Kimberly Halsey Acupuncture Physician
Acupuncture in the United States
In the United States, acupuncturists are generally referred to by the professional title "Licensed Acupuncturist", abbreviated "L.Ac.". The abbreviation "Dipl. Ac." stands for "Diplomate of Acupuncture" and signifies that the holder is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Professional degrees are usually at the level of a Master's degree and include "M.Ac." (Master's in Acupuncture), "M.S.Ac." (Master's of Science in Acupuncture), "M.S.O.M" (Master's of Science in Oriental Medicine), and "M.A.O.M." (Master's of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). "O.M.D." signifies Doctor of Oriental Medicine, and "C.M.D." signifies Doctor in Chinese Medicine (zhong Yi,??); these titles may be used by graduates of Chinese medical schools, or by American graduates of certain postgraduate programs. The O.M.D. and C.M.D. are not recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which accredits American educational programs in acupuncture. However, the O.M.D. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) and D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medine) degrees have been approved by some states. Each state regulates the practice of acupuncture within its territory. The ACAOM is currently beginning the process of accrediting the "Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" (DAOM) degree, and this new degree will represent the terminal degree in the field. The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and Bastyr University were the first two institutions in the United States to offer the DAOM, and it is estimated that within the next ten years the DAOM degree will replace all master's level training programs in the United States.
In the USA, acupuncture is practiced by a variety of healthcare providers. Practitioners who specialize in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are usually referred to as "licensed acupuncturists", or L.Ac.'s. Other healthcare providers such as physicians, dentists and chiropractors sometimes also practice acupuncture, though they may often receive less training than L.Ac.'s. L.Ac.'s generally receive from 2500 to 4000 hours of training in Chinese medical theory, acupuncture, and basic biosciences. Some also receive training in Chinese herbology and/or bodywork. The amount of training required for healthcare providers who are not L.Ac.'s varies from none to a few hundred hours, and in Hawaii the practice of acupuncture requires full training as a licensed acupuncturist. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tests practitioners to ensure they are knowledgeable about Chinese medicine and appropriate sterile technique. Many states require this test for licensing, but each state has its own laws and requirements. In some states, acupuncturists are required to work with an M.D. in a subservient relationship, even if the M.D. has no training in acupuncture.
Acupuncture is becoming accepted by the general public and by doctors. Over fifteen million Americans tried acupuncture in 1994. A poll of American doctors in 2005 showed that 60% believe acupuncture was at least somewhat effective, with the percentage increasing to 75% if acupuncture is considered as a complement to conventional treatment.
In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration changed the status of acupuncture needles from Class III to Class II medical devices, meaning that needles are regarded as safe and effective when used appropriately by licensed practitioners.