Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Consumer advisory

Does your chiropractor also do acupuncture? If so, ask them about their training.
Did you know...

•   In 1997, just four years after acupuncture became a licensed and regulated profession in Texas, chiropractic advocates persuaded the Texas Legislature to amend the definition of acupuncture in the Occupations Code - from the logical and straightforward "insertion of an acupuncture needle..." to the "nonincisive, nonsurgical insertion of an acupuncture needle". 

Because chiropractic is defined as a non-surgical, non-incisive procedure, then Attorney General Dan Morales reversed a previous opinion which had determined acupuncture to not be within the chiropractic scope of practice. A new opinion DM-471 was issued which reasoned that by reading the Acupuncture and Chiropractic sections of the Occupations together, acupuncture could be construed as within the chiropractic scope of practice.

This rationale of claiming statutory authority from the Acupuncture Chapter of the Occupations code has been the legal basis for the TBCE's allowing its licensees to practice acupuncture without a license issued by the Acupuncture Board.

•  Under Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiner's rules adopted in 2009, a chiropractor can practice acupuncture in Texas with as little as 100 hours training - with zero hours clinical training in acupuncture.

•  If your chiropractor is a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture be aware that this is a 105 hour training, the bulk of which can be done online.

•  There are various programs available offering diplomate status in acupuncture to chiropractors. These programs range from 205 hours to 300 hours. Some require a board exam, some do not. Some chiropractors mistakenly represent themselves as diplomates after taking the NBCE exam, even though the NBCE very specifically does not confer diplomate status.

•  Some of these short programs also include a few hours in Chinese herbal medicine. A licensed acupuncturist in Texas is required by law to have 450 hours of classroom training in Chinese herbology, plus clinical hours. Acupuncture is part of the broader field of Oriental Medicine, which is what your Licensed Acupuncturist is trained in. It is not innately part of Chiropractic.

•  While the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners has claimed authority to regulate the practice of acupuncture, they do not actually know how many or which chiropractors are performing acupuncture, or with what level of training.

• In February 2014 the Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine filed suit against the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, challenging their authority to adopt rules regulating the practice of acupuncture.

• August 2016 the Third Court of Appeals issued an Opinion which invalidates the legal rationale of DM-471, but falls short of voiding TBCE rules adopted based on this rationale.