Are acupuncturists doctors?

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Joe Henderson

Carrollton, TX

#1 Jul 11, 2009
Should you call acupuncturists Dr.s? I mean, they are physicians, but would they just be Mr. Smith or Dr. Smith? I know that doctors who have completed acupuncture training would be Dr.s but what about those who have only completed the 4 year program?
James Lee

Piscataway, NJ

#2 Jul 14, 2009
Licensed acupuncturists that have completed the 4 year program are just that. Qualified as they are, they are not Medical Doctors (M.D.s). The only way that an acupuncturist can refer to themselves as doctor is if they are already an M.D. or have completed a doctoral program in acupuncture which has earned them the title of "Ph.D". As for whether you should call them "Doctor", it is unavoidable that patients will instinctively refer to the acupuncturist as "Doctor" as acupuncturist is seen as a health provider. However, the acupuncturist shouldn't encourage this unless they actually qualified for the title. In my practice, I usually correct my patients when this and let them know that it is alright to call me by my first name.
ACU

United States

#3 Jul 29, 2009
Depends on the state they practice. In RI, yes Doctors of Acupuncture, in NM they are Doctors of Oriental Medicine, in FL they are Acupuncture Physicians. Other states are similar, NJ is diff.

Now, the new DAOM (doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine) is an additional 2 years on top of the already 4 year masters. Some DAOM programs are PhD based, but not all, others are CLINICAL doctoral programs. Like Bastyr in Oncology.

No wether they are master/doctoral level, is not important, what is important is that the patient gets better. In the end that is what everyone strives for.

Most of us just like to be called by our first name!

Yes, we are not MD/DO, but we sure can hold our own!

Best of luck to all
Cameron - YSU

Los Angeles, CA

#4 Aug 4, 2011
Depends.
In the broader sense of things, yes. Acupuncturists treat disease, and also make diagnoses in the practice and context of Oriental medicine.
When it comes to legitimacy, the medical community, and the DOE, only acupuncturists who posses a doctorate level degree are doctors. Those who do not are NOT doctors. Simple as that. The clinical doctorate in the field of AOM (Acupuncture and Oriental med) is the DAOM (see http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accre... ). Most acupuncturists in the United States, however, only possess a master degree, and are therefore not doctors.
It's also worth noting that the title 'OMD'(Oriental Medical Doctor) is not a recognized, accredited degree in the US.
Mike Ledford

Charlottesville, VA

#5 Sep 15, 2011
interesting point, OMD and all. It's interesting how doctors think of health, and how you should think about it to get the most out of your health care provider. See what I mean here... http://www.antiagingjournal.org/anti-aging-do...
ken

Riga, Latvia

#6 Feb 15, 2012
In china. Acupuncuturist is a completely doctor. If the graduates from medical school are called doctor. Wester medical doctor and TCM doctor are equal. The duration of eduction is 5 years after completing the high school education, respectively.
Everett Churchill

Fargo, ND

#7 Feb 23, 2012
Interesting thing about this question... along with MDs and chiro's, acupuncturists are the only ones in the industry (oops, maybe dentists?) who can diagnose and treat patients. Not nurses, not PTs. So it's interesting and inconsistent that we are denied the "Dr" designation.
DCA

Morristown, IN

#8 May 24, 2012
It must be noted that at accredited Acupunture and Oriental Medicine Colleges and institutions such as ACAOM and AOMA to name a few, a four year degree is required to enter their Masters Degree program. To become a licensed acupuncturist LAc, you must complete a Masters Degree program at an accredited institution. To obtain a Masters Degree program you must complete many hours of rigorous course work and clinical work. This is not your typical Masters Degree Program, as students must attend full time , all year round (including summers), and pass all boards. This means that it takes 7-8 years minimum to become a truly licensed acupuncturist not just a 100 to 300 hour video. This of course is not even at the clinical doctoral level. If a student wants to complete the clinical Doctoral level known as DAOM or Doctor of Acipuncture and Oriental Medicine, then add another 2 years to the program. In other words the minimum education to become licensed Doctor of Acupuncture after high school is 9-10 years.
.
ken wrote:
In china. Acupuncuturist is a completely doctor. If the graduates from medical school are called doctor. Wester medical doctor and TCM doctor are equal. The duration of eduction is 5 years after completing the high school education, respectively.
FYI- current student

Morristown, IN

#9 May 24, 2012
To complete the Masters Degree program at these institutions , students must attend full time every semester. It takes a minimum of 3.5 to 4 years to complete the program, if attending full time. The average students take 4 to 5 years to complete the program and can run up to six years to complete if attending part time.

