acupuncture model of human

Why Should I Choose a Registered Acupuncturist?

By Marcel Mallette, R.Ac

Why Should I Choose a Registered Acupuncturist?

Acupuncture has been used in China for over 2,500 years and is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. Today, as acupuncture continues to become popular, more medical practitioners (medical doctors, physiotherapists, naturopaths, and the like) are studying acupuncture and employing it in their practices, including other types of treatment such as “dry needling,” intra-muscular stimulation (IMS), and laser and auricular acupuncture, which are all originally based on TCM acupuncture.

Unfortunately, the amount of training in both theory and practice can vary. Often, only a very few number of acupuncture points are actually learned and used, and knowledge of both acupuncture diagnosis and treatment protocols can be limited. In some cases, the governing bodies of some of these other medical practitioners do not allow them to use or treat people with TCM diagnosis and/or acupuncture treatments.

The word acupuncture appears to be used by a large group of people. Don’t be fooled by it. They might use a needle for some type of treatment, but it is not TCM. If they are not a Registered Acupuncturist or a naturopath (and in some cases a medical doctor), it can be dangerous if the treatment is not done right and a misdiagnosis is made. After all, this is a medical treatment.

In British Columbia, the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA) regulates the practice of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. The CTCMA is a self-regulatory body that operates under the Health Professions Act and the TCM Practitioners and Acupuncturists Regulation and Bylaws.

A valid registration (professional licence) issued by the CTCMA is required in order to practise TCM and acupuncture in BC, and professional acupuncturists are designated by the title Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.).

Acupuncture is a very safe procedure when performed by a Registered Acupuncturist, as they have received mandatory acupuncture safety training in addition to over 450 hours of supervised clinical experience. A Registered Acupuncturist has three years of in-depth training in TCM medical theory and diagnosis, acupuncture point location, and needling techniques, and will be able to offer you an effective treatment plan for acupuncture. Attaining the R.Ac designation involves at least 1900 hours of training.

By making sure that your medical practitioner is a Registered Acupuncturist, you can be assured that they have received the most comprehensive acupuncture training of any medical profession and will provide you with the best benefits of acupuncture.

BC is the only province that covers a portion of acupuncture treatments under MSP for people who qualify for low premium rates, but only if these treatments are administered by Registered Acupuncturists.

If you are considering going for acupuncture treatments, either for pain relief or other health issues, keep in mind that proper training is important for you to receive the best treatment with good results. Too often I have heard that acupuncture didn’t work when it wasn’t done by a Registered Acupuncturist. After all, it is your body. Why not get the best treatments by properly trained people?

What do all the letters mean?

R.Ac. – Registered Acupuncturist

R.TCM.P. – Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Dr.TCM – Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Marcel Mallette, R.Ac., is a Registered Acupuncturist who studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Vancouver then moved to Vernon to eventually open Mountain Acupuncture & Laser Therapy on Silver Star Road. In this quiet, beautiful setting he uses TCM along with lasers to help with other ailments. The combination of both modalities has proven successful. Treating people is Marcel’s first passion as his goal is to help his patients with the least number of treatments and send them on their way to a better, healthier life. Visit

*Reprint from our Summer 2016 Issue.

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