Editor's note: The first two letters were written in response to "Minnesota Judge Allows Use of Acupuncture Exam Developed by National Board of Chiropractic Examiners," which was published in the June issue.
This is really a sad situation.I realize that practitioners of many fields are increasingly interested in getting a piece of the acupuncture pie, but this is ridiculous. I'm certain that if acupuncturists were interested in adding chiropractic care to our scope of practice, 100 hours wouldn't be sufficient. Doesn't anyone question what is covered between 100 hours and our required 2,800-3,000 hours, and whether or not that is important to our practice of this system of medicine? We are fighting for the safety of our patients; that always seems to be overlooked with these types of issues. We are also fighting to keep the integrity of our medicine intact, which is already difficult in the modern medical environment. I hope that other states' lawmakers are more aware of the issues at hand, and what all of this means to the practice of acupuncture.
Beth Kohn, LAc
I just finished reading the article regarding the ruling in Minnesota that would allow chiropractors to practice acupuncture with only 100 hours and a multiple choice exam. I am livid! This is just not right! Is there any action to have the (ruling) changed? If this sets a precedent for other states, then we've got a serious problem. This is an insult to those of us who have made a four-year commitment to learning TCM, and it commits a major disservice to patients. I hope this new development will politicize TCM practitioners - a 100-hour course does not make an acupuncturist.
Marjorie Maggenti, first-year acupuncture student
Five Branches Institute
Santa Cruz, California
Raising Educational Standards: What Does it Mean for Practicing Acupuncturists?
I would like to respond to the article in the March issue that discussed possible changes in licensure due to a raising of entrance-level education. First of all, it is exciting that our profession has grown to this point. I certainly support this growth.
I do have some concerns for myself and those who are already licensed. I don't feel that any of us would be opposed to continuing education that would encompass subjects that would bring us up to date with the changes that may occur, but to force this upon us in the guise of public safety or raising our competence to practice is ludicrous. If it were not for our present safety record and our high success rate in the field with our patients, we wouldn't even be discussing this subject in the first place. It is upon these merits alone that acupuncture and Oriental medicine have climbed to its present popularity and daily expansion.
I have been practicing for 16 years; many have practiced much longer. I have been seeing 60 to 80 patients per week for the last 10 years. The number of tongues and pulses I have seen and taken, I couldn't begin to count. Talking and listening to patients, palpating and treating, adding and subtracting accordingly - there is no amount of additional schooling in any subject that would bring any student up to that speed.
In the Tao Te Ching, there is an appropriate piece: "For those who have experienced, there is no explanation necessary, and for those who have not, there is no explanation possible." So, in closing, I can only trust that those in the position of power to make changes will take into consideration the entire field of experience that has brought us to this crossroad in the first place. We can only hope that the motives behind these changes are not based upon politics or money, but a true willingness to promote the greatest good for the greatest number.
Gregory Flynn, OMD, LAc