"Allied health professionals who represent themselves as a practitioner of acupuncture ... are technically misrepresenting themselves."
There is an ongoing debate in our profession regarding abbreviated courses in acupuncture for allied health professionals and the lack of clarity around this issue.
Clinicians who practice acupuncture with a minimum of 100 to 200 hours of training pose a threat to the integrity of acupuncture practice in the United States. These individuals represent themselves as if they have had comparable training to those who have studied at the core competency levels designated by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM, as a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, is the deliberative body for the assessment of compliance with established minimal educational standards for acupuncture and Oriental medicine education in the United States.
Currently, aside from the herbal and biomedical curriculum requirements, ACAOM requires 705 hours of training in acupuncture and Oriental medical theory exclusively, and 660 hours of clinical practice. Allied health professionals who represent themselves as a practitioner of acupuncture when they have had substandard training are technically misrepresenting themselves to the public and legislators, undermining the acupuncture profession financially, and - because of their lack of training - are limited in their ability to demonstrate the maximum effectiveness of acupuncture.
The American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) is committed to protecting the professional practice of acupuncture. AAOM participates on an ongoing basis to stop laws from being passed which allow this unethical practice. AAOM, along with other national acupuncture organizations, stopped such a law from passing in Arkansas this year. Professional practitioners need to take this situation seriously and participate in educating the public of this disconcerting situation by writing articles in local papers, education patients and legislators, and joining a national professional organization which works to protect the rights of professional acupuncturists and potential acupuncture patients.
Cynthia O'Donnell Chief Executive Officer, East West College of Natural Medicine Sarasota, Florida
Concerns About Chinese-Grown Herbs
Thanks to Brian Benjamin Carter for his ideas on the best herbs and ways to dispense them (editor's note: See "The Best Herbs for You and Your Patients" in the November 2003 issue). I have a few thoughts on the subject I'd like to add just to keep the thread going, and as food for thought. Hopefully, they can be of assistance to new practitioners.
When I was a child, an old woman taught me that the vegetables in my garden were herbs. I learned about garlic, peppermint, milk thistle and the like. Later on, a German chef taught me that her food was (a type of) medicine. She would come out and listen to her customers, then go back inside and make a soup - and the people got better. Later still, a teacher taught me that locally grown organic herbs were the herbs for people living close by. I also learned that the weeds below my feet were herbs: Plantains were everywhere, and black walnuts fell off of the tree in my yard.
Here's an herbalist's observation and concern: There are herbs right here for your use. They don't necessarily have to come from the other side of the world. The herbs provided in my own yard work quite well. Not everyone wants to grow, harvest and tincture herbs, and that's fine. Single herbs and herb combinations are available locally just about everywhere, or they can be sent by mail quickly.
I have learned that many herbs grown in China are grown with toxic chemicals and preserved for shipping. This scares me away from Chinese-grown herbs. If a Chinese herb company can convince me their products are safe, clean, potent, organic, and grown by happy people, then I will consider their products for my patients. Otherwise, I prefer locally grown organic products. There are 10 herbs as close as the grocery store that work wonders on a large range of health imbalances. It would be good to see the herb companies address these concerns.
Mark Dirck, DC, FIACA, FASA Independence, Missouri
More Tea, Please
I read with interest, "The Magic of Green Tea: An Ancient Panacea for a Modern World" by Dustin Siena. I remembered reading an article about white tea, and how it has five times as many polyphenols as green tea, but this writer didn't mention white tea in his article.
If at all possible, in a future article, could you ask a write to discuss white tea, bojenmi tea, and some of the popular tea formulas?
Patt Haring New York, New York
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