Choosing an Acupuncturist

Choosing a Chinese Medical acupuncturist with the appropriate training is essential on the path to achieving the right results in the health care that you are seeking.

What is the difference between a licensed Acupuncturist a Doctor and or a Chiropractor who does acupuncture?

Licensed acupuncturists have completed a minimum of 4 years of full time academic and clinical study dedicated to learning acupuncture and Chinese medicine with over 3,000 hours of professional and clinical training. Earning a Master’s or Doctorate in Oriental Medicine.

Most Acupuncture schools require between 3,000-3,500 hours of academic and clinical training before graduation.

Licensed acupuncturists should be certified by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) certified Diplomates in either Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine (includes certifications in both Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine). To become a certified Diplomate in Acupuncture & or Oriental medicine, candidates must sit for 5 National Board Examinations and must pass all 5 of the National Board Examinations which cover:

  1. Chinese medical theory and diagnosis
  2. Acupuncture point location
  3. Acupuncture theory and skills
  4. Chinese herbal therapy (Chinese herbal formulas and single herbs)
  5. Western biomedicine (Western diagnosis and disease differentiation, Western pathology, western pharmacology, and anatomy and physiology). A minimum of 3,000 hours of Chinese medical education and supervised clinical training, plus graduation or pending graduation from an Accredited acupuncture school is needed to sit for these National Board examinations.

The Delaware Medical Board regulates acupuncture in the state of Delaware. Only those who pass the NCCAOM Exams are awarded the title of “Licensed Acupuncturist” (L.Ac.) by the state of Delaware.

There are different standards for OTHER PRACTITIONERS doing acupuncture. Western Medical Doctors, and chiropractors who advertise practicing acupuncture, in most cases, learn the basics of acupuncture with elective courses, with only a few hundred hours of academic and clinic training only, and become so called “Medical Acupuncturists”.

Physical therapists are now doing what they call “Dry Needling” which is about 27 hours of training over a weekend and sticking patients with needles come Monday. The needles are the same used by licensed acupuncturists, but instead of calling it acupuncture, they are calling it dry needling . Dry needling has been around in Delaware since 2014,

We always recommend using a licensed acupuncturist who has been properly trained and has earned the proper degree and who is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for best results.