Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Are medicines also involved in acupuncture treatment?

Are medications ever advised alongside acupuncture treatment? When would this happen?

17 Answers

This is a great question.

You may check with your practitioner, She/ he will advice herbal medicines or supplements.

I believe you can get that answer soon, as long as they also practice others healing method.

Jonathan Fang
Only a licensed MD who is also a licensed acupuncturist can prescribe medications in conjunction with acupuncture treatments. For example, when undergoing ivf treatments, it is allowed to have an acupuncture treatment by a licensed acupuncturist and take stimulating medications prescribed by a dr who specializes in fertility.
If herbal medicine works better than acupuncture or works better with acupuncture, I will prescribe herbal medicine.
I like to do acupuncture treatment along with herbs. I always describe herbs as fertilizer to plants, and it works better if you have all the channel open and energy flow smoothly which acupuncture treatments do.
Depends on which kind of disease. But most Acupuncturists will recommend using natural Chinese herbs.
Depends. Acupuncture is Alternative medicine and if we do ask you to take supplements it would be herbs and nature. Personally I don't give meds with acupuncture
Excellent question. Most acupuncture physicians are not MD's which mean that they cannot prescribe medications. However, they recommend Chinese herbs which work amazingly to resolve many conditions. Chinese herbs are very potent and help very much like medications. In fact, many of the medications are produced from an artificial form of the active ingredients in the Chinese herbs.
I personally do not recommend any medicine along with acupuncture treatment because it is not necessary. The general idea of prescribing herbal formula is to make more money. Yes, some cases it will help a lot but most cases it only help a little bit but it will create a lot of income for the practitioners. There is old saying that the first is Acupuncture, the 2nd is Moxibustion and the 3rd is Herb.
There are times when the body may be able to heal itself with acupuncture only as a treatment modality. On the other hand, however, depending on the severity of the condition being treated would more likely be the need for herbal supplement/herbal formula to assist with addressing the condition in order to get the best outcome. It is not uncommon to have both. Treatment as well as herbal prescription, however, may depend on a variety of factors as would be explained by the treating Acupuncture Physician. Keep in mind that the sooner an issue is being treated after its inception, the better and faster it may be resolved without the need for herbs, but still... this is also depending the condition being treated.


Yours in Health!
That depends on what you mean by 'medication'. If you mean a more conventional pharmaceutical (either prescription or over the counter), yes, we integrate treatments like this all the time. Acupuncture needles are solid, we aren't putting any substances in to the body nor are we taking anything out. The risk that combining acupuncture with pharmaceuticals is going to create some adverse event is therefore very small.

Many acupuncturists also practice Chinese herbal medicine and here's where we need to be more careful. There are some documented interactions between Chinese herbs and conventional medications. There are a lot of Chinese herb and drug combinations where we simply do not know what might happen. To avoid problems with Chinese herbal meds, most acupuncturists will make sure they have a list of what a patient is currently taking. This list should be kept up to date in their records. If they don't ask, a patient needs to make sure the acupuncturist is aware - especially if they're recommending herbs.

I've worked with depression, anxiety and PTSD while patients were on meds to help these issues. I've worked with high blood pressure while patients were on meds for that issue. I've worked with pain conditions while patients were on pain meds.

Best regards,

Jeff Rippey, L.Ac.
In some cases, herbal prescriptions, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, specific food suggestions (either addition to diet or removal from diet) and other such things are advised or added to acupuncture treatments.

As far as "medications" meaning "pharmaceutical drugs" are concerned, this is usually not in the scope of practice for the L.Ac. and would need to be worked through an MD. The acupuncture and work with MD can happen together, meaning you don't have to stop one because you are doing the other, but the acupuncturists would not be prescribing western medication and you should not be getting acupuncture from an MD unless they are fully trained in the medicine.
The decision of what western/traditional medications are necessary should always be left to your doctor. Some acupuncturists also practice herbology which is our form of "medications." (I put that in quotes because the acupuncture treatment itself can be considered a medication). Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with both western medicines and Chinese herbs. Your respective doctors will decide when each is necessary. It is very important you speak with both your doctor and acupuncturist about what medications (both prescribed and over the counter) you are taking. The herbs, acupuncture treatments, and western medications can all affect each other.
Herbal medicines may be prescribed by an acupuncturist that has obtained an herbal certification. These medications are prescribed specifically for certain patterns of imbalance and should be respected as controlled substances.
Some acupuncturist will work along with an MD for prescription medications, but an acupuncturist can prescribe herbal formulas that will speed up the healing process.
Acupuncturists are not qualified to prescribe any western pharmaceuticals. They can make suggestions but will never give you any. What they can and will do is offer Chinese herbal formulas. They are extremely effective and don't have the side effects we often see with pharmaceuticals.

Personally, I rarely suggest herbs right away. I will wait for several treatments because the acupuncture by itself most often will take care of the problems patients are coming in to see me for.

I hope this answers your question!
Most acupuncturists are also herbalist. By carefully listening to your condition they can diagnose and prescribe acupuncture and or natural herbal treatment. Most Acupuncturist are not medical doctors and can't prescribe any medications. Only harbs. Please consult with your doctor before you take any herbal medicine. Thanks