Modern Training for Ancient Practice of Acupuncture
The ancient health technique of Acupuncture, thought to have originated in China as far back as 6000 BC, has now become a popular alternative therapy in the U.S.
Acupuncture has had an interesting history, being used widely in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia before spreading to other parts of the globe. It’s taken its fair share of criticism over the years though with even the Chinese losing interest in the 17th century, deeming the practice as superstitious.
In the 21st century though, many cultures are embracing Acupuncture and a growing number of practicing doctors in the US recommend it as an alternative medicine alongside regular, routine medical care.
Acupuncture & How It Can Help Treat Patients
The technique is based on the stimulation of very specific Acupuncture points along the skin, using needles, applied heat and pressure or laser light.
Acupuncture is used predominantly as a treatment for the relief of pain but it's also used to treat a wide number of ailments and symptoms that can be eased or alleviated with the help of a skillful and qualified Acupuncturist. Conditions treated with Acupuncture range from tension and stress related issues, treating reproductive, urinary, digestive and hormonal related symptoms as well as the prevention of illness.
The theory behind the technique is that needles stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals and hormones to the muscles, spinal cord and brain to assist the body’s natural healing process. It is believed to correct imbalances and blockages in the flow energy in the body, known as “qi”.
A Growing Interest in Training as an Acupuncturist
There are many approaches to learning and practicing Acupuncture and, as it is becoming increasingly available and sought after in the US, more students aspire to train in the ancient practice.
Subsequently, the number of schools and institutions offering Acupuncture training has also grown, as has the way in which the whole industry is regulated. Everything is on the up.
Training is a commitment and the courses are thorough. Students will need to complete a Masters course, which takes 3-4 years and provides training in the following, and more:
- In depth anatomy and physiology as well as other areas of science and medicine – using acupuncture models, charts and books to help learning
- Comprehensive understanding of the nervous system and vascular system
- How to diagnose and evaluate symptoms
- Therapeutic skills required to perform Acupuncture as a primary source of healthcare
- Acupuncture treatment, including clinical Acupuncture
- Needle placement and insertion
- Stimulation technique
- Cupping therapy using local suction on the skin to enhance blood flow and promote healing. This uses heat or mechanical devises, including hand or electrical pumps
Reputation of Training School is Essential
The quality of schools and education centers for Acupuncture in the US is continually improving. It’s vital to select a school that offers the best education.
Five key things to look for:
- Quality of the faculty as researchers in advancing the field
- Success rate of past students
- Comprehensiveness of training
- Length since opened and reputation for excellence as well as accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), the only accrediting body in the U.S. and who are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
- Having a Doctoral program to further enhance studies on completion of Masters
A Doctoral degree typically lasts 6 semesters and goes into greater depth on research and advanced clinical practice.
What Does It Mean to Practice Acupuncture in the U.S?
Practicing Acupuncture requires certification by ACAOM. This is following a Masters qualification that demonstrates professional competency in Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Biomedicine.
Practitioners can become a Diplomate of Acupuncture by gaining further certification from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Highly respected by employers and patients this shows national standards have been met for safe practice.
A Doctor trained in Western Medicine can perform medical Acupuncture too, where they have completed 300 hours of education and clinical training and hold a valid practicing license.
10-20% More Job Opportunities Expected
Once training is complete, many practitioners work from home or rented premises on a schedule that suits their lifestyle and family commitments. In 2012 the annual wage was just under $75,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Job opportunities in the field are expected to rise by between 10% and 20% before 2020. So what was once an ancient practice is now advancing full steam ahead in the 21st century.
Do you offer training for new Acupuncturists? What are the challenges you face from a growing acceptance of Acupuncture – are there enough qualified professionals to satisfy demand? Give us your view of the Acupuncture profession in the comments section below or get in touch with us on our social media networks.