Yes, acupuncture is extremely safe when licensed acupuncturists are administering acupuncture. Only sterile, single-use, stainless steel needles approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are used. Acupuncture needles are considered a medical device. Acupuncturists must pay a state medical tax in order to treat patients. Licensed Acupuncturists must pass Boards exams in order to become certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and are licensed by the state of Minnesota through the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Anyone can check the MN Board of Medical Practice prior to seeing any medical practitioner be sure of his/ her claimed expertise.
Non-licensed (only certified) acupuncturists use the term “Dry Needling” as a legal loophole to get around having to complete years of additional training required to become licensed in their state as an acupuncturist by claiming it is not acupuncture, though acupuncture needles are used on acupuncture points. Another claim for dry needling is the argument that motor points and trigger points are used. However, licensed acupuncturists also treat using motor points and trigger points.
The main difference between licensed and non-licensed acupuncturists, when it comes to the safety of the patient, is in the hours and depth of training received when comparing the two…Some states only require 12.5 hours of acupuncture training (some non-licensed acupuncturists). Licensed acupuncturists receive over 2,000 hours of acupuncture training!
Be sure to ask if your acupuncturist is licensed to ensure your safety is being placed in an expert practitioner’s hands.