Traditional Herbal Medicine takes its rightful place in the State of New York New York, NY, USA, November 09, 2016. On November 4th, 2016, Licensed Acupuncturists in New York celebrated as Governor Cuomo signed A.2558A Gottfried / S.3911B Nozzolio into law as Chapter 400 of the Laws of 2016. The new law adds herbal medicine to the scope of practice of acupuncturists in New York. Originally pioneered and drafted by the hardworking volunteers of the former New York State Acupuncture Coalition (NYSAC) the bill has been championed by the Acupuncture Society of New York (ASNY). After amending the bill and clarifying its purpose, ASNY was able to secure its passage in both the Assembly and Senate. Its passage would not have been possible without the strong support and advocacy of the sponsors of this bill, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Michael Nozzolio, or the efforts of ASNY’s lobbying team at Shenker, Russo, & Clark, LLP.

In the last decade there has been much support and advocacy for this bill by many of the industry’s leading practitioners, all of the accredited schools of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) in New York State, multiple affiliated professional AOM organizations, many of the established businesses within the AOM community, and many patients, as it is an essential clarification that accurately reflects the training Licensed Acupuncturists receive as well as protects and preserves public safety. This is an important victory, as acupuncturists receive significant training in herbal and dietary supplements, and the profession’s statutory scope of practice now reflects this commensurate with the scopes of other professions that include dietary training.

It is important to note that this bill applies only to New York State Licensed Acupuncturists, and does not prevent other individuals from recommending or selling herbal or dietary supplements, which are currently unregulated in New York State. In addition, this law in no way “licenses” any practitioner, including Licensed Acupuncturists, to engage in recommendations or administrations that they have not specifically been trained in or are not qualified to give. Therefore, the public can be assured that a Licensed Acupuncturist has met certain standards that they are held accountable to. The law takes effect immediately.

Acupuncture is an evidence-based medicine that is growing as the modern scientific community has conducted research over several consecutive decades and produced a number of quality studies documenting its value. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have found that acupuncture can effectively treat more than 100 medical conditions, including these: Addictions Fatigue Insomnia Allergies Fibromyalgia Rhinitis Anxiety Gastritis Sciatica Arthritis Depression Sinusitis Asthma Headaches Smoking Chronic Pain IBS Weight Disorders and many more … Despite the modern research, high efficacy and effectiveness rates, low cost, and a proven track record over three millennia, acupuncture is relatively new to our modern medical system and many medical insurance plans have been slow to include it fairly, driving many patients to use their savings or flexible medical spending accounts to access services. Nevertheless, the Department of Labor and Statistics lists acupuncture among the fastest growing medical professions, likely due in part to more educated and savvy patients that spend out-of-pocket to get desired results. The Acupuncture Society of New York is committed to continuing to advance the interests of the nearly 6,500 acupuncturists practicing throughout New York state, and looks forward to continuing our efforts through the 2017 legislative session to uphold the integrity of the acupuncture profession and make this highly effective therapy accessible to all.