Education and licensure

Get Licensed

Want to become a licensed acupuncturist in Mississippi?
Step 1 – Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure http://www.msbml.state.ms.us/
Step 2 – Find the Rules and Regulations for the profession in Mississippi (Acupuncture is Chapter 17)

Most people do not know that becoming an acupuncturist requires over 3,000 hours of didactic course work and clinical training. One must enter a graduate program at an institution accredited by the United States Department of Education. After acceptance into the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program, a student has four years of study and the following requirements must be met in order to graduate:

  • Acupuncture & Techniques   528 hours
  • Chinese Herbal Training   636 hours
  • Clinical Training    1,008 hours
  • Biomedical Science   582 hours
  • Integral Studies: Oriental Medical Theories, Case Management,
  • Practice Management, Communications, Mind-Body, Asian Bodywork & Ethics   456 hours
  • Certification in Clean Needle Technique
  • CPR
    Total 3,210 hours

The full scope of Traditional Chinese medicine cannot be utilized without the adjunctive modalities, like herbal medicine, moxibustion and cupping that require the intensive study gained when a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine is awarded. The National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) only certifies practitioners who have passed their national board exam, as well completed the above requirements. An NCCAOM certified practitioner will have thousands of hours of course work dedicated to the entirety of Traditional Chinese medicine conjoined with the biomedical knowledge needed to refer patients to physicians in times of need.

Basic traditional concepts

Acupuncture has evolved over more than two millennia, improving depending on the results of treatment and adapting to changing social situations. The language of classical Chinese medical texts reflects the natural changes and metaphors of rural life, and describes the philosophy of people who live in harmony with the universe. The state of health reflects the harmonious or disharmonious existence of the patient within this large system, which entails the reaction of external indicators (breathing, temperature, humidity, dryness and cold), as well as internal ones – anger, agitation, anxiety, frustration and fear. Diseases are described in the same way, and their characteristics are given in poetic form, by dividing them into two opposites: yin and yang (internal or external, cold or hot, incomplete or excessive); with the help of indicators that relate to the elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), as well as by functional effects that have traditionally been associated with some internal organ. The classical anatomy of acupuncture consists of energy channels that cross the human body. The main energy pathways are named after the organs whose area of influence is determined depending on the traditional biomedical physiology, which includes functional, energetic and metaphorical qualities (for example, the kidneys are responsible for bones, bone marrow, joints, hearing, hair on the head, will and motivation; the spleen – for digestion, blood production, other functions related to blood: menstruation, growth). The anatomy of acupuncture is multi-layered, connecting a network of channels that establish the interaction between the internal and external state of each individual, allowing energy to move through the muscles and various organs.

The topmost layer of these channels is the musculoskeletal meridians, which are responsible for the interaction of the body with the external environment. They are the first to cause the protective functions of the body to the climatic state and external injuries. The main meridians pass through the muscles and provide nutrition to all the tissues for movement and physical activity. Special meridians run directly from the surface of the body deep to the organs and allow the nutrition and energy produced by the internal organs to circulate throughout the body. After all, a system of pathways called the meridians of arousal is connected to the main channels of acupuncture and serves as an energy reserve for extreme states: insufficiency or excess. The energy circulation network consists of three two-sided symmetrical planes that divide the body into six sagittal areas of influence. From each comes the energy received from the four organs to spread in its anatomical sphere of influence.

One picture shows a diagram of a plane in the energy circulation of acupuncture. The central rectangle is the main meridian subsystem, from which the energy circulation units come: musculoskeletal meridians on the surface, special meridians that go to the organs, and excitation meridians that create a connection between several major meridian subsystems. The second image shows a two-sided surface diagram of one of the main meridian subsystems. The third shows the connections of the organs, as well as the names for their energy channels: kidney-heart (Shao yin) and intestine-bladder (Tai Yang). The fourth figure shows the superficial arrangement of the musculoskeletal meridians of the kidneys and bladder, connected to two of the four organs that enclose the Shao Yin-Tai yang major meridian subsystems. The fifth image shows the deep paths of the special meridians for the same two organs. Each of the three two-sided symmetric subsystems has a similar scheme. The anatomical sphere of influence is related to the location of its sagittal plane and organs, including their energy circulation.

