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Acupuncturists are health care professionals who practice the ancient East Asian healing art of acupuncture. Acupuncture is a complete medical system that helps to improve body functioning and promote natural healing. It has been practiced in China for thousands of years to maintain health, prevent disease, treat illness, and alleviate pain. It has been proven to be effective in the treatment of emotional and psychological problems as well as physical ailments. Acupuncture is one of the fastest growing health care professions. Most acupuncturists work in private practice, although an increasing number work in clinics and hospitals. Estimates of how many licensed acupuncturists are active in the United States range from 20,000 to more than 25,000.