FYI
DCA wrote:
It must be noted that at accredited Acupunture and Oriental Medicine Colleges and institutions such as ACAOM and AOMA to name a few, a four year degree is required to enter their Masters Degree program. To become a licensed acupuncturist LAc, you must complete a Masters Degree program at an accredited institution. To obtain a Masters Degree program you must complete many hours of rigorous course work and clinical work. This is not your typical Masters Degree Program, as students must attend full time , all year round (including summers), and pass all boards. This means that it takes 7-8 years minimum to become a truly licensed acupuncturist not just a 100 to 300 hour video. This of course is not even at the clinical doctoral level. If a student wants to complete the clinical Doctoral level known as DAOM or Doctor of Acipuncture and Oriental Medicine, then add another 2 years to the program. In other words the minimum education to become licensed Doctor of Acupuncture after high school is 9-10 years.
. <quoted text>
Elizabeth

Beaverton, OR

#10 Jun 27, 2012
Everett Churchill wrote:
Interesting thing about this question... along with MDs and chiro's, acupuncturists are the only ones in the industry (oops, maybe dentists?) who can diagnose and treat patients. Not nurses, not PTs. So it's interesting and inconsistent that we are denied the "Dr" designation.
Except for DOs, NDs, PAs, and NPs
rod

Quezon, Philippines

#11 Oct 8, 2012
if their is witch doctor in title.Why an acupuncturist does not call doctors.A doctors treat, diagnose, teach or advice the patient.So acupuncturist too.

The important he/ she is license to practice acupuncture.
Josie

Chicago, IL

#12 Oct 31, 2012
An Acupuncturist my self
In the state of California, a patient can choose an Acupuncturist to be their Primary Care Provider. All the other states do not recognize this. In California an acupuncturist can order any test he/she sees fit or necessary to rule out conditions, just like a M.D.
Acupuncturist are trained in western medicine as well and can perform most types of physicals.
We do not prescribe western medications
David

Winnipeg, Canada

#13 Apr 13, 2013
Lowering cholesterol, sugar and stress by Yoga and Acupuncture

óby Paramjit S Tappia and Yan Jun Xu, Winnipeg, Canada, CV network, 2013

Elevations in LDL-cholesterol, obesity and stress are major cardiovascular disease risk factors (1). Due to the side effects of a number of pharmacological agents, the potential of Yoga and acupuncture on cholesterol levels as alternative therapies has been explored, particularly in the Western world. Yoga is an ancient type of mental and physical exercise originating in India, and has been reported to reduce oxidative stress, body weight and blood cholesterol. Acupuncture has been used in China to treat a variety of diseases since about two thousands years ago. In ancient times, people used a sharp stone to pressure some points for pain relief. Subsequently, acupuncture has been found to be effective in the reversal of coma and stroke as well as for the treatment of chest pain, irregular heart beat, hypertension and other conditions including asthma and insomnia.

Recently it has been found that acupuncture May be effective for the control of blood lipids, glucose and oxidative stress. A literature review of 220 publications conducted by Peplow and Bater (2) has revealed that acupuncture with electrical stimulation (electro-acupuncture) can control elevations in blood sugar in obese women. In animal studies, electrical stimulation (15Hz) for 30-60 minutes is required for positive results. From the literature available on Traditional Chinese Medicine books, Zhongwan, Zusanli, Yishu and Geshu acupuncture points appear to be most frequently used for diabetic patients. Liang and Koya (3) reviewed acupuncture literature between 1979 and 2009; it was evidenced that acupuncture can reduce insulin resistance, hypertension, metabolic disorder, obesity and improve blood lipid profile. Furthermore, frequently used acupuncture points were Zusanli, Fenglong, Tianshu, Neiting, Sanyinjiao, Quchi, Qihai, Zhongwan, Guanyuan, Yinlingquan and Pishu.

