NYSBC Opinion on Acupuncture

Current statute does not authorize chiropractors to use acupuncture as part of their practice. Article 160 of the Education Law authorizes those persons licensed in acupuncture to treat “diseases, disorders and dysfunctions of the body…by means of mechanical, thermal or electrical stimulation effected by the insertion of needles.” The definition of chiropractic in Article 132, section 6551, does not include such authorization.

Moreover, there is express language in the acupuncture law that establishes a pathway for physicians and dentists to meet regulatory requirements to be certified (not licensed) in acupuncture so they may offer those services within the lawful scope of medicine or dentistry, respectively. The law does not include a similar pathway for chiropractors or any other licensed health professionals.

Therefore, under current statutes, the practice of acupuncture is not within the lawful scope of chiropractic in this State and may not be provided by a chiropractor or any employee in the practice. In addition, physicians and dentists are the only licensees recognized under the law who may qualify as “certified acupuncturists.” Chiropractors may, however, meet requirements for licensure in the acupuncture profession, and offer such services separately under that license, but not as chiropractors. Any change in licensure requirements or scopes of practice involving chiropractic use of acupuncture in New York State would have to be pursued legislatively.

Norman G. Cohen
Executive Secretary


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