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.
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.
Certified by a state-approved program
Diplomate in Acupuncture
Licensed to perform acupuncture; used in some states instead of licensed acupuncturist (LAc)
LAc or LicAc
Licensed to perform acupuncture; required only in California
Master of Acupuncture
Master's degree in acupuncture from program approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)
Licensed to perform acupuncture; used in some states instead of LAc or LicAc
Chiropractors treat patients' neuromuscular-skeletal disorders by adjusting the spinal column or through other correlative manipulation.
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 manipulate soft tissue and apply pressure to the body to positively affect health and well-being.
MT or MP
Completed 100 to 150 hours of practice
Certified Massage Therapist
Obtained a certificate and has completed at least 500 hours of practice
Licensed Massage Therapist
Licensed in state and has completed at least 500 hours of practice
Registered Massage Therapist
Registered in state (or Canadian province) to perform massage therapy