In the US it has been possible to get an academic degree in acupuncture since the 1980s. At this time, the standard acupuncture and oriental medicine program is 4 years, year round, after at least 2 years of prerequisite undergrad classes. There are two accrediting agencies for acupuncture schools: the California Acupuncture Board and NCCAOM (The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). The US Department of Education recognizes the NCCAOM as the degree granting authority in the field of acupuncture, allowing acupuncture schools to offer federal financial aid. California’s state laws for acupuncture education are above and beyond NCCAOM certifications. Every California Acupuncture Board accredited school is also accredited by the NCCAOM, but not vice versa.
I went to arguably the best school of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the United States, Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles. My program of study was over 3,000 hours after college. I completed a year of intern and externships, where I treated hundreds of patients. This was over the course of 4 years, after which I had earned my master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. After graduation, I took and passed the California Acupuncture Exam and the NCCAOM exams, totaling 14 hours of testing. Soon after, I was one of the first 2 students ever to be offered a job as a clinic supervisor in the Yo San University Clinic, without already having been licensed and practicing for several years. Besides a job, this provided me with continued hands on training, since I was still in a school clinic interfacing with doctors who were previously my supervisors, who got their education in China and have been practicing for decades, and who I had the utmost respect for. I also took, and must continue to take, continuing education classes to keep my licenses current.
“My program of study was over 3,000 hours AFTER college!”
The initials L.Ac. indicate a California licensed acupuncturist, Dipl. Ac. or Dipl. Om are NCCAOM certifications. I hold both credentials. My license in California, where acupuncturists are primary care physicians, is AC13585. In my native state of Nebraska, I am Licensed Acupuncturist # 29. In Nebraska acupuncturists cannot use the title of doctor or MD. However, medical doctors and chiropractors are allowed to practice acupuncture with no additional training in Nebraska. Any training they have is from continuing education courses, which acupuncturists are also required to take. Neither learn Chinese medicine in school, so their training is limited and incomparable to the training of a licensed acupuncturist. You should know the difference before you try this medicine. You would certainly be able to feel the difference.
After another round of asthma and severe allergy symptoms last winter, my chiropractor suggested I try an acupuncturist he had just met. At the time I was using two inhalers and a nasal spray with only a little symptomatic and temporary relief. I had also modified my diet and was exercising regularly, but was still extremely miserable. After one acupuncture treatment from Troy, my symptoms improved dramatically. After the second treatment a few days later, I no longer needed the inhalers and have had no asthma symptoms since. My chronic allergy symptoms have pretty much disappeared, too. The subsequent treatments also helped with sleep difficulties and digestive troubles. I highly recommend Troy Heinrichs who is now my "go to" health provider
Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a painful disease that cuts off blood supply to the bones, causing them to die and ultimately collapse. I immediately went to one of the foremost orthopedic clinics in the US and consulted with a leading specialist who told me that my MRI showed the disease had already killed my left femur from my hip midway to my knee. To make matters worse, I had recently been involved in an accident that cracked the same femur in numerous places and, with no blood supply to help it heal, the bone was in imminent danger of collapsing. By this time, I was able to walk only with a cane and then painfully. The one solution the doctor could offer was to cut out the damaged bone and replace it with a prosthesis. I elected to postpone any surgery and contacted Troy to see if there might be alternatives. Making no promises, he said he thought he could help. Though I've been away from Lincoln on business more than 50% of the time in the 10 months since then, I have been treated by Troy when I'm in town. As a result, I can once again walk normally without a cane and the pain is 95% eliminated. Last week I returned to the orthopedic clinic for my one-year follow up MRI. After reviewing the new images, the doctor said, "This is positive beyond anything I would expect!" In fact, he told me he no longer recommends surgery and that if I continue at the same rate, I could be free of the disease within two years.