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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

For MEMBERS

How Do I Become an NCSAAM Member or Renew My Membership?

Select the Join/Renew menu on the far right corner above.  Review the membership levels and purchase the one that fits your category.  If you would like assistance, please email

What are the Benefits of Membership?

 

  • 5% discount off every order at Golden Needle – This benefit alone gave an average savings of $365 per year on Golden Needle clinic supply orders (based on data from 2021) to NCSAAM members who ordered from Golden Needle!
  • 10% discount off CM&F Liability Insurance, which provides competitive rate coverage for licensed acupuncturists
  • Automatic membership to the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA), which provides additional benefits and discounts on CEU/PDA opportunities provided in all ASA states.
  • Find an Acupuncturist service on our website that advertises your practice, along with your specialties
  • 50% off classified ads, vendor tables, and marketing
  • High quality CEU events

Interested in getting more information before you consider joining NCSAAM, or curious about other membership options? Contact . Otherwise, join today and then check out the Members Only page for the specific details of these great membership benefits – now available to you!

Can I Make Quarterly Payments?

Yes, this option can be selected when opting for a professional annual membership. Payments are set up to be automatic.

How Do I Become More Involved in NCSAAM?

NCSAAM board and committee positions are held by volunteers who care about promoting and protecting the acupuncture profession. We need your involvement to take our profession to the next level. Get involved by emailing

Do Members Get Discounts for Classified Ads, Event Vendor Tables, or Marketing?

SPONSORS, VENDORS, Ads, & Marketing

What are the Different Options for Sponsorship?

Sponsors of NCSAAM can choose to be either Sustainer, Leader or Friend level, and each sponsorship level includes a variety of amazing benefits, listed below and on our Sponsorship Page.

Sustainer Level: $4000 per Year

  • your logo and recognition on our website with a link to your business page
  • your logo and link on top banner of our newsletters, which go to all members
  • your large logo on top of all our website event and registration pages
  • recognition at Spring, Fall, and other CEU events on printed and electronic materials
  • exclusive exhibit booths and spaces at Spring and Fall CEU events
  • opportunity to provide items for gift bags at Spring conference and Fall event
  • opportunity to provide items for silent auction and door prizes at all events
  • premium logo space on our Spring conference t-shirt
  • your logo with direct link to your website and desired promotions on event virtual exhibition page

Leader Level: $3000 per year

  • your logo our website
  • your logo on bottom of our newsletters, which go to all members
  • your medium logo on our website event and registration pages
  • recognition at Spring, Fall, and other CEU events on printed and electronic materials
  • premium exhibit booths at Spring and Fall CEU events
  • opportunity to provide items for gift bags at Spring Symposium & Fall event
  • opportunity to provide items for silent auction / door prizes at all events
  • large logo space on our Spring conference shirt
  • your logo with direct link to your website and desired promotions on event virtual exhibition page

Friend Level: $2000 per year

  • your logo our website
  • your logo on bottom of our newsletters, which go to all members
  • your small logo on bottom of our website event and registration pages
  • recognition at our Spring and Fall CEU events on printed and electronic materials
  • basic exhibit booth at Spring and Fall CEU events
  • opportunity to provide items for gift bags at Spring Symposium & Fall event
  • opportunity to provide items for silent auction / door prizes at all events
  • medium logo space on our Spring conference shirt
  • your logo with direct link to your website and desired promotions on event virtual exhibition page

Ready to be a sponsor? Sign up here.

What are the Options for Being a Vendor at an NCSAAM Event?

Our partnered sponsors receive included benefits of being a vendor at our Spring and Fall Events. You can also choose to be a sponsor at our Spring and/or Fall Event by choosing an a la carte sponsorship option:

Spring Event

  • Logo on Spring event t-shirt   $200
  • Basic exhibit booth at Spring event   $300
  • Premium exhibit booth at Spring event   $400
  • Logo with direct link to your website on Spring event virtual exhibition page   $200

Fall Event

  • Basic exhibit booth at Fall event   $100
  • Premium exhibit booth at Spring event   $400
  • Logo with direct link to your website on Fall event virtual exhibition page   $100

For more details and to purchase your vendor spot, go to our Sponsorship Page.

