SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) are collaborating to respond to a recent report by British professor Edzard Ernst, published in The Guardian, claiming improperly trained acupuncture treatments have been the cause of deaths over the past 45 years. Unfortunately, Dr. Ernst’s report failed to mention that the largest and most highly trained segment of acupuncturists, licensed acupuncturists, have extensive training to include competency assessment in universal precautions and clean needle technique (CNT) before obtaining their national certification and licensure to practice acupuncture. As a result of this extensive training and education, not a single death has been reported to result from acupuncture in the US.)--
“The acupuncture and oriental medicine profession in the United States is very proud of the outstanding safety record acupuncture and oriental medical practices have achieved over the long history of their use in our country”
“The acupuncture and oriental medicine profession in the United States is very proud of the outstanding safety record acupuncture and oriental medical practices have achieved over the long history of their use in our country,” said Christian Ellis, Executive Director of the AAAOM.
Over the past 40 years, high standards of training, certification, and practice have been established within the American acupuncture and oriental medical profession. Periodically, reports surface about the safety of acupuncture, and often these reports represent incomplete or inaccurate information. However, they are a reminder to consumers that, while acupuncture is a highly effective and valuable form of healthcare, it is not an entirely risk-free medical procedure, and should only be administered by practitioners with the proper training who follow accepted guidelines of practice.
“In the United States, consumers should seek-out qualified, state licensed acupuncturists and oriental medical professionals who are also nationally certified by the NCCAOM when accessing these increasingly popular services and we call on the media to help us spread this message,” states Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, Chief Executive Officer of the NCCAOM.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), numerous surveys show that of all the complementary and holistic medical practices (of which there are many) acupuncture enjoys the most credibility in the medical community. Over 500 clinical trials measuring the efficacy of acupuncture have been conducted in the past three decades. At least fifty systematic reviews of these trials (as profiled in the Cochrane Library) have been completed by researchers from credible institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic, resulting in substantial evidence that acupuncture is very effective in treating chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety, arthritis, headaches, chemotherapy sickness, and infertility, among other ailments.
According to Dr. Ernst’s own conclusion, the best prevention from harm is “the need to insist on adequate training for all acupuncturists.” Like all other healthcare modalities, consumers will receive the most benefit from acupuncture by ensuring that their practitioner has achieved national certification and state licensure to practice acupuncture. These practitioners must complete a rigorous testing process and must demonstrate completion of thousands of hours of education and clinical training provided by a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).
To find a qualified practitioner, please go to the NCCAOM Certification Registry Search Engine on the NCCAOM website. Consumers can be assured these practitioners have met and continue to meet the highest level of competency to practice safety and effectively.