WHY CHOOSE NATIONAL BOARD-CERTIFIED PRACTITIONER?

Over the past 25 years, acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) have become increasingly popular in the United States. Often referred to as eastern medicine, they encompass a variety of modalities.

An estimated 36 percent of U.S. adults use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Not surprisingly, acupuncture has become one of the most common forms of CAM.

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)® is driven to produce valid and reliable measurements of competence in AOM practitioners who seek certification from us. Choosing an NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturist™ means receiving excellent care from a professional and qualified practitioner.

The NCCAOM is responsible for the development and administration of the Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology, and Oriental Medicine Certification Programs. The NCCAOM evaluates and attests to the competency of its National Board-Certified AcupuncturistsTM through rigorous eligibility standards and demonstration and assessment of the core knowledge, skills and abilities expected for an entry level practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Find a practitioner

About The Medicine

About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body, by insertion of very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles to elicit a predictable physiological response. This stimulus may also be administered to the points using mild electrical stimulation (with or without needles), pressure techniques with the hands (acupressure) or the application of heat by various methods.

Acupuncturists assess a patient’s syndrome or pattern of disharmony by using a set of diagnostic skills that involve four areas: questioning, palpation, visual inspection, and olfactory-auditory data collection. An acupuncturist determines the necessary treatment principle and strategy to prompt the patient back to functional harmony by discriminating the exact pattern of the body’s physiological response to pathogenic factors.

The acupuncturist’s skill at determining the appropriate points to treat is based upon his/her ability to accurately distinguish the presenting pattern, knowledge of correct points to address that pattern and knowledge of the proper type of stimulus for each point. The possession of this knowledge and skills is the key distinction between a professional certified acupuncturist and other health care providers who employ acupuncture only as a modality (stimulating points for their general effect without adjusting their choice of points to the specific patient’s need).

What is a Diplomate of Acupuncture?

A Diplomate of Acupuncture is an acupuncturist who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of acupuncture as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in acupuncture has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the inception of the Commission in 1982. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.

What Training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Acupuncture have?

Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an acupuncture program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Biomedicine.

What is the difference between a Diplomate of Acupuncture and other healthcare practitioners who practice acupuncture?

The Diplomate of Acupuncture (NCCAOM) training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. These other healthcare professionals only treat a limited number of points. NCCAOM certified acupuncturists are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other health care professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.

About Chinese Herbology

Chinese herbal medicine, also known as Chinese herbology is one of the primary modalities within the scope of Oriental medicine.

Chinese herbology includes treatment with substances such as plants, roots, minerals and more. Like acupuncture, Chinese herbology has evolved as an integral part of Chinese medicine and is used to re-harmonize imbalances in the body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines herbal medicines to include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations. Chinese formulas are comprised of herbs designed for each individual patient. This special formulation is crucial because these formulas must be delicately composed for the purpose of achieving balance in each disharmonious state of being. Even small deviations in dosage or herb composition can change the entire focus of the formula and therefore, the results.

What is a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology?

A Diplomate of Chinese Herbology is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM®. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM®). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of Chinese herbology as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Chinese herbology has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the Chinese Herbology Certification Program was introduced in 1996. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.

What Training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Chinese Herbology have?

Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an Oriental Medicine or Chinese Herbology Program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine.

What is the difference between a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology and other healthcare practitioners who practice herbs?

Generally, the NCCAOM Diplomate training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture and Oriental medicine training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. Certified (and licensed) acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.

What is the difference in purchasing herbs directly from a vendor versus getting herbs prescribed by a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology?

It is very important that consumers are aware of the risks associated with purchasing herbs directly from vendors without seeking the advice of a qualified Chinese herbology practitioner, such as a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology. These risks can include adverse drug interaction when using herbs without consultation and the potential of receiving inferior herbs from vendors. Diplomates of Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine have completed extensive training that would prevent the issues addressed above from occurring. By seeking an NCCAOM Certified Diplomate of Chinese Herbology or Oriental Medicine for herbal treatment, consumers recognize the significance of NCCAOM Certification in Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine as an indication of competence and safety for the practice of Chinese herbology. NCCAOM certified practitioners have met the necessary educational requirements and have also passed a rigorous assessment to practice Chinese herbology safely and efficaciously.

About Oriental Medicine

Oriental medicine, which includes the practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian bodywork therapy (ABT), is a comprehensive health care system encompassing a variety of traditional healthcare therapies that have been used for more than 3,000 years to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being.

What is a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine?

A Diplomate of Oriental Medicine is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of acupuncture and Chinese herbology as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Oriental medicine has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the inception of the Oriental Medicine Certification Program in 2003. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.

What Training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Oriental Medicine have?

Comprehensive training in traditional differential diagnosis and proper treatment methods requires that a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) completes three to four academic years of education at the master’s degree level in an Oriental Medicine Program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as the authority for quality education and training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition to graduation from an ACAOM accredited program, a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) must demonstrate professional competency by passing NCCAOM certification examinations in Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture with Point Location, Chinese Herbology, and Biomedicine.

What is the difference between a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine and other healthcare practitioners who practice acupuncture and/or herbs?

Generally, the NCCAOM Diplomate training and competency verification is in sharp contrast to the acupuncture and Oriental medicine training of other healthcare professionals such as chiropractors or registered nurses or even medical doctors who typically receive 100-300 hours of abbreviated training. In addition, other healthcare professionals who study acupuncture are not trained or assessed to practice Chinese herbal medicine. Certified (and licensed) acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.

About Asian Bodywork Therapy

Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) is the treatment of the human body/mind/ spirit, including the electromagnetic or energetic field, which surrounds, infuses and brings that body to life, by pressure and/or manipulation.

ABT is noninvasive and does not require the use of needles, which is the ideal therapy for children and those who are apprehensive about receiving acupuncture treatments. Many Asian medicine practitioners use acupressure

and other ABT therapy methods instead of acupuncture for these patients with excellent results. ABT also does not require the patient to disrobe unlike Western massage, making it suitable for all cultures and religious backgrounds

What is a Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy?

A Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Asian Bodywork (NCCAOM). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of Asian Bodywork Therapy as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Asian Bodywork Therapy has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the ABT program was introduced in 1999. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.

What Training does an NCCAOM Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy have?

Diplomates of ABT go through extensive training before they can achieve national certification. This training includes hundreds of hours of comprehensive education as well as additional specific training in ABT techniques. They must complete 500 hours of basic Asian bodywork therapy education from formal full-time schools, formal programs and courses in order to sit for the NCCAOM ABT Certification Examination. The required 500 hour education includes practical and theoretical training of which 160 hours relate specifically to ABT techniques. The remaining theoretical hours that are not ABT-specific consist of Allopathic Anatomy, Physiology, Oriental Medical Theory, First-Aid, CPR and Ethics. In addition, Diplomates of ABT must demonstrate competency in the area of clinical education (observation, internship or treatment hours). Certified (and licensed) Asian bodywork therapists are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.

What is the difference between ABT and massage?

According to the United States Department of Education, massage therapy/therapeutic massage is different from Asian Bodywork Therapy. Massage therapy is defined as a way to provide relief and improved health and well-being through the application of manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles and connective tissues. ABT is defined as a way to provide relief and improved health and well-being based on Chinese medical principles through one or more of the traditional bodywork therapies of Asia.