Ready to Learn More About Acupuncture?

Interested in learning more about what acupuncture is all about? You’ve come to the right place. The following frequently asked questions and answers are a great place to start. Scroll to the bottom of the Q&A list to read two comprehensive articles about medical acupuncture.

  • What conditions can acupuncture treat?

    Ultimately, the best answer will come from an experienced and qualified acupuncture practitioner. The practitioner, based on your medical history, condition, and what other treatments you have been or are receiving, can best help you decide whether acupuncture is suitable by itself or as adjunctive therapy. Please search the Find an Acupuncturist directory on this website for a physician acupuncturist near you.

  • What is an acupuncture treatment like?

    This is a difficult question to answer because of the wide variations in the styles of acupuncture performed. The acupuncturist you select should be able to describe the session in detail to you before he or she begins treatment. Generally speaking, 3-15 needles will be placed. The needles are very, very thin and are not inserted deeply; the needles should not cause pain. Some patients describe slight tingling or heat sensations where the needles are placed. The needles will remain in place for 10-20 minutes while you lie still and relax.

  • What training is required to practice acupuncture?

    The AAMA holds its diverse membership to the highest standards of training and proficiency among North American physicians (MDs and DOs) practicing acupuncture. Some physician acupuncturists pursue advanced training and credentialing, including a board certification designation DABMA (Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture) and FAAMA (Fellow of the American Academy of Acupuncture), both of which require a minimum of 300 hours of acupuncture education.

    Non-physician acupuncturists may also hold credentials indicating their education and training levels. Some examples are:

    • LAc – Licensed Acupuncturist
    • MAOM – Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
    • DAOM – Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
    • Dipl. Ac. – Diplomate in Acupuncture
  • How do I find a qualified acupuncturist?

    AAMA members listed in the Find an Acupuncturist directory on this website have all completed extensive training in acupuncture techniques, alongside their medical education. If you are considering non-physician practitioners, experts recommend checking with your state medical board to review licensing requirements. Look, too, for certification from the NCCAOM, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

    Please refer to previous question for information about titles, credentials and training.

  • Does insurance cover acupuncture?

    More and more insurance companies, as well as Medicare/Medicaid, are covering acupuncture for some conditions, but the only way to know for sure if you’re covered is to call and speak directly with your insurance provider. The billing team at your physician’s office may also be able to provide information to help you determine if your condition meets your insurance provider’s eligibility standards for coverage.

  • My doctor doesn’t offer acupuncture. What do I do next?

    If you’ve asked your primary care physician about acupuncture and he or she doesn’t provide the service, ask for referrals to colleagues in the practice, in the health care system or in your community. You may find it helpful to print out the names of AAMA members in your area (search our Find an Acupuncturist link directory for member names) and take it with you to your next appointment with your doctor. Together, you can discuss potential providers.

    If your doctor has questions about whether acupuncture will be a helpful part of your treatment plan, please refer him or her to the AAMA website section For Physicians, where we’ve highlighted relevant research and scientific evidence.

  • Where can I learn about acupuncture for military service members and veterans?

    In recent years, U.S. military and VA health providers have increasing included acupuncture and other forms of alternative and complementary medicine in the treatments they offer to individuals in active duty and to our veterans. Ongoing legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress address increased access and affordability of these services. To learn more, visit these sites:

    Note: Although there has been discussion recently (2019-2020) about covering acupuncture services, TRICARE does NOT offer such coverage at this time. Some VA facilities do offer acupuncture services at low or no cost, but demand may be high.