traditional Chinese medicine people are acupuncture
But then you have the medical acupuncturists.
This is the name given (for whatever reason) to people without
traditional acupuncture training who practice acupuncture. Which
is strange, because usually the word medical is a good thing.
But here, it means: someone who learned a healing therapy outside
of the institutions that specialize in teaching it. This includes
NDs, DCs, DOs, and MDs - the NDs and DCs may learn in a school,
may be real LAc's (licensed acupuncturists), but DOs and MDs tend
to take very short courses (live weekend sessions or watch videos
at home) that don't compare to our years of training at all.
MD physicians who practice acupuncture might call themselves
acupuncture specialists because most MDs have a specialty (like
pediatrics, geriatrics, sports medicine, etc.). But many MDs will
tell you that it's not a true medical specialty - medical
specialties have specific academic requirements and separate internships
Medical acupuncturists, on the other hand, are not held to any
academic or licensing standards. They're allowed to do acupuncture
because supposedly they're so good at medicine in general, that
they can even practice a foreign culture's totally different medical
system that's still being translated into English. This attribution
of a general purpose expertise is a leftover from the old days
when a country doctor had to be able to do everything. It should
That'd be like me the acupuncturist being allowed to prescribe
pharmaceutical drugs just because I'm such a hip holistic healer.
But, one day their educational standards will be set in stone
and in law and they may become true acupuncture specialists.
Til then, I'd trust the smartest traditional acupuncurists you