Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Legal and Policy History of Acupuncture in Texas


1984 Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources Report: The Regulation of Acupuncture in Texas

1984 House Committee on Human Services Interim Report (see page 162)

1984 House Committee on Public Health Interim Report (see page 24)

Opinion No. JM-125 | February 16, 1984: determines medical board rules regulating acupuncture are unconstitutional.


1993 SB-1062 (effective 9/1/93) establishes acupuncture as a licensed profession.

Opinion No. DM-336 | March 21, 1995: on title usage by acupuncturists.

1995 SB-673 (effective 6/16/95): clarifies that chiropractic does not include incisive procedures - with the one clear exception of using needles for blood draws, as follows:

A person shall be regarded as practicing chiropractic within the meaning of this Act if the person...performs nonsurgical, nonincisive <uses adjustment, manipulation, or other> procedures, including but not limited to adjustment and manipulation, in order to improve the subluxation complex or the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.

The practice of chiropractic shall not be construed to include: incisive or surgical procedures


In this Act, "incisive or surgical procedure" includes but is not limited to making an incision into any tissue, cavity,or organ by any person or implement.  It does not include the use of a needle for the purpose of drawing blood for diagnostic testing,

Opinion No. DM-415 | September 23, 1996: determines acupuncture to not be within the scope of chiropractic.

1997 SB-361 (effective 9/1/97): Against the will of the acupuncture community and at the behest of the chiropractic association the legislature changes the definition of acupuncture from "the insertion of an acupuncture needle" to "the non-surgical, non-incisive insertion of an acupuncture needle".

Opinion No. DM-471 | March 30, 1998: based on new "non-incisive" definition of acupuncture, determines acupuncture is within the scope of chiropractic.


Opinion No. JC-0379 | May 23, 2001: The TBCE asks if spinal manipulation is within the scope of Licensed Acupuncturists. The AG concludes Tui Na is not within the statutory definition of the practice of acupuncture.


April 5, 2012 The Third Court of Appeals voids Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners needle electromyography rules in TBCE vs TMA NO. 03-10-00673-CV


April 10, 2013 TAAOM testifies on dry needling

May 23, 2013 TSBAE sends request for a review of DM-471 to Attorney General Greg Abbott. The AG declines to take up the issue.

May, 2013 TSBAE publishes CPT Code Billing Position Statement


February 5, 2014 TAAOM files petition in Travis County District Court seeking a Declaratory Judgment against the Texas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

July 31, 2014 TSBAE notifies the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners that dry needling is acupuncture and that PTs practicing dry needling are considered to be practicing acupuncture without a license.

October 31, 2014 Meeting between the Chairs of TSBAE and Physical Therapy Board.

October 31, 2014 TAAOM's Motion for Summary Judgment and  Defendant's Motion filed.

November 21, 2014 Response to Motions filed: TAAOM's and TBCE's.

December 5, 2014 TAAOM's Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment and TBCE's Reply.


TAAOM v. TBCE to the Third Court of Appeals:

February 4, 2015 Court order denying TAAOM's Motion for Summary Judgment

August 10, 2015 TAAOM Appellate Brief filed in Austin Third Court of Appeals

October 14, 2015 TBCE Motion to Strike and Appellee's Brief

October 29, 2015 TAAOM response to Motion to Strike

November 18, 2015 Reply Brief of Appellant TAAOM

December 2, 2015 Oral arguments are heard in TAAOM v. TBCE

Here are the Amicus Briefs filed with the Third Court of Appeals in support of TAAOM:

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Accreditation Commision for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

The Student Associations of AOMA and ACAOM

The Texas Medical Association

The Chiropractic Society of Texas

The International Federation of Chiropractors and Organizations

And the lone Amicus opposing TAAOM submitted by the Texas Chiropractic Association

Dry Needling in Texas

April 7, 2015 TAAOM written testimony to House Public Health Committee opposing HB1263, which would allow Physical Therapists to practice without physician referral.

November 9, 2015 TSBAE requests AG Opinion on Dry Needling by Physical Therapists

December 10, 2015 Texas Board of PT Examiners response

December 14, 2015 TAAOM provides supporting documentation to the TSBAE opinion request on dry needling.


April 22, 2016 TAAOM public comments to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission on the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners Sunset Staff Report

Opinion No. KP-0082 | May 9, 2016 on trigger point dry needling by physical therapists

June 23, 2016 TAAOM provides public testimony to the Sunset Commission on the PT Board. The meeting archived is archived here. The PT Board board testimony is at time stamp 4:22:35, TAAOM at 5:49:25.

August 18, 2016 Third Court of Appeals issues Opinion in TAAOM vs TBCE, overruling AG Opinion DM-471.

October 4, 2016 TAAOM files Motion for Rehearing in litigation with TBCE.

November 8, 2016 TAAOM petitions TBCE to strike rule 78.14 based on DM-471 being invalidated by Third Court opinion.

November 16, 2016 TAAOM provides public comments to the Sunset Commission on the Chiropractic Board.