Siu et al (4) have reported that electro-acupuncture is able to lower oxidative stress by stimulation of the Zusanli point. It appears that electrical stimulation at low frequency (2 Hertz), 30 min/day for 4 weeks yields beneficial effects. It is pointed out that different frequencies of stimulation can exert different effects. The underlying mechanism of acupuncture is that stimulation of different points release different neuropeptides and hormones. In addition, it has also been suggested that resistance of nerve fibres and electrical signals are altered in different disease that can be re-balanced by acupuncture. Acupuncture and yoga promote well-being and health and have the potential to be used as a complimentary therapeutic regimen to improve blood lipid and glucose profiles as well as attenuate oxidative stress.

References

1. Adameova A, Xu YJ, Duhamel TA, Tappia PS, Shan L and Dhalla NS. Anti-atherosclerotic molecules targeting oxidative stress and inflammation. 2009; 15: 3094-3107.

2. Peplow PV and Baxter GD. Electro-acupuncture for control of blood glucose in diabetes: Literature revies. J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2012; 5:1-10.

3. Liang F and Koya D. Acupuncture: is it effective for the treatment of insulin resistance? Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2010; 12:555-569.

4. Siu FKW, Lo SCL, and Leung MCP. Effectiveness of multiple pre-ischemia electro-acupuncture on attenuating lipid peroxidation induced by cerebral ischemia in adults rats. Life Sciences. 2004; 75:1323-1332.
John

Augusta, GA

#14 Jul 26, 2013
I know an acupuncturists that uses title "Dr.". This person refer themselves as "Dr." and uses "Dr." in front of their name containing their mail. This person has no medical degree? Is this legal for this person to be calling themselves "Dr."?
Acujin

San Diego, CA

#15 Nov 2, 2013
John wrote:
I know an acupuncturists that uses title "Dr.". This person refer themselves as "Dr." and uses "Dr." in front of their name containing their mail. This person has no medical degree? Is this legal for this person to be calling themselves "Dr."?
Yes anyone with a PhD or OMD , DC, DO, And DAOM can use the title
Helen Bates

Carmel, CA

#16 Jan 28, 2014
It takes one extra year of education beyond becoming an acupuncture therapist (LAC) to become a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, this is in California. It takes at least 12 years of education to become a Board Certified Physician. You decide........
Anonymous

Los Angeles, CA

#17 Apr 6, 2014
ken wrote:
In china. Acupuncuturist is a completely doctor. If the graduates from medical school are called doctor. Wester medical doctor and TCM doctor are equal. The duration of eduction is 5 years after completing the high school education, respectively.
I don't want to be mean or disrespectful, but I don't consider licensed acupuncturists to be medical doctors or physicians. Medicine in the west is based on science, that's why it changes as more information is understood. I think of Chinese medicine as being similar to chiropractic medicine. There is no scientific validity to either, but some people may be helped by either modality if done consistently.
Juan Medina

Miami, FL

#18 Apr 23, 2014
Hi< before give any opinion , should learn about the rules and law in each states < In florida the acupuncturist can call him self Dr., physician , and many other , but when you call your self Dr., have to be like this :
Dr. Juan Medina D.O.M.( meaning Doctor of Oriental Medicine ) we are not MD but we can order different types of test ( Blood Test , X rays, Ultrasound , urine and many more like a MD), we can performance diagnostics , our license is open in may ways , we can do injections , we have to take course in western medicine for continue education and before receive the florida license we need to pass a board in western medicine , Acupuncture points, Herbs and oriental medicine ,
for more information you can go to: http://www.floridahealth.gov/
thing that we can't do is prescribe Rx drugs, or call our self MD
thank you for your attention
Acupuncture Practitioner

Burke, VA

#22 May 17, 2014
As a person who practice acupuncture, I challenge any doctor who practice western medicine.

There are few things I can not do, including surgeries but if you want to get someone well, I have confident I can do better than most doctors in the world. Yes, WORLD.

I really want the challenge so if you have someone in mind, please let me know. I am not saying I am better than top 5% but I can do better than 95% of doctors.

It is what it is.
Tom

Charlotte, NC

#23 May 28, 2014
I agree with you. An acupuncturist can pretty much do anything and even better job than a regular MD. Those Dr's can cure diseases not just supress the them. I much rather see an acupuncture dr than western dr.

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