Leading Womens Website
Bungles Health Information
December 17, 2002
CONTACT: Brian Carter
Leading Women's Website Bungles Health Information
www.iVillage.com, a leading source for women's information online
recently reported that Medical Acupuncturists are "rigorously
trained in multiple styles of acupuncture." It went on to
say that "If you are already receiving treatment from a licensed
acupuncturist, think about partnering with a medical acupuncturist
to help ensure that you're receiving the most benefit from treatment".
These comments incorrectly suggest that Licensed Acupuncturists
are less competent and less safe than Medical Acupuncturists.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine (NCCAOM) requires Licensed Acupuncturists to undergo
"at least 1,725 hours of training" in acupuncture. In
California, the standard is even higher. A recently passed California
Bill (AB 1943) raised the educational requirements for acupuncturists
even higher - from 2,348 to 3,000 hours.
Licensed Acupuncturists receive a much more rigorous and diverse
acupuncture education. The average accredited acupuncture program
in the United States consists of 2,642 total hours. This includes
1,130 hours in acupuncture theory, 909 hours clinical practice,
and 492 hours in Western medical sciences. Nationally certified
acupuncturists must also complete 60 hours of continuing education
every four years to maintain their certification.
In contrast, the 300-hour acupuncture training programs for physicians,
chiropractors and dentists have no core curriculum, no minimum
educational standards, no examinations to ensure basic competency,
and no continuing education requirement. In many states, physicians
can practice acupuncture without any certification at all.
Acupuncture is based on a distinct medical system and body of
theories. Beyond the hours in biomedical sciences, the skills
necessary for the practice of medicine, chiropractry or dentistry
do not transfer to acupuncture practice. It is therefore questionable
if western physicians are capable of safely and effectively practicing
a medicine that acupuncture students spend three of their four
Masters-level years studying.
In regards to safety, acupuncture typically comprises at least
two-thirds of a Licensed Acupuncturist's practice, giving them
significantly more clinical experience than most physician-acupuncturists.
Data compiled by researchers in Japan and the United Kingdom,
and analyses of malpractice claims in the U.S. indicate that acupuncture
is safe 99.84% of the time. These studies accounted for a total
of 121,520 acupuncture treatments. In only 0.16% of treatments
did patients experience minor adverse events like dizziness or
slight bleeding. The remaining treatments were completely safe.
According to Jim Dowden, Executive Administrator of the American
Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA), "Most of our MD's
use acupuncture as an add-on modality; it comprises just 10-20%
of their practice." When asked about the iVillage inaccuracies,
he commented, "I wasn't aware of that information. It certainly
doesn't come from anything we've said."
Those who perform acupuncture without going through an extensive
training program reduce the effectiveness of treatments and create
a possible danger to the public. To not educate consumers about
the difference between a properly trained Licensed Acupuncturist
and an inadequately trained certified acupuncturist is irresponsible
and misleads consumers.
For more information on the qualifications of Licensed Acupuncturists,
please contact the National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Alliance at (253) 851-6896.
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