Article Index

John A. Amaro D.C., FIACA,, Dipl.Ac

Some time ago an item came across my desk which I felt was of vital interest concerning the practice statistics of acupuncturist. The statistics were collected from a total of 204 practitioners of the 600 practitioners who belonged to their state Acupuncture Association making the number of respondees in relation to the number of members a very good cross section of acupuncturist. The male/female ratio was approximately the same and the median age was 41 years old. 77% of the respondents were Caucasian and 18% were Asian.

Concerning education, 28% had either one or two years of formal training, 53% had received three or four years formal schooling. Only 7% had five to seven years of schooling.

At the time the survey was conducted, just 59% of the acupuncturists practiced full time which was defined as more than 30 hours per week. Of these practitioners 81% had practiced less than 10 years.

In terms of the numbers of patients seen by acupuncturist the statistics are less than stellar. 52% of the practitioners saw less than 15 patients daily. 28% of practitioners saw less than 6 patients daily. Only 16% of acupuncturist saw in excess of 15 patients in a day. To bring it closer to true perspective, 60% of acupuncture practitioners saw less than 30 patients weekly. Only 13% saw between 50 and 80 patients a week.

The average fee charged by acupuncturist was $75.00 for the first visit with $45.00 to $50.00 per visit being typical. 32% of the respondents stated 75% of their patients paid cash. 42% of the respondents stated less than 25% of their patients were covered by private insurance.

58% of practitioners reported their acupuncture practice was their sole source of income. Income reported is for the gross amount before expenses. 40% earned less than $30,000 yearly with 19% earning between $30,000 and $50,000. 24% stated they grossed between $51,000 and $100,000. Whereas 18% stated on the survey they earned more than $100,000 yearly gross income.

Sadly, it was reported that a full 40% of the respondents reported overheads as high as 60% of their gross revenues. With a full 24% reporting overhead expenses greater than 60% of their gross incomes. Bear in mind with the very low gross income, the overhead percentage is greatly increased.

The use of disposable needles was reported by 91% of respondents. A full 71% of practicing acupuncturists use commercially manufactured herbal formulas. 63% performed ear acupuncture. 53% performed massage. 53% performed moxibustion. 45% used counseling regarding emotional issues. 44% taught breathing or exercises.
41% performed electroacupuncture. 37% performed cupping. 31% performed physiotherapy modalities. 24% prescribed Tai Chi or Qi Gong. 19% performed muscle testing.

The conditions seen and reported by acupuncturist are sciatic, low back pain, bursitis, acute muscular strain, tendonitis, migraine, tension headaches, insomnia, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, pre-menstrual syndrome, immune disorders, sinus infection, pain of fractures, osteoporosis, muscular atrophy, myocardial infarction, Raynaud's syndrome, post CVA, cranial nerve disorders, hyperactivity, attention deficit syndrome, encephalopathy, head injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, cardiac murmur, pneumonia, asthma, emphysema, alopecia, appendicitis, ulcers, hernias, hemorrhoids, parasitic infections, kidney infections, bladder infection, infertility, prostate disorder, obesity, pituitary disorder, diabetes, ear infection, measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, HIV infection, AIDS and cancer.

Please bear I mind, these statistics are for those practitioners of acupuncture only, they do not represent other medical/chiropractic practitioners who use acupuncture as an adjunct to their practice.

As acupuncturist aggressively seek licensure in all States, we are now seeing the brick throwing, mud slinging tactics of this new profession in their attempt to discredit those D.C.'s who have added acupuncture to their practice through State Board regulated Graduate School hours of education. Please remember acupuncturists, the D.C.'s who have added acupuncture to their armamanterium do not have to learn anatomy, physiology and the multitude of basic sciences which are required in the acupuncture college. They have already done that!!!!!!!! Therefore, it is not necessary for us to sit in a college for 2,400 hours for the express purpose of re-taking classes we have already been Nationally and State Board examined in. Please understand, all acupuncture is not Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There are numerous styles of acupuncture just as there are Martial Arts or Chiropractic Techniques.

Doctors of Chiropractic practice statistics are much more impressive than the ones we have just examined. I can only sense a severe case of sour grapes emanating from the acupuncturist who currently are doing everything they can politically and legislatively from allowing the D.C. to include acupuncture into their practice act.

A WARNING TO ALL STATES THAT DO NOT CURRENTLY INCLUDE ACUPUNCTURE INTO YOUR PRACTICE ACT. DO IT NOW, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The acupuncture profession is dedicated and quickly becoming a major thorn in the side of Chiropractic nationally. As acupuncture becomes more and more a generally accepted therapy, it is of the utmost importance we incorporate it into our practice rights. Currently, more than 60% of the Chiropractic State Boards in the United States regulate the practice of Acupuncture.


John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.
Carefree, Arizona, USA