« Previous | Main | Next »

Perspectives from Other Health Professions and Nations

Little Hover Commission 2004

Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework

Some stakeholders argued that California should raise its educational standards to match those in Asian schools. However, in Asia there are multiple paths for studying acupuncture, including tutorial, vocational, college and university training. 84

The education of acupuncturists and traditional practitioners in Asia is not significantly incorporated into the training in modern medical schools. Acupuncture in Asia is taught primarily in schools devoted to traditional practices. In addition, some modern medical schools have sections exploring the scientific application of acupuncture.85

In many Asian hospitals, acupuncturists work side by side with MDs, providing intern opportunities for new acupuncturists in team settings.86 A minority of practitioners study both traditional and biomedical approaches to healing to the degree of becoming proficient practitioners of both.87

In China, according to a professor and party official at Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are multiple paths and levels of study in acupuncture institutes and traditional programs, and the Chinese government has moved toward requiring licensure and establishing research programs in modern medical schools to learn more about acupuncture's efficacy.88 In Japan, acupuncture is taught in vocational schools, colleges and universities and passing a national entry examination is required prior to practice.89

In Japan, China, Australia, England and British Columbia, acupuncture and herbs are sometimes taught together and sometimes separately. Japan, Australia, England and British Columbia recognize acupuncturists and herbalists as different professions with separate licensure or recognition.90 China's licensure and education is not uniform in the cities and rural areas, where traditional practices are more prevalent and not as regulated. 91 England and British Columbia also recognize practitioners of traditional Oriental medicine as a higher level of training that includes acupuncture, herbs, and other traditional therapies. In Australia, acupuncture and herbs are often practiced in separate clinics.92 Australia has an educational structure that has a bachelor's degree as the first professional degree, and master's degrees can be obtained subsequently.93 In Cuba, MD degrees are required as pre-requisites for the study of acupuncture.94 And The World Health Organization recommends entry-level training for acupuncture that does not include herbs.95

The Commission did not conduct an exhaustive comparison between California's regulatory approach and the scheme used in other countries. In its cursory review, it did see some interesting attempts to integrate traditional and biomedical health care. But the Commission did not find any reason to suggest that California policy-makers should fundamentally rethink the current standards of setting educational requirements to meet the current scope of practice focused on traditional Oriental medicine. And it did not find any educational model that fused traditional and Western medicine into a single practice.



Also On This Topic

Managed Hosting by BlueCliffHosting.com