Real Acupuncture VS Dry Needling: Are You Getting the Care You Think You Are?
By: Nina Watkins, Licensed Acupuncturist, Owner of Oak Cliff Acupunture
Wellness and alternative health choices have become so popular that people are trying new things. When things are new, we can be at a loss for information. People tend to trust a healthcare provider to be qualified and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, not all alternative healthcare training is equal.
This is especially true for acupuncture and herbs in Texas. Acupuncture from a Licensed Acupuncturist is comprehensive and effective. People feel better in 3-5 treatments. It works so well, in fact, that other practitioners are following the hype and using it on their patients too. The problem is they aren’t adequately trained or licensed.
Many people tell me they have had acupuncture or dry needling with a chiropractor or physical therapist, or that they get herb supplements from a chiropractor. They are surprised to learn these practitioners are minimally trained for acupuncture and for herbs.
Here are the differences in training:
Licensed by the Texas Medical Board
Qualifications: Master Degree, 3-4 years of Chinese Medicine school
NCCAOM (National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), 5 National board exams, including an herb exam
Clean Needle Certification
2 years supervised clinical internship
Over 2 years of Chinese herb training, including western medical pharmacology and a supervised clinical internship
(Chinese herbs help with all conditions, not just pain. We often use herbs to treat high blood pressure, poor digestion, headaches, allergies, poor sleep, the common cold and more. Chinese herbs are dispensed at the acupuncturist and given as a tea or in a pill form. The tea or pill will contain several herbs, known as a formula).
Approved by the Texas Chiropractic Board (not the Texas Medical Board)
Qualifications: 100 hour computer course
No clinical experience
No training in Chinese Medical Theory
1 introductory nutrition course
(Many chiropractors become sales reps for nutraceutical/supplement companies. The herbal products tend to be expensive, long term and unhelpful in treatment of specific conditions))
Practiced by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists
Qualifications: 2 day weekend course
(This is controversial. It is called dry needling because it is not within the scope of practice of these practitioners to do acupuncture. However, they use acupuncture needles and an introductory acupuncture text book for training).
We often hear that imitation is the best compliment. So, it’s no surprise that the ancient medicine of Acupuncture and Herbs is being imitated by untrained practitioners. By misrepresenting their training though, practitioners are falsely representing the safety and the benefits of acupuncture. If you had acupuncture or dry needling from an untrained chiropractor or physical therapist and had a poor experience, know that these acupuncturists have no idea what they are doing. And if you had a good experience, then imagine how great it would be from a trained and licensed acupuncturist!
The good news is that the Texas Medical Board licenses Acupuncturist as both acupuncturists and herbalist too (Yes, it is in the scope of practice). Enjoy trying acupuncture and Chinese herbs. This ancient practice is growing in popularity because it works so well. You deserve the best care! With the right information you can get it.
About the Author:
Nena Watkins, Lac, received her Bachelor Degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas in Austin. She then moved to Seattle, Washington and received her Master Degree in Acupuncture from Bastyr University. Today, Nena practices in the Bishop Art neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas.
Oak Cliff Acupunture Clinic is located at 208 S. Madison Ave, Dallas 75208