P03.11. Should Acupuncture Be Within the Scope of Physical Therapy Practice in the United States?

Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Nov; 2(Suppl): S141.
Published online 2013 Nov 1. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.097CP.P03.11
PMCID: PMC3875007

P03.11. Should Acupuncture Be Within the Scope of Physical Therapy Practice in the United States?

David Lehman,corresponding author(1) William Hickman,(1) Heather Moss,(1) Emily Stein,(1) and John Wood (1)

David Lehman

(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States

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William Hickman

(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States

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Heather Moss

(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States

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Emily Stein

(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States

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John Wood

(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States

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(1)Tennessee State University, Nashville, United States
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Contact: David Lehman, [email protected]
Scientific abstracts presented at the International Congress for Clinicians in Complementary & Integrative Medicine 2013
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial- No Derivative 3.0 License, which permits rights to copy, distribute and transmit the work for noncommercial purposes only, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Focus Areas: Integrative Approaches to Care

A growing number of physiotherapists around the globe have begun incorporating acupuncture into their treatment plans for patients with neuromuscular conditions. Acupuncture has been established as being safe and effective within the 11 countries forming the International Acupuncture Association of Physical Therapists (IAAPT), allowing for acupuncture to be practiced by physiotherapists and integrated into their school curriculum. The objective of this evidence-based review is to analyze evidence on several aspects of acupuncture: (1) clinical evidence and effectiveness, (2) physiological foundation, (3) placebo effect, (4) safety, (5) educational requirements, and (6) cost effectiveness. This review will provide a framework for discussion regarding whether acupuncture should be included in the scope of physical therapy practice in the United States. All levels of the evidence hierarchy, as described by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, were included in this report. Intervention studies (levels 1-3) were further rated (strong, moderate, or weak) based on a quality scoring system developed by the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). Inclusion criteria included articles relating to physiological effects of acupuncture, clinical relevance of acupuncture, safety of acupuncture, interventions related to acupuncture, and cost effectiveness.

The research suggests that acupuncture, when combined with other physical therapy interventions, is safe and cost effective due to the reported reduction in pain level, faster healing times, and greater increases in range of motion. Although additional research should be conducted, current evidence supports that a discussion should take place about adding acupuncture into the physical therapy scope of practice in the United States.


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