Dry Needling, Herbs, and Scope — How to Regulate a Profession

A regulatory Board is contacted.  Your licensees are doing X, that isn’t (or, is that?) in your scope.

Ask a PT Board about Dry Needling and the answer usually goes something like this — We trust our licensees. Many learn this technique and it helps their clients. We find room in our regulation to include this in our scope.  We have a few concerns and suggest that those who want to utilize this technique have some additional training and take additional precautions. Our existing system for addressing unsafe practice is sufficient to address risk to the public.

Ask an Acupuncture Board or organization about herbs and the answer usually goes like this. We are being threatened again!  We’d better legislate, and fast! Help! Thanks NCCAOM and schools. We are so grateful for your efforts to ensure that any acupuncturist who wants to utilize this dangerous aspect of our medicine add your $20,000 education and your formal $800.00 seal of approval to their already extensive education and credentials. In fact, in the name of raising standards we should require that from all LAcs. It might prevent some of our most qualified practitioners from practice, but, hey, it is a step toward getting the respect we deserve.

Is something wrong with this picture?

It’s a radical idea, but how about we respect ourselves. Let’s recognize the safety of our medicine and the depth of our education.  Let’s trust our colleagues’ professional judgement and open doors rather than close them and let’s stop deferring to those who profit from our love of this medicine.

For additional reading, check out an example.  In this case, I agree with Dr. Morris when he wrote,

To avoid conflicts of interest, no individual who stands to profit from seminars should determine competencies and educational standards, nor should they testify in legislature on behalf of the common good.

(Of course, he was talking about the PT’s when he wrote it, so maybe in this case he doesn’t agree with himself.)

You have until Monday, 9/30, to comment on the NCCAOM’s “proposals.” Does the current CEU arrangement put the public at risk? Are the states incapable of effective regulation?

One more thing — during the great FPD debate, many expressed concern that once the degree was available the NCCAOM could, by fiat, require it for entry level practice. We were assured that would be impossible. Informed by history, it seems very possible indeed.


Copyright —

© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

6 thoughts on “Dry Needling, Herbs, and Scope — How to Regulate a Profession

  1. Well said. I think there are some folks, including me that sometimes get stuck on different sides of the same coin. One side, if I may be so bold, that acts as if allopathic medicine is the evil, dark force that is responsible for all the ills visited on healthcare in this country. That ‘the establishment’ is conspiring against alternative care and taking every action necessary to insure the continued flow of money and illness to answer their insatiable need for power and control. Then the other side of I should be ultra-respectful of authority, establishment and powers-that-be and definitely apologist for our chosen field. That acupuncture is a step-child that needs to prove itself time and again to be respected and accepted. Certainly that every chance to jump through a legislative, bureaucratic or association hoop is a great thing. It will only lend me the legitimacy that I so crave. (Okay so now you know to much about me!) But really, neither stance or behavior is healthy nor helpful to anyone. One is “I’m so great you my turds don’t stink,” and the other is “please don’t hurt me.” Arrogance/disdain vs groveling and self-victimization. Then along comes the voice, the Middle Way, the suggestion that perhaps more regulations and training and asking to be controlled isn’t necessarily good. Perhaps we should have a conversation about what is effective leadership….? What is good for the public and the profession….?

  2. Traditional Acupuncturists (morris/jabbour/NCCAOM/CCAOM, et. al.) will the downfall of the trade profession unfortunately. We don’t need any assistance from the AMA, the FDA, dry needling PTs, medical acupuncturists, or DCs. Unfortunately, we are our own worst enemy

  3. You are absolutely correct!!!! I agree 100%. Why are you not running to be in charge of NCCAOM because you should be!!! They need soMEONE like you not them to run our profession. Think about it? Best regards.

    • Thanks, Susan. The NCCAOM is not something anyone gets to run for. Although it exists as a non-profit professional organization, it is, for all intents and purposes, a business. They make big money by controlling the credentialing process of the profession and they aren’t going to welcome anyone to their board who will interfere with their quest for total domination. I’m actually worried about what will happen when I need to renew my certification given me and my big mouth. I did run for and was elected to the board of the AAAOM, the professional org. that is supposed to be working for us. I was stonewalled at every turn and when the acting President (now the Pres.) repeatedly stated that I was unfit to serve, and the rest of the board just sat there, I figured my energy would be more useful elsewhere.

      • Unfit to serve? What exactly does that mean? Bc you may have had questions/concerns regarding policies or bc you didn’t tow the party line?

        Sounds infantile from the little you’ve described your experience

        • It wasn’t a good experience. I was quite insistent about things like having an approved budget before we made spending decisions. That upset the apple cart. The final strike against me was my persistent quest to learn the identity of the person who had designed a survey for the organization. For some reason, that was so super-secret that is was off-limits even to board members. I admit, I dove right in without a proper period of deferring to those who had been there longer, so I take some responsibility for things going south. Then again, when you have a legal responsibility to serve the organization, deference can only go so far.

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