Place yourself in the hands of someone who is board certified

You may have heard the recent news about world-class judoka athlete, Kim Ribble-Orr, and what ordeal she has had to endure that ultimately ended her career as an athlete and her ability to live the life she previously lived.  Read National Post article here:

There are a couple of statements in the article that resonate with me and that I would like to address.

  1. “… and raise questions about the popular needle therapy.”
  2. “Mr. Spurrell did the acupuncture program at McMaster University, provided over five three-day weekends, plus 174 hours of “self-directed home study,” according to its web site.”

Respecting the first point, the media is painting Acupuncture as a questionable form of therapy overall  and … well …  the second point raises serious concerns in my mind about the fact that a Registered Massage Therapist can perform acupuncture after approximately 300 hours of classes and self-directed studies. It should raise concern in your mind as well. Massage Therapists are not the only ones who can study and perform Acupuncture in this way. Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Western Medical Doctors are permitted to do this as well.

I do have complete respect for these other forms of therapy, as they all have their place in helping others, but, as a Registered Acupuncturist, I would not think that with my educational background, I could take a course that included somewhere near 300 hours of combined education/clinical practice and start performing Chiropractic or Physiotherapist procedures. To me, it seems inadequate, and would belittle any of those disciplines.

Accidents can happen to anyone, but there is no question that experience and proper education decrease risks. One should always put themselves in the hands of someone who is experienced, properly-trained and one who has an adequate understanding of acupoint locations and functions, as well as detailed instruction in proper needling technique.

Today, to practice as a Registered Acupuncturist here in B.C., the basic minimum educational requirements are to have had at least two prior years of University education, a minimum of 1900 hours of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine studies, including a practicum of 450 hours or more that were complete in a minimum of 3 (but not more than 5) academic years within an accredited educational body, PLUS passed the Board certification written and clinical examinations, as well as to participate in regular continuing education to maintain certification status.

I have laid on the table as a patient, I have performed and seen the wonders that Acupuncture can do. I KNOW it works! So the thought of questioning it as a valid form of medical therapy is offensive to me. BUT … If I were in a position where I required acupuncture to be performed on myself, and someone asked me, “Would I go seek Acupuncture from a Chiropractor, a Medical Doctor, a Physiotherapist or a Registered Massage Therapist?” Without hesitation, my answer would be NO! Indeed, any other answer would be strange.

No matter what form of healthcare one chooses for oneself, one should always do their research and choose someone who meets, at minimum, the following criteria:

  1. a professional that is properly educated, trained and board certified,
  2. a person that you trust and feel comfortable with,
  3. (optional) someone that has been referred to you by a friend or other medical professional individual.

So, for those of you who read the National Post article and are scratching your heads not knowing what to think, let me just say … Acupuncture does work! And in the hands of someone who has the proper educational training, who has passed the government board certification exams and who has ample experience, … it IS very safe.

Remember that no matter what form of healthcare you choose, be certain to ALWAYS place yourself in the hands of someone who meets all the above criteria.


To find a CTCMA Certified Registrant in British Columbia:


#123, 1628 West 1st Ave,
Vancouver BC,
V6J 1G1
(604) 454-4772