October 24, 2016 by Jessica Stephenson
The international holiday raises awareness of the benefits of alternative medicine.
Extensive training and education are required to become a Licensed Acupuncturist.
North Country HealthCare’s Licensed Acupuncturist, Stephanie Selman, can help you achieve better health and wellness with private acupuncture appointments.
By Stephanie Selman, L.Ac.
Every year on October 24th, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is celebrated in an effort to increase public awareness of the progress, promise and benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, about 36% of adults in the U.S. use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. That means that about two-thirds of Americans may be unaware of the health benefits of alternative practices like acupuncture. North Country HealthCare has a licensed acupuncturist on staff to work alongside your primary care provider to ensure you are being cared for as a whole person.
In this culture we have many medical practitioners. Most of us are familiar with the qualifications and training involved in becoming a surgeon, doctor, nurse, etc . We know that a nurse may have an associate, master’s or bachelor’s degree. We know doctors have a doctorate and often a specialty degree. A provider’s credentials allow them to care for the population of their choice and also earns them recognition and social acknowledgment. As a patient this knowledge gives you confidence and trust in your provider.
Extensive Training Required for Licensed Acupuncturists
Most people are not familiar with the training of an acupuncturist. In order to obtain the status of licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.), one must attend an accredited College of Oriental Medicine. Requirements to apply include the completion of three years of undergraduate college including anatomy, physiology and chemistry. The program itself is an average of 3300 hours (three years), culminating with a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Those that continue on to get a doctorate will receive the title doctor of Oriental medicine (OMD).
The curriculum includes human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, Chinese herbology, Western pathology, Chinese medical theory, point location and function, tai qi and qi gong. Acupuncture points have profoundly specific locations that are based on anatomical landmarks. It takes about a year to master the basics of point location alone. Concurrent with the didactic curriculum the student is required to observe senior student interns for one year. In the third year the student becomes an intern and practices under supervision of an L.Ac. who has been in practice for a minimum of five years. An intern completes 828 clinic hours. These may be completed on the college campus as well as in alternate locations, including the offices of private practitioners, in-patient drug detoxification clinics, community health centers, mental health clinics or, in some cases, jail intervention programs.
Like any other medical training, licensure is required to practice. The graduate must pass a rigorous, comprehensive national board exam. National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the accrediting body. Every year the L.Ac. is to complete 15 hours of continuing education and must be up-to-date on CPR certification for healthcare providers. Every four years L.Ac.s renew their national certification with proof of continuing education requirements. Each state also has requirements that may vary above that of the NCCAOM to satisfy the board of medical examiners.
When choosing an acupuncturist it is advisable to contact the NCCAOM (www.nccaom.org) to see who is qualified in your area. To schedule your private acupuncture appointment at North Country HealthCare, click here or call 928.522.9400.
North Country HealthCare acupuncturist Stephanie Selman has a master’s degree from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and has been a diplomate of the NCCAOM since 1994. North Country HealthCare has been providing the Flagstaff community with affordable acupuncture since 1998.
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