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The Training of Acupuncturists vs. Chiropractors Practicing Acupuncture: What You Should Know


As the demand for holistic healthcare options like acupuncture and chiropractic care grows, so does the range of professionals offering these services. While both acupuncturists and chiropractors can offer acupuncture, their training backgrounds differ significantly. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about your healthcare needs.

The Training of Acupuncturists

Educational Background

A licensed acupuncturist typically completes a three-to-four-year master's degree program in acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine. These programs cover extensive theory, diagnostics, and hands-on clinical experience specifically focused on acupuncture and related modalities.

Board Exams

Acupuncturists must pass comprehensive board exams to demonstrate their competency. These exams cover a broad range of topics, including acupuncture points, meridians, diagnostics, and safety protocols.

Continuing Education

Licensed acupuncturists are also required to complete continuing education credits regularly to stay updated on best practices and emerging trends.

The Training of Chiropractors Practicing Acupuncture

Educational Background

Chiropractors attend a doctoral program centered around spinal adjustments and musculoskeletal issues. While some chiropractors opt to take additional courses in acupuncture, these are typically shorter in duration—sometimes just a few weekends or a 100-hour course.

Board Exams

Chiropractors must pass board exams in chiropractic care. However, their board exams may not cover acupuncture in depth unless they opt for additional certifications.

Continuing Education

Like acupuncturists, chiropractors must also engage in ongoing education, but this is generally focused on chiropractic care rather than acupuncture.

What Does This Mean for Patients?

When choosing a healthcare provider for acupuncture, it's crucial to consider their level of expertise and training in this specific field. While chiropractors offering acupuncture services are certainly capable practitioners, their training in acupuncture is generally less comprehensive than that of a licensed acupuncturist.


Both acupuncturists and chiropractors have unique skill sets that contribute to holistic healthcare, but their training backgrounds differ significantly, especially when it comes to acupuncture. Understanding these differences can empower you to make informed decisions about your wellness journey.


If you're looking for specialized acupuncture treatment, consider booking an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist, who has undergone extensive training specifically in this area of healthcare.

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