An amendment to current acupuncture law has been introduced into the California State legislature by Senator Yee. The bill, SB628, creates a new licensing process for qualified applicants to become ‘certified traumatologists.’ The bill defines traumatology as the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through the stimulation of acupressure points with hands-on techniques. Treatment modalities defined in the bill include traction, massage, and manipulation techniques “to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships, a technique called bone-setting.” The bill calls for the California Acupuncture Board to establish the criteria required for the certified traumatology license and establishes fees and licensing parameters. The bill also requires certified traumatologists to “maintain a relationship with an orthopedic surgeon when involved in manipulation techniques to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships.”
Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Traditional Medicine
The bill cites the first written documentation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as appearing in the book, The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine. Also, the bill includes language supportive of both Korean and Japanese traditional medicine: “Forms of acupuncture also include Chimsul, which is part of traditional Korean medicine, and Kampo, which is part of traditional Japanese medicine.” The bill calls for the designation of “acupuncturist” to become “Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.” The new name has stirred controversy and Senator Yee has indicated possible reconsideration of this aspect of the bill.
Main Thrust of the Bill
The bill notes that licensed acupuncturists use more than acupuncture as a treatment modality. Treatment modalities include acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and tui na. Tui Na is a sophisticated form of both orthopedics and massage. The bill states its overriding purpose in the following section: “Currently in California, practitioners of TCM are recognized as licensed acupuncturists. Acupuncture is one of the many modalities within TCM. This nomenclature is misleading and problematic as the scope of practice of a licensed acupuncturist includes other modalities of TCM and not just acupuncture. Further, traumatology is one of the modalities that constitutes TCM. It is a very important part of TCM science with a complete theoretical system. Traumatology, like orthopedics, includes a range of treatments to address both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many nonmusculoskeletal conditions.”