Consumers Frequently Asked Questions
Q. WHO CAN PERFORM ACUPUNCTURE?
A. Acupuncturists who maintain a valid license issued by the Acupuncture Board and physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California. A dentist or podiatrist licensed in California may also practice acupuncture, only within the scope of their respective licenses and if they have completed the necessary training required by their respective licensing board.
Q. WHAT IS AN ACUPUNCTURIST ALLOWED TO DO?
A. An acupuncturist is allowed to engage in the practice of acupuncture, electroacupuncture, perform or prescribe the use of oriental massage, acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, breathing techniques, exercise, heat, cold, magnets, nutrition, diet, herbs, plant, animal, and mineral products, and dietary supplements to promote, maintain, and restore health pursuant to Business & Professions Code Section 4937.
Q. WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
A. Needles are sterile, generally cause no bleeding upon entry or removal, with little or no pain being felt; however, slight bruising may be experienced on occasion. The number of treatments necessary will depend upon your condition, if your symptoms are chronic or acute and your health in general. The needles may vary in size, depending upon your condition and the course of treatment prescribed. In addition to needling your treatment may also include a variety of non-needling techniques such as moxibustion (heat), acupressure, herbal formulas, etc. One advantage of acupuncture treatment is the absence of serious side effects which may result from the use of prescription drugs.
Q. WHAT DO THE INITIALS “O.M.D.” STAND FOR?
A. The initials O.M.D. stand for “Oriental Medical Doctor”, this is an academic title (similar to Ph.D.). This title may only be used by those licensed acupuncturists who possess an earned doctorate degree, from a California accredited, approved and/or authorized educational institute as set forth in Section 94760 of the California Education Code. These initials must be used in conjunction with the representation that the individual is a licensed acupuncturist as set forth in Business & Professions Code, Section 4927 and 4937, the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Section 1399.456, and Attorney General Opinion No. 87-103 .
Q. DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY REGULAR DOCTOR TO SEE AN ACUPUNCTURIST AND WILL MY INSURANCE COVER ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
A. An acupuncturist is considered a primary care provider and a referral may or may not be required for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies do cover acupuncture treatment. For more information on insurance, please contact either your insurance company or an acupuncture association.
Q. ARE ACUPUNCTURISTS REQUIRED TO USE DISPOSABLE NEEDLES?
A. Yes. It is unprofessional conduct for an acupuncturist to use a needle more than once. California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Section 1399.454.