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Acupuncture Practitioners:

Why Should I Choose a Physician Instead of a Non-Physician?

A Physician Acupuncturist is one who has acquired specialized knowledge and experience related to the integration of acupuncture within contemporary biomedical practice. Because physicians already have had education and training in anatomy, physiology, neurology, and all the other basic and clinical sciences involved in medical diagnosis and treatment, training in acupuncture can be accomplished following a different training pathway for them to master acupuncture as a special medical modality.

Physicians who choose to train in Medical Acupuncture have already completed a minimum of 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school and the appropriate medical internship and residency for their particular medical or surgical specialty. Depending on the medical specialty in which each of these physicians has trained, they have had between 7 and 12 years of medical training post-college before they are considered eligible for admission to a Medical Acupuncture training program. The Helms Medical Institute program consists of 300 hours of study and hands-on training. Once the initial 300 hour course is complete, the physician must then practice medical acupuncture in a clinical setting for a minimum of 2 years and render a minimum of 500 acupuncture treatments before being eligible for board certification through the American Board of Medical Acupuncture.

A physician practicing Medical Acupuncture has a level of knowledge and sophistication regarding pharmacology (medications), medical and surgical procedures, laboratory testing and other diagnostic modalities such as CT scan and MRI that can only result from a full, formal medical training. There is no comparison in this regard to a non-physician’s grasp in these areas that are highly pertinent to understanding and managing health problems. In addition, physicians who practice Medical Acupuncture are part of the local medical community. They have relationships with other physicians practicing within the community.

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