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Disclaimer: Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

Effective November 4, 2016, the scope of practice of acupuncture, as set forth in section 8211(1)(a) of the Education Law was amended to add the language in italics below:

"Profession of acupuncture" is the treating, by means of mechanical, thermal or electrical stimulation effected by the insertion of needles or by the application of heat, pressure or electrical stimulation at a point or combination of points on the surface of the body predetermined on the basis of the theory of the physiological interrelationship of body organs with an associated point or combination of points for diseases, disorders and dysfunctions of the body for the purpose of achieving a therapeutic or prophylactic effect. The profession of acupuncture includes recommendation of dietary supplements and natural products including, but not limited to, the recommendation of diet, herbs and other natural products, and their preparation in accordance with traditional and modern practices of East Asian (Chinese, Korean or Japanese) medical theory.

Therefore, a licensed acupuncturist may now engage in the recommendation of dietary supplements and natural products as part of his or her professional practice. However, it should be noted that this statutory change simply codifies that the recommendation and preparation of these traditional remedies is within the scope of an acupuncturist’s practice without impacting other individuals and businesses supplying these products.

Also, effective November 4, 2016, section 8211(1) of the Education Law was amended to add a new paragraph (c), which reads as follows:

Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit an individual who is not subject to regulation in this state as a licensed acupuncturist from engaging in the recommendation of traditional remedies and supplements as defined herein, nor shall this section be construed to authorize an individual to practice pharmacy under article one hundred thirty-seven of this title.

This statutory change to the scope of practice of acupuncture does not extend to the compounding of prescription drugs or controlled substances or permit any activities contrary to FDA regulations, or state pharmacy licensure, which, among other things, prohibits a licensed acupuncturist from practicing as a pharmacist.