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acupuncturistA practitioner of acupuncture; a formally designated acupuncturist is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
There are currently approximately 5,000 acupuncture practitioners in the US, and 30 schools that offer training in acupuncture; the curriculum consists of 2,400 hours of instruction taken over 3–4 years; some acupuncturists are MDs; many belong to the Am Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
acupuncture(ak′yŭ-pŭngk″chŭr) [ acu- + puncture]
A technique for treating pain, producing regional anesthesia, treating acute or chronic illness (such as hormonal, immune, or orthopedic), or preventing disease by passing thin needles through the skin into specific points on the body. The free ends of the needles are manually twirled, heated by moxa or moxibustion, or connected to a weak electrical current. They are then typically left in place for about 20 min. Although acupuncture has a variety of uses in Asia and Europe, in the U.S. it is principally considered a treatment for local pain. It is often used in combination with other therapies, including massage, meditation, and herbal remedies. Research suggests that acupuncture relieves pain by stimulating the release of endogenous opioids, other neurotransmitters (such as serotonin), and by directly affecting afferent nerve fibers. Acupuncture has also been found to be effective in veterinary applications. In the U.S. professional proficiency in acupuncture is attained by passing an examination administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.acupuncturist (-chŭ-rist)