Proposal Would Maintain Unauthorized Scope for Chiropractors
By David Doolittle


The Texas Medical Association strongly opposes proposed new state rules that would continue to allow chiropractors to practice acupuncture and to perform other procedures and services outside the scope of practice for chiropratic.

“In short, the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (TBCE) has no authority to authorize its licensees to practice acupuncture because practicing acupuncture and treating the nervous system is outside of a chiropractor’s scope of practice as determined by the Texas Legislature,” TMA wrote in a letter to the TBCE.

The proposed rules, published in the July 20 edition of the Texas Register, authorize chiropractors to use acupuncture and related methods, including lasers and needles, to diagnose and treat a patient by stimulating points on or within the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

TMA’s letter reminds the TBCE that Texas law limits chiropractors’ scope to “analyzing, examining or evaluating the biomechanical condition of the spine or musculoskeletal system, and to performing certain procedures…. Nothing in the act authorizes a chiropractor to analyze or simulate the nervous system or to perform acupuncture.”

Under the rules, proposed chiropractors also would: 

  • No longer have to pass a national standardized certification exam in acupuncture in order to perform acupuncture;
  • Be able to refer to themselves as “Board Certified in Acupuncture as an adjunctive modality by the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners”; and
  • Be authorized to “provide for patients' use of herbal supplements or remedies, homeopathic remedies and compounds, and nutritional supplements, including vitamins and minerals.” 

The rules would also allow chiropractors to become licensed in acupuncture after receiving as few as 200 hours of training, instead of the 1,800 instructional hours an acupuncturist must receive. Chiropractors would need to complete a minimum of eight hours of continuing education in acupuncture every two years. Currently, licensed acupuncturists must complete 17 hours every year.

“Patients will be receiving services from professionals who have far less education and training than properly licensed acupuncturists,” TMA said in its letter.

TMA’s letter echoes a friend-of-the-court brief TMA filed in a 2015 lawsuit between the TBCE and the Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Last Updated On

July 17, 2023

Originally Published On

August 20, 2018

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