What are the Options for Classified Ads and Marketing?

We have a range of options for your advertising needs!  We can help you market a class, a job, an event, or products.  We reach more than 600 NC L.Acs and more across the country!  We offer affordable options and deep discounts for members, sponsors, and vendors.

Advertisement Options:

  • Classified Ad
  • Social Media Post on Instagram and Facebook
  • Website Ad
  • Newsletter Ad
  • E-blast Ad

See all the details, prices, and sign up on our Advertisement Page.

How Can I Get Help with Classified Ads and Marketing?

We have options for a range of advertising needs!  We can help you market a class, a job, an event, or products.  We reach more than 600 NC L.Acs and more across the country!  We offer affordable options and deep discounts for members, sponsors, and vendors.

NOTE: If your class is approved for CEUs by NCALB the NCCAOM, please verify this via email along with your information.

Contact to get help with your project and get your questions answered.

For Patients

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic treatment which incorporates the use of acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion, physical therapies, dietary and lifestyle guidance to restore balance to the body.  It is not uncommon to incorporate acupuncture in conjunction with other forms of care. This may help to speed healing and rehabilitation after a health crisis, pain syndrome, or emotional trauma.

Acupuncture is a safe, effective and relaxing treatment for a variety of health conditions. The number of treatments you will need depends on your condition and treatment plan. While working to decrease your symptoms, acupuncture also frequently produces a feeling of well-being and deep relaxation.

How Do I Find a Legitimate Acupuncturist?

You can find a Licensed Acupuncturist near you by using our Find an Acupuncturist tool on our website. You can also search the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board website.

The title, acupuncturist, is now being used by a variety of providers who do not meet the same standards required of a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac). In the United States, the standard for becoming a Licensed Acupuncturist is arduous, expensive, and time consuming. This is similar to most vocational medical practice licensure paths.

While the minimum degree is a Master of Science, the number of hours is close to the number required for Doctorate degrees. In fact, most accredited acupuncture colleges and universities, in the United States, are transitioning to Doctorate degrees.

After over 2,000 hours of formal medical training that includes foundational knowledge, acupuncture frameworks, and Western science, students complete two years of supervised clinical training. These rigorous standards are required for one to take the California state or national acupuncture board exam.

Omitting those standards, in the United States, there are physicians, nurses, physical therapists, chiropractors, dentists, and occupational therapists adding acupuncture to their scope of practice. Although their practice is limited to the insertion of solid needles within a few limited frameworks, many of these providers also use the title, acupuncturist, despite having little or no training and not passing board exams recognized by healthcare regulating bodies. This is confusing to the public, especially patients and policy makers. To help differentiate, these practitioners are referred to as secondary acupuncturists.

Acupuncture medicine defines the scope of primary Licensed Acupuncturists, which includes related modalities (tui na massage, moxibustion, gua sha, cupping, and often herbal medicine) as taught in accredited Chinese medical Master of Science and Doctorate degree programs. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is recognized by the United States Department of Education. These degree programs are required to sit for California or national board exams recognized by healthcare regulating bodies. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) provides national board certification for [Licensed] Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine practitioners. Each state has its own process and requirements for granting a license to practice acupuncture to Licensed Acupuncturists.

What is Dry Needling?

“Dry needling” has created a great deal of confusion in recent years, both among patients and healthcare providers. It is one of many names d that refer to a form of acupuncture utilized by Western medicine clinicians. The term was coined by Janet Travell, MD, and came into prominence during the early 1980s when discussed in her seminal text Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. 30 It was used to distinguish from the implied “wet needling,” which is the injection of a fluid with a hypodermic needle. While a “dry needle” initially referred to an empty syringe, it has evolved to include monofilament/filiform 31 needles routinely used by acupuncturists. The latter of which is utilized in the modern application of “dry needling.” Acupuncture, by default, encompasses “dry needling,” and any suggested distinction, in actuality, exists largely in name.