The classical physiology of acupuncture consists of a dozen internal organs that interact to create basic energy and blood from the ingested solid and liquid food, then mix them with spirit energy and propel the altered energy and blood through all the organs and tissues of the body. The organs are divided into six parinchymal, producing energy (solid, yin) and six internal, moving (hollow, yang). These groups form pairs (one yin and one yang), forming three symmetrical planes of energy movement. Pathology in acupuncture involves the early manifestation of disharmony associated with a barely noticeable violation of the organ, a violation of the movement of the cyst in one of the subsections of the circulation network that is associated with the organ, or a clear violation in the body’s metabolism.

Diagnoses in acupuncture include a description of the degree of manifestation of the disorder. Symptoms of diseases are organized according to the spheres of influence of organs, where early energy and functional symptoms are associated with an organ that is responsible for a disturbed anatomical area or physiological function (for example, a kidney is associated with the hair of the head, premature graying or baldness gives out a violation of the kidney). Obstacles in the movement of energy or blood along the main meridians manifest as musculoskeletal pain in the area of the channel ( for example, the main meridians of the bladder pass through the lower back; lumbar pain gives a violation of the flow of qi and blood through the channel).

Pathology of organs is identified both in traditional biomedical terms and in the terminology of acupuncture, as a violation of the physiological activity of organs (for example, urolithiasis is a violation of the kidneys and bladder and their spheres of influence). Acupuncture treatment involves acupuncture through the channels of the affected organs to stimulate the circulation of energy. This can have an impact on the problem in its degree of manifestation and, thus, restore the energy balance and the function of human organs.

Basic modern concepts

Since the late 70s of the 20th century, pain relief using acupuncture has demonstrated how it is possible to activate the endogenous system and thus influence the system of regulation of physical pain, changing the transmission and perception of negative information at various levels of the central nervous system. Two systems of acupuncture analgesia became the main ones: the endorphin-dependent system, which includes low-frequency, high-voltage electrical stimulation of acupuncture needles (2-3 Hz), slow at the beginning, it passes through the whole body, and then in the subsequent stimulation increases the effect, and the monoamine-dependent system, which includes high-frequency, low-voltage stimulation of needles (70 Hz and above), fast at the beginning.

Combining neurological samples with studies and assumptions about the mechanism of action of acupuncture, an exemplary model of an acupuncture needle was created, simultaneously stimulating various systems in the physiology of the body.

The nervous system, which includes peripheral efferent transmission, cardiovascular sympathetic conduction

The circulatory system, which carries biomolecular particles, and responds to the biochemical and cellular changes that are caused by acupuncture

The lymphatic system, which provides the movement of ions in the interstitial fluid circulation

Electro-magnetic bioinformatics system, which includes static electricity on the surface, the transfer of ions in the interstitial fluid between the needles and the places of contact with the needle, and neural transmission through the entire body.

Numerous information about acupuncture allows those who practice acupuncture to take into account not only classical examples for diagnosis and treatment, but also to take into account neuroanatomic and neurophysiological parameters. These considerations are particularly important for the use of acupuncture for analgesia, where knowledge of the neurohumoral neuropeptide structure is necessary.

Compensation

Despite the fact that there are currently no state standards on acupuncture for the optional insurance industry, many poles recognize acupuncture as a legal procedure that can be compensated. Due to the popularity and professional requirements of acupuncture, it seems that the insurance compensation will eventually become permanent. Acupuncture, especially when performed by an experienced specialist, combines many sections of medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is less compatible with Western methods of treatment, because the method of natural diagnosis, which is the basis of traditional Chinese medicine, is alien to most Western doctors.

Future prospects

Only now have the possibilities of acupuncture begun to open up. Future clinical studies and improvements in application will clarify how best to introduce acupuncture into the traditional healthcare system. Acupuncture offers an opportunity to cure diseases when conventional medicine is ineffective or has many side effects. Due to the fact that it is combined with many aspects of allopathy, acupuncture seems to become commonplace in private practice and in medical organizations.

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