Acupuncture is a system of integrative medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles. It’s not as spooky as it sounds.
It’s actually an ancient Chinese tradition and practice that’s been around for almost 2,500 years.
Now, acupuncture is finally gaining mainstream recognition and being utilized within the western healthcare industry.
President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China opened the doors to the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States. In 1975, California was an early pioneer as one of the first states in the United States to regulate acupuncture.
Today, 47 of the 50 states have similar regulations and there are approximately 38,000 licensed acupuncturists in the country. This growth supported the development of organized and accredited acupuncture training institutions beginning in the late 1970s and 1980s. During this period, the practice of acupuncture demonstrated that this medicine is both safe and efficacious. The increased demand for acupuncture services has enabled licensed acupuncturists (California designation of L.A.c’s) to bill many health insurances, such as Medi-Cal and all Covered California Health Exchange plans.
Many people are turning to acupuncture to help alleviate physical and mental ailments such as back and neck pain, conditions associated with arthritis and strokes, and even depression and addiction.
In fact, a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, found that acupuncture can be a more effective method of pain relief than morphine. The study compared the two methods by treating one group with acupuncture for acute pain and another with morphine. Patients treated with acupuncture experienced a 92 percent reduction in pain compared to a 78 percent reduction in pain for those treated with morphine.
If you’re considering seeking treatment from an acupuncturist, make sure they are licensed in California. Consumers can verify a license and make sure it is in good standing by visiting the Acupuncture Board’s website at https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/, and using the Verify a License tool.
While the board licenses acupuncturists, it cannot refer you to a practitioner. You may wish to check with a trade association near you. A list of associations can be found on the board’s website here.
In addition to licensee information, the board’s website provides information and educational requirements for those interested in pursuing a career in acupuncture, what consumers can expect when visiting an acupuncturist, as well as what an acupuncturist is and isn’t allowed to do.
For more information about acupuncturists and the Acupuncture Board, log on to https://www.acupuncture.ca.gov/consumers/index.shtml.