Fauquier Acupuncturist Reappointed to Va. Panel


(Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:11 PM EST)

In Virginia, acupuncture is regulated by the state's Board of Medicine and its Advisory Board on Acupuncture.

Marie Stephenson, a 25-year resident of Fauquier County, was recently reappointed to the advisory board and is ready to take on her fifth year.

The board is made up of five people. Four members, including Stephenson, are licensed acupuncturists.

Acupuncture is a Chinese medical procedure that treats illness or provides local anesthesia by the insertion of needles at specified sites of the body.

Stephenson became interested in acupuncture when her husband, neurologist Dr. Larry Stephenson, began using the practice with his patients in the early 1990s. But she could not become certified as an acupuncturist until after 1994, when the General Assembly decided that individuals without medical degrees could obtain acupuncture licenses.

“I have a nursing background and was interested in what [my husband] was doing,” Stephenson said.

In 1998 she completed a three-year course of study and became certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, she said.

She now offers acupuncture services in her husband's office in Warrenton.

The advisory board meets three times a year in Richmond where they discuss Virginia law with regard to acupuncture, such as requirements for licensure, scope of practice, and standards of professional conduct. They also assess people's complaints about acupuncture experiences.

“We advise on how the wording of the law sounds,” Stephenson said. “And when the board brings us cases of people's complaints that are being investigated, we are able to give our opinion on that. We can say whether things sound out of the norm or not.”

Stephenson was reappointed to the Advisory Board on Acupuncture by Governor Kaine in November and will serve a four-year term.

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