An acupuncturist is a health professional who applies theories of traditional Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture. Acupuncture is a procedure in which thin needles are inserted into specific parts of the body.
Acupuncturists may have many different credentials, including L.Ac., Lic.Ac., C.A., Dipl.Ac., M.Ac., or AAMA. Some states require acupuncturists to be licensed by the board of medical examiners. Many require educational background in acupuncture science and Western science along with extensive clinical training. In some states, acupuncturists must also pass an exam given by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) before they are granted licensure. NCCAOM certification means that a person has met national standards for safe and competent practice in their field.
A physician acupuncturist is a doctor of medicine or podiatry or an osteopathic doctor who has fulfilled the physician requirements for licensure to practice acupuncture that have been set by the state's medical board. These doctors study acupuncture and incorporate it into their medical practice.
Current as of: September 8, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen M. Fairfield MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine