Acupuncturists in Austin

Are you looking for good acupuncture in Austin but you don’t know where to start? There are many good practices, but did you know that not everyone who offers acupuncture has the same focus and level of training? I’d like to help demystify the various credentials one commonly sees listed for acupuncturists.

Dry Needling and Medical Acupuncture

In Texas, with additional specialized training (usually about 100 hours) chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians can add acupuncture to their scope of practice to their original licenses. This is often referred to as “dry needling” (as opposed to needles for drawing blood) or medical acupuncture. It is a technique very effective in alleviating musculoskeletal complaints. And these health care professionals utilize this practice to great effect when managing their patients’ pain symptoms.

Licensed to practice acupuncture

If the letters “LAc” appear behind the acupuncturist’s name, this means that they have a license to practice acupuncture. But it further signifies they have completed a full Chinese medical program and took additional exams to become board certified in Oriental medicine. This is conferred by the National Certification Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Spread over up to four years, this includes 2625 hours in didactic courses and clinical treatment rotations. They can offer a lot more than medical acupuncture, having the full range of Chinese medical techniques at their disposal.

Doctor of Acupuncture

An increasingly common thing to see are those who have obtained a doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. And as more acupuncture schools offer these doctorate degrees, more practitioners will have them. This is an additional one to two years of lectures and clinic rotations past the requirements to get an LAc. You’ll recognize these practitioners by the letters DAcM, DAOM, or something similar behind their names.

Physician acupuncturists

Though I suspect this will change with time, currently there are not a lot of practitioners with both an MD and an LAc. Most that fall under this category received their Eastern and Western medical training in China before coming to the United States (to be faculty at Chinese medical schools, for example). Even less commonly seen are physicians who have received their training from a medical school and residency program in the United States who then went on to obtain the additional Eastern medical training as detailed above.

What is the difference?

At every level, acupuncture has its purpose and use. The more extensive medical training one has, naturally, the more fully they can use it to address your healthcare needs. Someone with the dual training of an MD and LAc will be the best equipped to understand those needs from both perspectives. They can understand how to think of your Western diagnoses in the Eastern system as well as discuss Eastern medicine more clearly to the Western based professional. They can astutely know which approach is more suitable for your case, who to refer you to, and how to coordinate approaches from both sides into one linked all-encompassing strategy. This is our practice philosophy at Yi Guan Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism.

If you would like to learn more about our  acupuncture clinic in Austin, contact us today.