The health benefits of acupuncture have led many people to opt for this traditional Oriental practice. Due to the high demand of acupuncture, many physicians also wanted to join in the bandwagon, hence, they took courses on acupuncture so as to allow them to tell you, “I do acupuncture.” But don’t be misled because these physicians turned acupuncturists, a.k.a. certified acupuncturists, only had 100-300 hours of training on acupuncture, whereas a licensed acupuncturist spends almost four years to study and master the art of acupuncture.
So between the two, it is quite clear why it is important for you to choose a licensed acupuncturist for your acupuncture needs. There are a lot more distinctions between licensed and certified acupuncturists and the difference will make you realize why seeing a licensed acupuncturist will be your best choice.
Training from an Accredited University
Many of these certified acupuncturists did not have the master’s level training at an accredited college of acupuncture. Instead, relying on their previous training as physicians, they learn acupuncture through home study and video-taped lectures. This just shows that the training undergone by licensed acupuncturist from an accredited college is extensive, rigorous, and thorough.
Actual Clinical Experience
Now this is the bombshell. Do you know that there are non-licensed acupuncturists who got their certifications even with minimal clinical experience in acupuncture? Worse, there are those who didn’t get the chance to do actual patient treatments prior to becoming certified acupuncturist! Quite scary, right? How then will they know that the points where they insert the needle are the right one?
Compare this minimal actual patient experience with that of a licensed acupuncturist and you will see the difference. Licensed acupuncturists are required by their schools to have firsthand acupuncture experience with at least 250 patient treatments over a span of 700+ clinical hours before they get their licenses. You can therefore be assured that when your acupuncturist starts inserting a needle, it is on the right point, effecting healing on the right organ.
National Regulatory Requirements
Licensed acupuncturists are required to complete and pass the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) board examinations as proof of their competence in acupuncture. Added to that, in order to maintain their national certification, they are required to do regular continuing education.
On the other hand, merely certified acupuncturists don’t need to do regular continuing education in order to maintain their certifications. This therefore does not give you any assurance that they are kept abreast of the latest methods and practices in acupuncture.
Knowing all these, it is now very clear as to why you should opt for a licensed acupuncturist. A mere certification does not guarantee that you will be getting the necessary health benefits that acupuncture brings.