The current interpretation of “dry needling” largely refers to an aggressive form of acupuncture entailing a piston-like motion of deep needling into tender areas in muscles known as trigger points. Many “dry needling” adherents, whether due to being genuinely misinformed or otherwise, suggest that it never occurred to ancient Chinese physicians to manipulate a needle in a piston-like motion or treat trigger points, utilizing the equivalent language of their time. In an attempt to distinguish it from “dry needling,” they unfortunately misrepresent acupuncture as being relegated to superficial or “energetic” needling based on a mystical paradigm. Neither the needling method, nor the concept of trigger points, is new or innovative. This is recognized by numerous clinicians and researchers, acknowledging the historical precedent set by acupuncture. 32-38 For instance, “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic of Medicine” (Huang Di Nei Jing), dating back to between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century CE (Han Dynasty), describes this. The technique, hegu ci, is still used to treat musculoskeletal conditions. It is characterized by deep needling into muscles accompanied by partial retraction and reinsertion at varying angles, which is currently described as “fanning” or “coning.” 39 With regards to trigger points, in his 7th century CE work, “Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold” (Qian Jing Yao Fang), the famous physician, Sun Simiao, described ashi points. Ashi, which translates to “Ah, yes!” or “That’s it!” refers to points that are tender or painful upon local pressure and can produce radiating pain – hallmarks of trigger points. 40

These are just a couple of innumerable examples demonstrating acupuncture’s historicity and development over the course of more than 2000 years. Numerous styles and techniques of needling factor in several variables: depth, angle, intensity, frequency, proximity to the diseased/injured area, etc. 39 Acupuncturists are trained in both traditional and biomedical paradigms, evidenced by their educational requirements. In addition, numerous continuing education courses and certificate programs in orthopedic/sports medicine/trigger point acupuncture have been well established prior the recent emergence of “dry needling.” 41-42

For further information on this subject, please read Andy McIntyre’s article “Dry Needling is Acupuncture; but Acupuncture is not Dry Needling.”

30. Choi T-Y, Lee MS, Kim JI, Zaslawski C. Moxibustion for the treatment of osteoarthritis: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Maturitas. 2017;100:33-48. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.03.314.
31. Deng H, Shen X. The Mechanism of Moxibustion: Ancient Theory and Modern Research. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:1-7. doi:10.1155/2013/379291
32. Li T, Li Y, Lin Y, Li K. Significant and sustaining elevation of blood oxygen induced by Chinese cupping therapy as assessed by near-infrared spectroscopy. Biomedical Optics Express. 2016;8(1):223. doi:10.1364/boe.8.000223.
33. Chi L-M, Lin L-M, Chen C-L, Wang S-F, Lai H-L, Peng T-C. The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;2016:1-7. doi:10.1155/2016/7358918.
34. 25. Nielsen A. Gua Sha: A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice. London: Elsevier Health Sciences UK; 2014.
35. Nielsen A, Kligler B, Koll BS. Safety protocols for Gua sha (press-stroking) and Baguan (cupping). Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2012;20(5):340-344. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2012.05.004.
36. 27. Braun M, Schwickert M, Nielsen A, Brunnhuber S, Dobos G, Musial F, Lüdtke R, Michalsen A. Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese “Gua Sha” Therapy in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine. 2011;12(3):362-369. doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01053.x.
37. Ilić D, Djurović, A, Brdareski, Z, Vukomanovic, A, Pejović, V, Grajic, M. The position of Chinese Massage (Tuina) in Clinical Medicine. Vojnosanitetski Pregled: Military-medical and Pharmaceutical Review. 2012;(69):999-1004. 10.2298/VSP110104013I.
38. Jiang S, Yang G-hu, Robidoux S. Clinical Research & Application of Acupuncture & Tuina. Beijing: Peoples Medical Publishing House; 2008.
39. 30. Travell JG, Simons LS. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Williams & Wilkins; 1999.
40. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=880.5580. Accessed January 19, 2019.
41. Melzack R, Stillwell DM, Fox EJ. Trigger points and acupuncture points for pain: Correlations and implications. Pain. 1977;3(1):3-23. doi:10.1016/0304-3959(77)90032-x.
42. Dommerholt, J. The Dry Needling Issue. Qi-Unity Report : AAAOM Monthly Publication. 2008;7.

