Here's How To Start A Career As An Acupuncturist

Acupuncture, while popularized in the last 40 or so years, is an ancient Chinese practice that made it to the United States in the 1800s, per Acupuncture Massage College. After James Reston, a Pulitzer-prize winner, traveled to China and experienced the procedure, he came back to America and wrote a short piece about it in The New York Times. After that piece was published, American interest in acupuncture peaked and so began the practice as we see it today in the United States.

In short, acupuncture is when tiny needles are placed in the skin to relieve pain or other unpleasant symptoms, per Cleveland Clinic. The needles are meant to help your body release endorphins, which help lessen pain. People who suffer from extreme menstrual cramping, headaches, muscle and back pain, or arthritis can use acupuncture to help alleviate their symptoms. Some also swear by acupuncture to help with more extreme conditions like infertility, cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome. If you are interested in learning and practicing the art of acupuncture, here's how to do it.

How to become an acupuncturist

If you are looking for a career that helps others while focusing on more holistic and natural treatments, you may want to consider a career in acupuncture. The ancient Chinese practice is meant to help with a variety of ailments, but as it is still a medical treatment, you need to be prepared before starting this career.

According to Indeed, you first need to earn an undergraduate degree. While the type of degree you get can vary, if you are still at the college phase, you may want to consider majoring in biology or anatomy as that will help you with the next steps in the process. Once you have your degree, you will need to find a graduate program that is accredited with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. According to How To Become, you will study things like diagnosis and treatment techniques, Oriental medical theory, Oriental herbal studies, integrated acupuncture and herbal clinical training, and biomedical clinical sciences. After you earn your graduate degree, you will need to take, and pass, the clean needle technique course. From there, you must obtain a license to practice, which requires you to pass a variety of exams.

What to expect from a job as an acupuncturist

It's not a fast road to become an acupuncturist, but after you get your degree, pass your exams, and obtain your licenses, you will have the rewarding experience of helping alleviate pain and suffering in others. Once you do land a job, you can expect your day to be much more than just inserting needles. According to Natural Healers, your most important job is understanding your patient. Before any work is done, you will need to conduct an exam, learning why the patient is there and formulating a plan specific to them.

As an acupuncturist, you may work with a team at a wellness clinic or holistic-approved hospital or on your own. According to How To Become, most people in the acupuncture field end up opening their own practice. If you choose to go this route, you must also take into account the business aspect of things, including hiring practices, billing, equipment, and insurance.