The profession of acupuncture has recently taken a huge step forward in the states of California and Maryland. These are the two first states to designate acupuncture as one the required therapies to be covered by all individual and small group insurance policies in those states beginning in 2014. The legislation is part of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – aka Obama Care – which requires states' insurance coverage to include 10 different categories of care with the details to be provided by individual states. The 10 different categories of care required by Obama Care are: ambulatory services, emergency care, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse care, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventative and wellness care and chronic disease management and pediatric care.

This new legislation is coming just months after acupuncture received a great validation by the NIH (National Institute of Health), stating that acupuncture IS a valid treatment of many types of pain as evidenced by controlled studies. A team of researchers from the NIH pooled the acumulated data from 29 controlled studies and painstakingly analyzed the design, content and results. The researchers took five years to thouroughly go over all the evidence and concluded that acupuncture is scientifically valid as an effective means of pain management. A more detailed account of this story can be found on my blog here:

The long and short of it is that acupuncture is gaining recognition and validation at an unprecidented rate. It appears the time is finally ripe for this ancient yet modernized, highly effective and cost effective medicine to take its place amongst the most respected of holistic therapies for all around physical, mental and emotional well being. For too long have detractors of acupuncture - for reasons involving power, control and money as per usual – downplayed the effectiveness of this thousands of years old therapy in order to keep people dependent on more invasive, wait until it's broken and then fix it type therapies. There is no doubt that both western and eastern medicines have their place in the quest for an optimally healthy human population. The innovation, technology and know how of western medicine is incredible when it comes to emergency medicine, surgery and state of the art diagnostics; but let's also give credit where credit is due on the holistic side. For between 4,000 and 6,000 years, Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have been utilized and systematically improved by millions of practitioners for the sole purpose of helping people to achieve homeostasis, balance and optimal health by the most non invasive means available.

Author's Bio: 

Terry M. Chen, L.Ac. has been practicing acupuncture for over 11 years. Having graduated from California State University Dominguez Hills with a B.A. in behavioral science and minor in psychology, he went on to study Traditional Chinese Medicine at Yo San University in Culver City, California. Following graduation he spent time in Beijing, China studying advanced acupuncture applications. He continues to pursue a specialty in orthopedic acupuncture, pain management and mental/ emotional wellness at his practice in Eugene, Oregon.