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The 300 Needles of Dr. Lok Legalization of acupuncture

The 300 Needles of Dr. Lok : Legalization of Acupuncture


Many people are surprised to learn that Nevada is the very first place in the world to legally recognize and regulate the practice of acupuncture as a medical modality. In 1973, Arthur Steinberg, an attorney from New York enlisted the help of Lok Yee-kung, a Chinese medicine doctor from Hong Kong and James Joyce, a professional lobbyist to legalize acupuncture in the United States for the first time.

Steinberg was determined to introduce legalized acupunctures into the U.S. after his wife who was born in China and had experienced the benefits of it firsthand persuaded him of its value. At the time, the medical establishments in California and New York were set on confining the practice of acupuncture to licensed medical doctors. The state of Nevada, on the other hand, often sanctioned unexpected legislation and was viewed as more libertarian than the legislative bodies of other states, so Steinberg decided to submit his test case legislation there. To further the cause, he solicited the expertise of Dr. Lok Yee-kung who had previously treated Mrs. Steinberg in Hong Kong.


Just before the bill came up for a vote in the Nevada Senate, Dr. Lok Yee-kung set up an acupuncture demonstration area in the conference room of a local casino directly across the street from the state legislative building. Dr. Lok selected seventy demonstration patients out of thousands who volunteered. Coincidentally, thirty of the volunteers were state legislators who comprised about half of the total number of legislators who would be voting on the bill shortly after. Media outlets from across the country covered the event.

The exhibition proved overwhelmingly successful, and unsurprisingly, the Nevada Senate unanimously passed the legislation, while the House of Representatives passed the bill on a 34-2 vote. Ultimately, Governor Mike O’Callaghan signed the world’s first acupuncture legislation into law on April 20, 1973.

Time magazine ran a story on the passage of the acupunctures law as did People magazine which featured a cover photo of Bonanza star, Lorene Greene with acupuncture needles in his ear. In March 1974, Playboy magazine recounted the story of the legislation in an article titled, “The 300 Needles of Dr. Lok”.

The benefits of acupunctures are both vast and numerous. Digestive issues, anxiety, and migraines are among the conditions treatable through this ancient modality made popular right here in the Wild West. If you are interested in learning more about these benefits and how acupuncture may be able to improve your health, please call Renaissance Health Centre at 702-258-7860 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicole Hujer, NMD.

Terry Pfau, DO HMD

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