By The Letter

Been wondering what all those letters behind the name of your chiropractor, massage therapist, or acupuncturist stand for? You're not the only one in the dark. Knowing the meaning behind those initials may help even a PhD sail A-OK through her next appointment.

But be warned: Many titles and training requirements vary depending on the state, province, city, or school. For more information on chiropractic or massage therapy terms particular to your area, visit the American Massage Therapy Association Web site at www.amtamassage.org or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork at www.ncbtmb.com. For the skinny on national certification for acupuncture, visit the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) Web site at www.nccaom.org.

—Brie Doyle

Acupuncturists
Acupuncturists insert fine, sharp needles (sometimes electrified with a low-voltage power source) along a network of meridians (lines of energy) on the body to treat back pain, alcoholism, and other conditions. Many acupuncturists also prescribe Chinese herbs to open blocked meridians.

Abbreviation

Means

Education

CA

Certified Acupuncturist

Certified by a state-approved program

DAc

Diplomate in Acupuncture

Licensed to perform acupuncture; used in some states instead of licensed acupuncturist (LAc)

LAc or LicAc

Licensed Acupuncturist

Licensed to perform acupuncture; required only in California

MAc

Master of Acupuncture

Master's degree in acupuncture from program approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)

RAc

Registered Acupuncturist

Licensed to perform acupuncture; used in some states instead of LAc or LicAc

Chiropractors
Chiropractors treat patients' neuromuscular-skeletal disorders by adjusting the spinal column or through other correlative manipulation.

Abbreviation

Means

Education

DC

Doctor of Chiropractic

Trained in a four- or five-year chiropractic college and licensed in all 50 states as well as internationally; not synonymous with MD

Massage Therapists
Massage therapists manipulate soft tissue and apply pressure to the body to positively affect health and well-being.

Abbreviation

Means

Education

MT or MP

Massage Practitioner

Completed 100 to 150 hours of practice

CMT

Certified Massage Therapist

Obtained a certificate and has completed at least 500 hours of practice

LMT

Licensed Massage Therapist

Licensed in state and has completed at least 500 hours of practice

RMT

Registered Massage Therapist

Registered in state (or Canadian province) to perform massage therapy