Licensed Acupuncturist or MD with "Medical Acupuncture" Training?
Whom should you choose to treat you?
Dr. Marilyn Walkey, MD, LAc

st george medical acupuncturist

I have a problem with double standards. I don't believe in them, and I don't think that they should apply to any field of health care. At the present time, Oregon State law requires acupuncturists to obtain a license to perform acupuncture.

As part of our training, we devote 3-4 years to obtaining a postgraduate education, as well as over 1000 hours of observation and supervised clinical training.

We are required during that training to begin to understand and master a complex science of healing which has been in existence for over two thousand years.

We attend many hours of lectures from professors of various subspecialties with wide-ranging experience and wealth of knowledge. We read widely varying textbooks from ancient to modern.

We receive detailed training in the methods of differential diagnosis, and treatment planning.

We have years of hands-on experience on each other and more than 2 years of needling instruction. We begin to leave the left-brain thinking behind, and start to think in terms of yin and yang. This process allows us to approach complex and chronic disease with new ways of healing, very often after western medical doctors have given up hope.

Now about that double standard: presently in the State of Oregon, medical doctors can perform acupuncture with no training whatsoever. This is a travesty to our profession.

It assumes that MD's have some sort of magical ability to discern our medicine with no training whatsoever.

This law must change. MD's must be held to the same exact standard as every other healthcare professional who wishes to practice acupuncture.

At present, Oregon State law requires that MD's be able to "safely and competently" practice medicine in order to have an active medical license.

I don't believe that with zero hours of training, that MD's can safely and competently practice acupuncture.

As a medical doctor who attended and passed a "medical acupuncture" course, I know what that training entails. When I completed it, I had seen 70 videotapes, all given by one MD instructor.

I had been to 5 days of lecture, and needled 3 people, all of them other MD's attending the course. I had not treated one patient on my own.

I did not know how to make a Chinese Medical diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, analyze pulse, evaluate tongue.

Furthermore, I had no idea of what acupuncture & Chinese herbs could actually do, and therefore I didn't know when to send patients to a licensed acupuncturist.

I don't believe that MD's with 300 hours of "medical acupuncture" training can safely and competently practice acupuncture. 


Hawaii is the only state which holds physicians to the same standard as others wishing to practice acupuncture. Our profession is at a crossroads.

We must speak up to those in authority and protect the people of Oregon against MD's who are untrained or undertrained in acupuncture.

All healthcare professionals should be held to the same standard in order to protect the people of Oregon and insure that all those who receive acupuncture are treated "safely and competently".