Learn About Being an Acupuncturist
Acupuncturists believe that the body has a natural flow of energy, called chi (or qi). When this flow is blocked or imbalanced, it can cause illness and pain. Acupuncture works to unblock chi by inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body. This allows the body’s natural healing process to begin working again, which may relieve symptoms of illness or pain.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is based on the theory that energy, called chi, flows through channels in the body. Acupuncturists insert thin needles into specific points of the body to treat various conditions. These needles are inserted into designated areas on your body to unblock or balance your chi and stimulate nerve endings responsible for releasing hormones and chemicals that can relieve pain.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for acupuncturists was $53,010 in May 2016. The top 10 percent earned more than $100,000 a year and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $35,640 annually.
The highest paying industries are health care practitioners and technical occupations ($110,500), scientific research and development services ($98,140), pharmaceuticals manufacturing ($96,040) and computer systems design services ($96,020). The lowest paying jobs for acupuncturists are elementary schools (median salary of $43k) followed by colleges or universities (median salary of $45k).
The requirements for becoming an acupuncturist vary from state to state and country to country, so it’s best to check with the licensing board in your area. However, there are some general guidelines that you can use as a starting point:
- You must be licensed by a government body (either state or federal).
- You must have at least one degree from an accredited school of acupuncture. Schools can be approved by accreditation organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) or the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) for schools focused on naturopathy.
- If you want to practice Chinese medicine instead of just acupuncture, this may require additional education hours beyond those required for your acupuncture degree; each state has its own set of rules governing what constitutes “Chinese medicine” versus “acupuncture” practice.
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An acupuncturist has many skills, including:
- Listening skills. An acupuncturist must be able to listen closely to the patient, who may or may not have easy access to words or explain their situation clearly. The acupuncturist needs to understand what they’re saying and find out where in their body they feel pain before they begin treatment.
- Problem-solving skills. Acupuncture is not a cure-all for all ailments, but it can help with some conditions when used as part of an overall treatment plan with other therapies such as Chinese herbal medicine or Western drugs (prescription medicines). Acupuncturists will work with patients’ doctors on their treatment plan if needed.* Technical skills.* Interpersonal skills.* Organizational skills.* Time management skills.* Teamwork skills.* Critical thinking skills.* Decision-making skills
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Acupuncturist work environment
Acupuncturists work in clinics, offices and hospitals. They also may practice in private practices that don’t take insurance.
Acupuncturists spend most of their time with patients, but they also often spend time with other providers and experts such as clinical psychologists or nutritionists.
An acupuncturist’s work environment can be busy if he or she works with a lot of people at one time (such as in a clinic).
Acupuncturists believe the way to be healthy is to have balance in the body, and that an imbalance of forces called yin and yang results in illness.
Acupuncture is all about balance. Acupuncturists believe the way to be healthy is to have balance in the body, and that an imbalance of forces called yin and yang results in illness. YIN and YANG are different states of being that exist within everything—even within you. We can think of them as opposite ends of a teeter-totter: when one side goes high, the other goes low. Your body works best when both sides are equalized; if either end gets too far out of whack you’re susceptible to disease or dysfunction (a common example is when someone has too much stress).
Acupuncturists also believe that energy flows through our bodies along pathways called meridians. Different acupuncture points along these meridians contribute to their own unique energy flow which affects different parts of your body depending on how they’re connected together by these pathways.
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Acupuncturists work to rebalance their patients’ yin and yang with acupuncture.
Acupuncturists work to rebalance their patients’ yin and yang with acupuncture. Acupuncture is a therapy that uses the insertion of fine, solid needles at certain points called acupoints to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. This stimulation releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters, which can help manage pain.
Acupuncture points are located on meridians that run through your body. Each point has its own name (according to traditional Chinese medicine) and number (according to modern anatomy). There are 365 acupuncture points on this map, each corresponding to an organ system in the body; for example, there are fourteen lung meridian points related specifically to respiratory health.
After inserting the needle into a designated point on your skin, an acupuncturist may use heat or electrical stimulation along with light pressure from cupped hands or massage tools such as stones or bamboo sticks before removing it completely after 20 minutes or so—the right amount of time depends on what you’re getting treated for! Some people find these treatments relaxing; others say they hurt less than going under anesthesia during surgery because there aren’t any scalpels involved!
Acupuncture is a great alternative to pain medication or surgery, and it’s been shown to reduce the need for both. It can also be used to treat a number of different types of illnesses, including arthritis, chronic pain, allergies and asthma. Acupuncturists are part doctors and part traditional Chinese medicine practitioners who use needles to help patients with their ailments.