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Is acupuncture just a "new age" fad?
This form of medicine has been practiced in the United States (in great capacity) for a relatively short 40 years, so I can see how some may wonder if it's just a “new age” fad.
Consider, though, its' long history of recorded practice and the many countries to which it has spread: From China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Nauru, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Africa, Canada, and of course the United States. Today, all these countries require legislation on some level, which typically requires specific education and licensure.
Here in America, we have about 50 schools which offer, at minimum, a Masters Degree program for acupuncture and/or Asian medicine. Further more, a Master Degree and Board Certification in this particular specialty is required in order to hold a license in states that legislate acupuncture and Asian medicine. Currently, including Washington D.C., there are 46 states that legislate acupuncture. With the rising demand, insurance companies are having to include acupuncture as a benefit for their insured. In January of this year (2009) a bill was posted to congress for acupuncture coverage under Medicare, although it has not yet passed.
The interest and demand for this form of alternative medicine is genuine. Since it is Americas fastest growing health care method, it's easy to see how it could obtain “fad” status. Be assured though, providers of this form of medicine are being held to the same standard as medical doctors, and it is definitely not just a passing fancy. In fact, MD's are increasingly referring their patients to acupuncture for various health concerns. Hospitals are contracting with acupuncturists, and soon enough acupuncturists will be on staff and it will have a more common place in hospital settings
as it already does in other countries.
Simply put, my answer is a resounding “NO!” Acupuncture is NOT just a “new age” fad.
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