What is an Acupuncture Treatment?

Your acupuncture treatment is based on a medical diagnosis and a treatment plan developed during your initial clinical consultation. The assessment is based on medical history, presentation and onset of symptoms, as well as pulse and tongue diagnostics. After a diagnosis is made, the most appropriate and effective treatment plan will be chosen based on the diagnosis of a pattern or set of patterns. For example, five people might see an acupuncture practitioner all complaining of migraine headaches, however, each patient may be diagnosed with a completely different Chinese medical pattern. This pattern will be based on their main complaint and unique symptomatology.

Once the Chinese medical diagnosis is established, the licenses practitioner will choose the appropriate acupuncture points for the patient and perform acupuncture needling and potentially other modalities to help the patient achieve their health goals.

 

What does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture enjoys a high level of evidence for a variety of conditions. 13 Research into acupuncture as a medical treatment has grown exponentially in the past 20 years, increasing at twice the rate of research over other methods of care in biomedicine. 14

Over this period, there have been over 13,000 studies conducted in 60 countries, including hundreds of meta-analyses summarizing the results of thousands of human and animal studies. Acupuncture is recognized by medical experts as a viable intervention for a spectrum of conditions and is one of the most widely recommended treatments in the current landscape of medicine. 15

13. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: a comparative literature review (Revised edition). https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf. Accessed January 18, 2019.
14. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: a comparative literature review (Revised edition). https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf. Accessed January 18, 2019.
15. Ma Y, Dong M, Zhou K, Mita C, Liu J, Wayne PM. Publication Trends in Acupuncture Research: A 20-Year Bibliometric Analysis Based on PubMed. Plos One. 2016;11(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168123.

 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is a recognized form of therapy that has its origins in ancient Chinese medicine. Current application of acupuncture clinically is performed using both historic understandings of its mechanisms and indications, and from modern, biomedical perspectives. From the biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture has been shown to have numerous mechanisms of action. Research into further mechanisms is on-going, but the neural pathways from the periphery, through the spinal cord, and to pain perception centers have been mapped and are thought to play a foundational role in acupuncture’s pain modulating effects. 16 Acupuncture is also well known to cause the release of numerous chemical mediators of pain such as endogenous opioids, ATP and adenosine, GABA, and substance P, and to affect the brain’s sensitivity to opioids. 17-18

When viewed from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) paradigm, acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into acupoints to manipulate the functions of the body. It has been observed over the millennia that certain points on the body have identified functions, and different combinations of points can affect the body in specific ways. Classical Chinese medicine is based in the observation of nature, and how humans interact with and are affected by natural forces. 19 The early Chinese scholars studied how the body moved and functioned under numerous sets of conditions. They learned to apply acupuncture to help the body return to balance when, through natural influences or problematic dietary or lifestyle choices, individuals developed “disharmonies” or illnesses. Practitioners trained to apply acupuncture from the classical perspective utilize this ancient knowledge in the modern setting. They identify patterns of imbalance and are trained in the application of acupuncture as one tool in restoring health and harmony.

It is important to recognize that the system of medicine in which acupuncture developed is highly structured and complex. It is also elegant, and its genius is often missed in mainstream criticisms; those criticisms generally put forth by individuals who have not taken the time to study the profound body of material that has evolved over time. Chinese medicine looks at the body from the viewpoint of physiologic systems rather than individual parts, and so its treatments aim to balance complex sets of functions and restore health at the root of illness,

rather than by fixing a single, broken piece. Licensed Acupuncturists are trained in this way of organizing human physiology, and have learned full treatment plans for restoring health.

