Choosing health care such as acupuncture can be a mysterious decision because of the varied professions that can practice acupuncture and the different styles to choose from. Making this choice can be ominous while others research and do their homework to determine a qualified practitioner that suits their needs.

Often a valued recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague is one way to choose any practitioner.  Another is to understand the statutory regulations or the laws of who can practice and the practitioner qualifications.  Acupuncture is a regulated profession and the laws vary in most of the states in America. Each state has its own laws that regulate all healthcare practices.

New Hampshire allows several professions to practice Acupuncture.  This can be very confusing to the general public.   Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), MD’s, Chiropractors and Naturopathic Doctors all can practice and offer acupuncture in their practice if they follow the state laws.  The clinical difference between all who practice Acupuncture is their experience, clinical training and state regulatory laws.

In the state of New Hampshire the following Acupuncture training requirements are as follows:

  1. Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) have 1905 hours of training according to the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
  2. Chiropractors may practice with 100 hours of acupuncture instruction according to the National Board of Chiropractic of Examiners.
  3. Medical Doctors provide Acupuncture through a training based on 300 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits or about 150-300 hours.
  4.  Naturopathic Doctors (ND) with need a specialty in Acupuncture and are required to have 400 hours of additional Acupuncture training.

NCCAOM states, “the acupuncturist’s skill at determining the appropriate points to treat is based upon his/her ability to accurately distinguish the presenting pattern, knowledge of correct points to address that pattern and knowledge of the proper type of stimulus for each point.  Possession of this knowledge and skills is the key distinction between a professional licensed acupuncturist and other health care providers who employ acupuncture only as a modality that stimulates the acupuncture points for their general effect without adjusting their choice of points to the specific patient’s needs.

Conventional practitioners support their patients by consulting a Licensed Acupuncturist.  Patients deserve to have a skilled, qualified and Licensed Acupuncturist.  So do your homework and make an educated choice.