Acupuncture is a very confusing topic. This medicine is becoming increasingly popular and increasingly misunderstood. There are many reasons for this. The first step to understanding is to look at the confusing realities that surround acupuncture in the United States.
Acupuncture and the medical systems that determine its use, are based in trying to help the body function and heal rather than the biomedical approach of trying to “fix” the body.
Acupuncture is a medical technique. Just as surgery is based on the use of a scalpel, acupuncture is based on the use of an acupuncture needle.
Acupuncture also refers to the medicine that determines the proper use of the acupuncture technique. Just as a surgeon is a doctor who does surgery, an Acupuncturist is trained in acupuncture medical systems to be able to treat patients with acupuncture.
Acupuncture laws are state specific and determine the minimum qualifications of an acupuncturist (usually 4 years of clinical training and national board certification). Other allied health professionals are often allowed to use acupuncture techniques with little training and without national board certification.
This does not make sense.
Acupuncture is covered in some health insurance policies under only specific conditions. Often treatment has to be for pain and the acupuncture provider must be an under trained medical acupuncturist. Insurance often will not cover a fully trained nationally board certified acupuncturist for the same treatment.