16. Birch S, Lee MS, Alraek T, Kim T-H. Overview of Treatment Guidelines and Clinical Practical Guidelines That Recommend the Use of Acupuncture: A Bibliometric Analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24(8):752-769. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0092.
17. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: a comparative literature review (Revised edition). https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf. Accessed January 18, 2019.
18. Ma Y, Dong M, Zhou K, Mita C, Liu J, Wayne PM. Publication Trends in Acupuncture Research: A 20-Year Bibliometric Analysis Based on PubMed. Plos One. 2016;11(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168123
19. Birch S, Lee MS, Alraek T, Kim T-H. Overview of Treatment Guidelines and Clinical Practical Guidelines That Recommend the Use of Acupuncture: A Bibliometric Analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24(8):752-769. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0092.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Traditional Herbal Medicine utilizes ingredients from the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms to treat many different health conditions. All ingredients are collectively referred to as “herbs”.   Each herb offers a variety of chemical constituents that have specific biological functions. Different parts of the plant (i.e. roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, seed and bark) can often perform different functions. When multiple ingredients are combined to make a formula, the sum of the chemical constituents is often more powerful and efficacious than the individual parts. 20

20.  McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: a comparative literature review (Revised edition). https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf. Accessed January 18, 2019.

How Does Herbal Medicine Work?

When we ingest herbal medicines, the same way as food, we breakdown the herb and assimilate the chemistry in the herb. But instead of assimilating the nutrients, we assimilate the medicinal chemicals.

In some ways, herbs work similarly to many pharmaceutical preparations. In fact, some pharmaceutical medicines are based upon extractions from plants. For example, the malaria medicine quinine is extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, and the pain medicine morphine is produced from the opium poppy.

However, herbal medicine differs from pharmaceuticals because it uses the complete form of the herb to ensure the balance of constituents within it, instead of just using a specific extraction or single chemical from the plant.

What Does Herbal Medicine Treat?

Traditional herbal medicine formulas address the root cause of a health condition, not just a symptom. They treat the body as a holistic system and facilitate the body’s own healing mechanisms. As such, they can be used to treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Cold and Flu
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Pain
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Skin Issues
  • Sports Related Injuries

Side Effects of Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine typically does not incur the unwanted side effects that are often seen in conventional pharmaceutical treatments. However, herbal medicine can be very potent and, if used incorrectly, can rarely cause serious adverse effects. Additionally, some herbs can affect how your body responds to prescription and over-the-counter medicines, either decreasing or increasing the effects of these medicines. In this way, it is very important to let your herbalist know what other drugs and supplements you are taking so they can advise or modify your formula to best avoid complications. Properly trained and certified herbalists are able to adapt herbal use to be safest for each patient.

Herbal Medicine Formulas

Herbal medicines formulas are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts, syrups, poultices, lotions, compresses, and fresh or dried plants. The form of your herbal medicine will depend upon your practitioner’s preferences, medical condition and sometimes, patient preferences.

Herbalists are trained to dispense remedies for specific conditions and symptoms and to determine how much should be taken and for how long. Herbs can be selected to address each person’s unique constitution and sensitivities in addition to their disease or symptoms.  For this reason, many herbalists, especially those that utilize raw herbs, will meet with their patients every few weeks to adjust the formula ingredients to meet the changing needs of their patients, as they heal, or to address different symptoms if they appear.  This makes herbal medicine extremely flexible and customizable during every step of the treatment time process.

What is Moxibustion, Cupping, Gua Sha, & Tui Na?

In addition to acupuncture, licensed acupuncturists also use moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, and/or tuina. These adjunctive therapies have been used for over 2000 years. They can be used alongside an acupuncture treatment or alone.

