Skip to Main Content

Acupuncture Training & Requirements

I'm finding that many people are unaware of the comprehensive education and training Acupuncturists receive and why you should only seek Acupuncture treatment from a fully and properly trained Licensed Acupuncturist and not another who claims or may advertise Acupuncture treatment.  For starters in Illinois, a properly educated, Board Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist has the designation:  L.Ac. = Licensed Acupuncturist.  To verify if someone has the proper requirements, training and credentials, you can search for their name here: Link  I would strongly recommend NOT seeking treatment from those advertising who are not listed on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) link.

For comparison in Illinois for those claiming to perform either "Acupuncture"  or Dry Needling (Intermuscular Stimulation), here are the minimal requirements:

MDs:                                                                                                                           -For entry level
-300 hours of postdoctoral training with passage of an examination by an independent
  testing board
-Set by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA)      

-100 hours      

Physical Therapists:
-Illinois Department of Professional Regulation has determined that the practice of
  Dry Needling was NOT in the scope of practice of physical therapy as the acts are
  currently written for Illinois. Link                                                                              
-Dry Needling. No standard.
-Typically around 12 hours
-Usually no requirements for Supervised patient treatments                      
-Statement from the Illinois State Medical Society:  Link    

Licensed Acupuncturists- those with an Oriental Medicine (OM) degree which also includes Herbal Medicine:
-       4 year full-time, year-around Master’s level degree
-       Completion of approximately 3,300 class/clinic hours
Includes comprehensive study of the BioSciences including but not limited to:
              Anatomy & Physiology (+Lab)
-       Also includes comprehensive study on many other areas including but not 
      limited to:
              Fundamentals of Oriental Medicine
              Clinical Techniques
              Needle Technique
            Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease
              Herbal Medicine
              Nutrition- Eastern and Western
-       Approximately 1000 of those hours are hands-on Clinical experience
-       Clean Needle Technique (CNT) Certification administered by the Council
        of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM)
-       CPR Certification
-       Board Examinations- Passing National Certification Commission for
      Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) certification examinations:
              Foundations of Oriental Medicine
              Acupuncture and Point Location
              Chinese Herbology (not required for licensure in Illinois)
-       Continuing Education requirements and License renewal every 2 years

The American Medical Association (AMA) states, " Our AMA recognizes dry needling as an invasive procedure and maintains that dry needling should only be performed by practitioners with standard training and familiarity with routine use of needles in their practice, such as licensed medical physicians and licensed acupuncturists."

According to the American Society of Acupuncturists, Dry Needling, "Is a pseudonym for acupuncture that has been adopted by physical therapists, chiropractors, and other health providers who lack the legal ability to practice acupuncture within their scope of practice." Their full position paper can be found here:  Link

As clearly shown in the above data, the stark contrast in level and depth of education, as well as clinical experience, continued education and licensing requirements, not to mention daily personal research and education most Acupuncturist take on themselves, I believe my health, care, interests, and safety are much better achieved from a Licensed Acupuncturist who has a minimum of 3000 hours of education and training plus many other licensure requirements, over someone else who does not have the regulations in place, and perhaps only 12-300 hours of extremely limited introduction.  I believe that since seeing the data you would also agree.

Dana Gehlhausen, L.Ac., MSOM

By Appointment Only

1110 Washington Street      Naperville, IL 60563

Please call or email to schedule an appointment.