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Acupuncture in the US
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Acupuncture in the US

Since the early 1970s, traditional Chinese medicine has been adopted rapidly in the United States. In California, licensed acupuncturists have had primary health care responsibilities for many years. An acupuncturist can treat legally most illnesses affecting any part of the human body using the traditions established in Chinese medicine. Oriental medicine has been developing as a discipline for thousands of years. Oriental medicine encompasses that body of knowledge and techniques related by a common theoretical base. Most acupuncturists are trained in the practice of nutrition, therapeutic exercise, bodywork, and Oriental physical therapy.

In 1985, the State of California passed legislation (SB2179) that required all group insurance plans to offer acupuncture as a benefit. As a result, a typical acupuncturist’s practice may include a majority of insurance patients. On January 1, 1989, Senate Bill 840 was passed which required Worker’s Compensation Insurance to cover acupuncture in California. The cost-effective of acupuncture makes it a very attractive alternative for medical care.

Legislation in California has been progressively developing as a formal primary care alternative. The initial Assembly Bill 1291 established acupuncturists as primary care providers eliminating the necessity of prior diagnosis or referral by an MD, dentist, podiatrist, or chiropractor. In 1978 Assembly

Bill 538 authorized Medi-Cal payments for acupuncture treatments. Assembly Bill 3040 in 1980 expanded the scope of practice for the acupuncturists to include electro-acupuncture, Oriental massage, moxibustion, and the prescribing of herbs. In 1987, Senate Bill 1544 changed acupuncture status from “Certified Acupuncturist” to “Licensed Acupuncturist”. Finally, in 1988, Senate Bill 840 included acupuncturists as “physicians” for the purposes of treating injured employees entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.


















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