Moxibustion

Moxibustion involves heat therapy using the mugwort plant (Artemisia vulgaris or Artemisia argyi), also known as “moxa,” to stimulate acupoints. Moxibustion is used for treating many conditions. In a quantitative study of 50 years of bibliometric material, up to 364 types of diseases have been shown to be treated with moxibustion. Moxa is used for digestive, urinary, gynecological/obstetric and orthopedic issues.  It has been shown to aid in pain reduction.  Moxibustion can be done in a variety of methods – each with different thermal effects. When moxa is lit, it emits visible and infrared electromagnetic waves. This energy is absorbed by the body to promote blood circulation. 21-22

Cupping

Cupping therapy involves the use of a cup or a jar. The World Health Organization (Code 5.3.2) defines the cupping method as a “therapeutic method involving the application of suction by placing a vacuumed cup or jar onto the affected or any part of the body surface.”  Cupping is used for many conditions from musculoskeletal pain to cardiovascular issues to early colds and flus. 23-24

Gua Sha

Gua sha is an instrument assisted manual therapy whereby the body surface is compressed with a smooth-edged tool. 25 This therapeutic process intentionally creates petechiae (tiny red or purple dots on the skin) and increases blood flow into the fascia. The “sha” or redness that is created can last up from one day to one week. 26 This technique increases blood flow to local tissues, helps the body activate a local healing response, and assists in the removal of toxins from the tissue (such as by-products of metabolism in areas with myofascial dysfunction).  Gua sha has also been shown to reduce internal organ inflammation by upregulating heme-oxygenase-1. It has been shown to produce a four-fold increase in the surface tissue microcirculation, reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system. Gua sha is used for many conditions ranging from asthma to musculoskeletal pain and spasms. 27

Tuina

Tuina is a school of Chinese manual bodywork therapy. Literally translated as “push” and “grasp,” it is used to promote blood flow, improve function, and enhance resistance to disease. Tuina involves different manipulation techniques for different conditions. 28 Similar to the other therapies described, tuina can be used to treat many types of conditions ranging from musculoskeletal pain to digestive disorders. 29 The use of herbal liniments and oils may be used by the practitioner, depending on the condition presented.

 

21. Ma Y, Dong M, Zhou K, Mita C, Liu J, Wayne PM. Publication Trends in Acupuncture Research: A 20-Year Bibliometric Analysis Based on PubMed. Plos One. 2016;11(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168123.
22. Birch S, Lee MS, Alraek T, Kim T-H. Overview of Treatment Guidelines and Clinical Practical Guidelines That Recommend the Use of Acupuncture: A Bibliometric Analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24(8):752-769. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0092.
23. Ma Y, Dong M, Zhou K, Mita C, Liu J, Wayne PM. Publication Trends in Acupuncture Research: A 20-Year Bibliometric Analysis Based on PubMed. Plos One. 2016;11(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168123.
24. Birch S, Lee MS, Alraek T, Kim T-H. Overview of Treatment Guidelines and Clinical Practical Guidelines That Recommend the Use of Acupuncture: A Bibliometric Analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24(8):752-769. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0092
25.Zhang Z-J, Wang X-M, Mcalonan GM. Neural Acupuncture Unit: A New Concept for Interpreting Effects and Mechanisms of Acupuncture. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;2012:1-23. doi:10.1155/2012/429412.
26. Zhao Z-Q. Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia. Progress in Neurobiology. 2008;85(4):355-375. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2008.05.004.
27. Harris RE, Zubieta J-K, Scott DJ, Napadow V, Gracely RH, Clauw DJ. Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on μ-opioid receptors (MORs). NeuroImage. 2009;47(3):1077-1085. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.083.
28. Unschuld PU. Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text: with an Appendix, the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2003.
29. What is Herbal Medicine? The National Institute of Medical Herbalists. https://www.nimh.org.uk/whats-herbal-medicine. Accessed January 18, 2019.

