For patient and public safety, acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioners are licensed and regulated by each state. While most states require licensure, a few (e.g. Michigan) require registration. Alabama, South Dakota and Oklahoma do not have any license or registration requirements. Other states, including Missouri and Louisiana may require physician referral or oversight.
Each state has a Board of Medicine or Independent Acupuncture Board which is empowered to oversee licensure, scope of practice and oversight of complaints and investigations. The scope of practice determines what a practitioner is allowed to do in actual practice. Diagnostic evaluation, treatment of animals and permissible complementary therapies are all defined within a state’s scope of practice.
The state Board may also be involved in rule-making, which is interpretation of the state’s statute. See a breakdown of acupuncture-related legal information by state for more information.
As with all legislation, changes in state acupuncture statutes and scopes of practice require bill passage. State acupuncture and herbal medicine professional organizations work with rule-makers to effect legislative change. To learn more, see this interactive map of pending AOM legislation by state.