December 9, 2016 TAAOM members provide oral testimony to the Sunset Commission on the practice of acupuncture in Texas as part of the Texas Medical Board's Sunset review. Testimony is here, at time stamp 3:59:25.

December 29, 2016 TBCE Response to TAAOM Motion for Rehearing .


January 6, 2017 TBCE Rules Committee convenes to discuss TAAOM's rule petition submitted November, 2016.

January 11, 2017 Senator Kirk Watson proposes a new item for inclusion in the Texas Medical Board's Sunset bill which would require Doctors of Chiropractic to have a license issued by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners in order to practice acupuncture. The item is withdrawn and not voted on.

January 10, 2017 TAAOM Reply in Support of Motion for Rehearing

March 17, 2017 TAAOM sends a formal letter to TBCE proposing to engage in settlement discussions.

May 18, 2017 TBCE moves to abate litigation and enter into negotiated rulemaking with TAAOM.

July 17, 2017 TBCE and TAAOM file Joint Motion to Abate pending litigation.

August 1, 2017 Agreed Order Granting Joint Motion to Abate

August 17, 2017 TBCE moves to engage in a series of informal conferences to consider specific changes to Rule 78.14 rather than engage in negotiated rulemaking

August 23, 2017 Representative Senfronia Thompson letter to TBCE and TAAOM encouraging the parties work together in good faith to find a solution to pending litigation.

August 26, 2017 meeting between TAAOM and TBCE cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey

October 17, 2017  Initial re-scheduled TBCE Acupuncture Workgroup Meeting

November 3,  2017 Second meeting of TBCE Acupuncture Workgroup takes place


February 15, 2018 TAAOM President Wally Doggett speaks at TBCE Meeting to reiterate continuing commitment to the consensus rule making process to negotiate a rule regarding the use of acupuncture in the practice of chiropractic.

April 11, 2018 Third and final meeting of TBCE Acupuncture Workgroup

June 20, 2018 TBCE votes to repeal and replace the Board's acupuncture  rule 78.14, to be published for public comment in the Texas Register July 6, 2018. The new proposed rule language is here. TBCE mischaracterizes the proposed rule as addressing all concerns of the acupuncture stakeholders.

TAAOM submits robust comments on both the repeal and replacement of TBCE rule 78.14. In the preamble to the repeal of 78.14, TBCE does not acknowledge receipt of TAAOM's comments.

November 8, 2018 TBCE votes to adopt its replacement to acupuncture rule 78.14. Despite being significantly different than the rule as proposed, the rule is characterized as being adopted with "non-substantive" changes. Notably, in the preamble to the new rule, TBCE does not acknwledge having received comments from the the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners - which can be read here.

TCA comments, dated Sept. 27, 2018 which grossly mistate TAAOM's positions and the scope of "negotiations" can be found  here.


TAAOM and TBCE agree to further abate litigation while the Legislature is in session.

Rep. Gene Wu introduces HB3194. The intention of this bill was to provide long overdue clarification to the Acupuncture Chapter of the Occupations Code. The bill received a hearing on April 4 before the House Subcommittee on Health Professions, which can be heard here (time stamp 3:55:06 / 5:49:15).

Chiropractic advocates introduce HB2869, a bill which would have affirmatively authorized the practice of acupuncture by chiropractors in the Chiropractic Chapter.

September 4, 2019 TAAOM files our Third Amended Petition for Declaritory Relief in Travis County District Court, resuming litigation with TBCE that began in 2014.

October 17, 2019 Texas Chiropractic Association announces it has intervened in the lawsuit in support of TBCE.


April 26, 2022 TAAOM files our Fourth Amended Petition for Declaratory Relief.

May 31, 2022 TBCE and TCA (Defendant and Intervenor) file Traditional Motion for Summary Judgement, which was subsequently withdrawn.

June 6, 2022 TBCE and TCA file Joint Motion to Limit Discovery and Issues for Decision.

July 28, 2022 Virtual hearing on Defendant's Motion to Limit Discovery presided over by the Honorable Jan Soifer, 345th District Court. Motion is denied August 19, 2022.

TBCE and TCA file Petition for Writ of Mandamus with the Third Court of Appeals in an attempt to compel the lower Court to limit discovery. Petition is denied August 31, 2022.

October 3, 2022 TAAOM files Motion to Compel Discovery.

September 26, 2022 TBCE and TCA file Petition for Writ of Mandamus with Texas Sumpreme Court.

October 12, 2022 TBCE and TCA file a Motion for Temporary Relief to stay Court proceedings until Texas Supreme Court can review previously submitted Writ of Mandamus.

October 21, 2022 TAAOM files Response in Opposition to TBCE/TCA Motion for Temporary Relief with Texas Supreme Court.

November 1, 2022 The Texas Supreme Court requests a response to the TBCE/TCA Petition for Writ of Mandamus - due November 28.

September 14, 2023 TAAOM Closing Arguments in TAAOM vs. TBCE

September 22, 2023 TBCE Closing Arguments in TAAOM vs. TBCE

September 27, 2023 TAAOM Rebuttal to Defendant's Closing Statements