FOR ACUPUNCTURISTS

What is the ASA?

The American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) is your primary national level professional association.  It coordinates activities at the national level, including working with a lobbyist in Washington D.C. to represent the profession, holding national conventions, and offering national level opportunities for student and licensed practitioner involvement.  http://www.asacu.org/.

What is CCAOM?

The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) is a 501(c)(6) voluntary membership association for acupuncture schools and programs in the U.S. Established in 1982, the Council’s primary mission is to advance AOM by promoting educational excellence in the field. Currently the Council consists of 53 acupuncture schools. As a requirement of membership, all of the Council’s member schools have obtained either full accreditation or accreditation candidacy status with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), the national organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit AOM schools and programs in the U.S.  The Council administers a national needle safety course known as the Clean Needle Technique Course.  http://www.ccaom.org/  

Recommended reading:  http://www.ccaom.org/downloads/PaperOfLixinHuang.pdf

What is ACAOM?

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit Master’s-level programs in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.  As an independent body, ACAOM accredits first professional Master’s degree and professional Master’s level certificate and diploma programs in acupuncture and first professional Master’s degree and professional Master’s level certificate and diploma programs in Oriental medicine with a concentration in both acupuncture and herbal therapies. The Commission fosters excellence in acupuncture and Oriental medicine education by establishing policies and standards that govern the accreditation process for acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs.  Currently, ACAOM has over 60 schools and colleges with accredited or candidacy status with the Commission.   http://www.acaom.org

Recommended reading:  http://www.ccaom.org/downloads/PaperOfLixinHuang.pdf

What is NCCAOM?

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), was established in 1982 as a non-profit organization currently operating under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. The mission of the NCCAOM is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public. There are currently over 14,000 active Diplomates practicing under NCCAOM certifications in Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Chinese Herbology and Asian Bodywork Therapy. In year 2017, NCCAOM celebrated its 35th anniversary.  https://www.nccaom.org/about-us/

How Do I become an NCCAOM Diplomate?

To become an NCCAOM Diplomate, applicants must pass the NCCAOM Examinations. There are 4 exams: Acupuncture with Point Location, Biomedicine, the Foundations of Chinese Medicine and Chinese Herbology. There are 3 certifications available.  For acupuncture certification, applicants must pass the Acupuncture with Point Location, Biomedicine and Foundation of Chinese Medicine examinations. For Chinese herbology certification, applicants must pass the Biomedicine, Foundations of Chinese Medicine, and Chinese Herbology examinations.   For those seeking certification in Oriental Medicine, all four examinations must be passed. Study guides are available.

There are several routes possible to be eligible to sit for the NCCAOM examinations.  The most common route is with formal education in the United States, at a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is a specialized accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE). International students may also apply; however, the programs must meet requirements and are subject to third party review. Other than the formal education route, students who have completed apprenticeship education may also apply. However, this route will be terminated in December 31, 2021. Education should follow ACAOM standards and have to be approved by the NCCAOM. Finally, a combination of apprenticeship and formal education may be submitted for NCCAOM approval for examination eligibility.

Those who were previously NCCAOM Diplomats, but have lapsed in their renewal, may be able to apply for reinstatement.

How Do I Become Licensed in North Carolina?

An applicant for licensure as an acupuncturist shall file an application with the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board (NCALB).

Click here to review the requirements for licensure in North Carolina.

Click here to review the fees involved with becoming licensed in North Carolina.

North Carolina currently has no reciprocity with any other state, so all applicants licensed in another state need to fill out the Application for Licensure and provide the required documentation.

As you are awaiting your NC L.Ac. license, you should refresh your memory on the North Carolina General Statute pertaining to the Practice of Acupuncture.

What is a NC State Privilege License?

The North Carolina Department of Revenue administers requires that you carry a state privilege license and pay a tax before you engage in business under the code: 432 Art of Healing.  This license is renewed on an annual basis.

Click here to obtain or renew your NC Art of Healing Privilege License.