Minnesota Acupuncture Association


We are happy to serve as a resource to members of the media when working on stories about acupuncture. Please feel free to contact Minnesota Acupuncture Association (MAA) with any questions. Here is some background information.

Emerging Topics In Acupuncture | The Profession In Our Culture | The Profession In the Marketplace | AOM In the News | Contact Us | Glossary

Emerging Topics In Acupuncture 

The rapidly growing interest in acupuncture and herbal medicine is in itself a story. In the last few years, this profession has gone from being a rarely-mentioned, uncommon alternative to having most major media outlets, both locally and nationally, run a number of stories on acupuncture and herbal medicine. Our profession is working to assure that these stories make responsible claims.

Our profession's focus on integrating our medicine with allopathic or Western medicine is another emerging topic. Acupuncture is a well-developed complete system of medicine that can be effectively used for a number of conditions. It can also be used as a complement to other forms of health care. While our terminology and system of diagnosis are quite different from other methods of care, we are working to help other health care providers understand what we do and how we can aid their patients to obtain a better outcome by working together. A number of major health care organizations nationally and regionally are utilizing acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Another important topic in today's marketplace is the focus on health care costs and providing the best return for the healthcare dollar. Acupuncture's methods have always included prevention and early intervention, as well as low-tech care that is extremely cost-effective. As the American healthcare system learns to focus on prevention, this medicine is well-poised to provide effective care at this stage in the health cycle.

The Profession In Our Culture

Acupuncture is often thought of as a method of care for conditions that fall through the cracks of western (allopathic) medicine. In a majority of cases, patients initially seek out treatment due to word of mouth from someone who has been helped by this medicine. People will commonly first discover the benefits of this medicine when they have chronic pain that is not remedied or only temporarily relieved by medication and then discover how many other conditions it alleviates.

The American culture is beginning to shift its healthcare focus toward prevention. At the same time, natural forms of careare becoming important to many. The diagnostic methods in this medicine identify imbalances and allow for intervention before illness may arise. The care provided in this medicine targets making use of the body's innate ability to heal naturallyand utilizes a focus on healthy diet and lifestyle as cornerstones of its treatment.

The Profession In the Marketplace

Who uses this medicine?
People who have thought about acupuncture often know it can be used for pain relief. However, acupuncture is one part of a whole system of medicine that is designed to treat most illnesses. Bit by bit, the research is beginning to show broader application for the medicine.

The most common users of complementary medicines are college-educated females between the ages of 35-55. However, we see patients of all ages: children who get help with allergies, women using it as an alternative to medical fertility work or as a companion to it, people of advanced age who are struggling with chronic illness and limited on what medications they might take, athletes wanting to improve their performance, as well as people who choose to utilize more natural methods of care.

As people shift their focus to prevention, many are coming for ‘well care'. This medicine identifies imbalances in the body before there is enough of a shift that there are measurable lab changes or symptoms.

Teaming with other providers
More and more often, acupuncture and herbal medicine are being used as a complement to Western medicine. Here are some examples of how the two work well together:

      • People undergoing chemotherapy can use acupuncture and herbs to treat side effects such as nausea and fatigue.
      • People recovering from a medical procedure can use acupuncture for pain relief and to help them regain strength.
      • People who have had a stroke can utilize this medicine to speed their rehabilitation and restore function.
      • Women who are going through in vitro fertilization procedures can use this medicine to increase their pregnancy rates.
      • People who have a condition that is not resolvedthrough a Western medical procedure can utilize this medicine to help manage symptoms.

An increasing number of insurers are covering treatment by acupuncture. In 2009, the Equal Access to Acupuncture law was enacted requiring insurance companies that cover acupuncture provided by other health professionals also cover care provided by licensed acupuncturists.

What does a practice look like?
When seeking out treatment, there are several types of practices one may encounter. Here are a few examples:

      • Independent practitioner-owned practices.
      • Group practices where practitioners practice within a group.
      • Practices that share space with other health care practitioners such as physicians, massage therapists, and chiropractors.
      • Several medical institutions employ acupuncturists, including hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and large clinics.
      • Community acupuncture settings where acupuncture is provided in a group setting and fees are low cost or on a sliding scale.

Required credentialing
Professional licensure in Minnesota is governed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. The license granted is ‘Licensed Acupuncturist' or LAc. In order to be licensed in this state, candidates must become nationally certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. There are seven states in the United States that do not have acupuncture licensure laws or regulation.

Practitioners must have completed a master's degree in acupuncture or Oriental medicine in order to become nationally certified. Schools offering these master's degrees are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), the national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This master's degree is offered as the culmination of approximately 3,000 hours of combined didactic and clinical instruction.

AOM in the news

Recent news stories

  • Air Force is training warzone physicians in acupuncture    Full story
  • Veterans are Using Acupuncture for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder   Full story
  • Acupuncture is featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show    Full story

Press releases

Contact us

If you would like to develop a feature story about AOM, we would be happy to work with you. Inquiries should be directed to our president, Aaron Schindler.

Here are some ideas for topics that could be featured:

      • AOM's focus on prevention
      • AOM's focus on natural care
      • Community acupuncture
      • Varied settings for receiving care (spa, hospital, clinic, rehab facility)
      • The cost-effectiveness of holistic approaches
      • Focus on a specific condition (stress, pain relief, digestion, sleep)
      • How AOM is integrating with other forms of health care
      • The evolution of this profession in Minnesota
      • How consumers can advocate for insurance coverage with the new laws 


  • American Association of Acupuncture Oriental Medicine (AAAOM): The national professional association whose goal is to promote excellence and integrity in the professional practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, in order to enhance public health and well-being.
  • Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM): The national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit Master's-level programs in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.
  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM): The credentialing organization that certifies practitioners. Its purpose is to establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public.

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