Ontario has recently declared Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to be a regulated healthcare profession in Ontario.  To practice acupuncture legally in Ontario, you now need to be a registered Acupuncturist (R. Ac) or a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner (R. TCMP) with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO).

What Does “Registered Acupuncturist” Mean?

The general public is new to this so I will quickly compare the two above designations.  Someone who has the designation R.Ac. is considered a “registered acupuncturist” with the CTCMPAO and someone who has the designation R.TCMP is a “registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner” with the CTCMPAO.  Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have the same acupuncture training as a registered acupuncturist but they have additional training and hours in areas such as Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese Tuina massage.  Basically, TCMP’s have more options when it comes to your treatment and may be able to treat a wider array of issues compared to an acupuncturist.

There are many reasons as to why one should see a registered practitioner but I have outlined some of the main reasons below.

Insurance Coverage

If you want Acupuncture to be covered by your health benefits plan, you will need to go to a registered practitioner (R. Ac or R. TCMP).  Each registered practitioner will have a college registration number which should be displayed in their place of work and on the receipts which you submit to your insurance provider.  If you do not currently have acupuncture as part of your benefits plan, talk to your provider and let them know you would like it to be a part of your plan.  Now that acupuncture is a regulated health profession, it will be a lot easier for insurance companies to include it in a benefits package.

Acupuncture Safety

All registered acupuncturists have to complete a safety exam before being registered by the college.  The manual for the safety test contains lots of important information on how to be a safe and effective practitioner and I refer to it often.  Safety concerns such as infection prevention & control, risk management and safe procedures & processes are important aspects when running a safe and effective practice.  Although the test itself was easier than I would have liked, the information in the manual is extremely helpful in my everyday practice.

Acupuncture and the Law

Every registered practitioner also needs to complete a jurisprudence exam as set out by the college.  The jurisprudence exam outlines some extremely important areas which all practitioners should be familiar with.  These areas include, but are not limited to, ethical and professional standards, informed consent, billing, scope of practice and record keeping.  A diligent practitioner will keep their jurisprudence handbook close by as it is an invaluable resource which will not only keep their clients safe and protected but also themselves.

Acupuncture Training

When you see someone who is a registered member of the CTCMPAO, you are ensuring that you are working with someone whose education meets the minimum required number of hours to be a registered acupuncturist (around 2000 hours of training) or a registered TCM practitioner (around 4000 hours of training).  If your acupuncture provider is able to perform acupuncture but is not a member of the CTCMPAO (i.e. a Chiropractor or physiotherapist who performs acupuncture), you should be aware that their training is limited and rarely goes beyond 200 hours of training.  Although acupuncture is likely within their scope of practice, they are not legally allowed to call themselves registered acupuncturists.

Important Links

To find a registered Acupuncturist or registered TCM Practitioner, click here.

To visit the CTCMPAO website, click here.

If you wish to see a registered TCM Practitioner, contact Drew today for your free email consultation.  If you would like to get started right away, you can book online by clicking on the Book Now button in the lower right corner.