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  • Dr. Leslie Deems, DACM, LAc.

Scope of Practice for Licensed Acupuncturists in the state of California

Below are a few commonly asked questions about what falls within the scope of practice for a licensed acupuncturist in the state of California. Laws and regulations that dictate how an acupuncturist can and can not practice is determined by state law. I hope this helps to clear up some common misconceptions.

What is included within the Scope of Practice for acupuncturists in the state of California? Licensed acupuncturists are allowed to practice acupuncture, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, heat/cold therapies, magnet therapies, perform massage and/or acupressure, prescribe herbs and supplements, teach breathing techniques, engage in nutritional consulting, order functional lab tests and X-rays and interpret these tests.

Do acupuncturists have the authority to diagnose? Acupuncturists are legally authorized to diagnose before treatment. We can not, however, claim to cure disease.

Are acupuncturists allowed to order and interpret laboratory tests? Licensed acupuncturists are allowed to order laboratory tests and to perform whats called functional medicine or interpretation of these labs. Some acupuncturists work with low cost labs where they can order diagnostic tests for their patients.

Does the state of California allow acupuncturists to practice independently? Acupuncturists are allowed to practice independently.

Are acupuncturists allowed to order x-rays? Licensed acupuncturists are allowed to order X-rays.

Are acupuncturists authorized to do intramuscular (IM) injections in the state of Califronia? Licensed acupuncturists are NOT allowed to do intramuscular (IM) injections.

Specific or new rules that apply to acupuncturists and are unique to California: Licensed acupuncturists are considered primary care providers. There are limitation within this statute though. We may not use the title Doctor to refer to ourselves unless we have completed the transitional doctoral or PhD program within our field. We can NOT practice homeopathy nor can we prescribe medications. We are NOT allowed to alter a patient’s medications, either increasing, or decreasing dosages or to take a patient off of medication prescribed by their doctor.

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