What does a Acupuncturist do?

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An acupuncturist helps patients relieve their pain and discomfort, as well as help treat other disorders by using fine needles that are placed in specific locations on the person’s body. Depending on their training, acupuncturists may also perform massages and other holistic treatments to their patients.

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How to Become an Acupuncturist

The requirements to become an acupuncturist will depend where you live and each state may have different requirements. However, there are colleges that offer the formal training necessary to become an acupuncturist. It’s important to choose a school that is accredited with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (link opens in a new tab). The ACAOM is the only national organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. To become accepted into an accredited program, you must earn at least two years of bachelor level classes in a medical profession though some programs require a bachelor’s degree.

Job Description of an Acupuncturist

Acupuncturists insert needles on various parts of a person’s body to promote better health. They must know their anatomy along with a body’s ‘energy map’ so they know the accurate placement of the fine needles. They would assess a patient’s needs and write a care plan that works to improve the patient’s condition. They may also practice other holistic medicine so might perform other services in their practice.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) provides a holistic look of Acupuncture (link opens in a new tab) and explains the scientific data behind Acupunctures effectiveness. It also discusses how much more can still be learned from the practice. Additionally, you can also read an article published by the American Academy of Family Physicians titled, Research Finds Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Pain (link opens in a new tab).

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Acupuncturist Career Video Transcript

More than 2000 years of practice informs the work of modern day acupuncturists. They practice the skill of inserting thin needles into the skin to induce pain relief and improve symptoms. Acupuncturists use an energy map of points on the body to guide their work. The stimulation of these points triggers reactions that promote pain relief. They may use small electrical currents, and provide massage treatment as well. These natural medicine practitioners interview patients to develop a unique treatment plan. Acupuncturists formulate herbal preparations for patients, and inform them about dosages, treatment duration, possible side effects, and interactions. Many acupuncturists also educate patients about topics such as meditation, nutrition, breathing, and relaxation.

Acupuncturists often work in their own practice, or in collaborative settings with other natural healers, such as naturopaths and massage therapists. The ability for patients to cover treatment costs through their health insurance providers has grown in recent years, which has increased the demand for services. Training and certification is required to practice in most states. Candidates must complete a graduate acupuncture program of approximately 3-5 years, then pass a state board exam to earn licensure. Modern science has validated that acupuncture works, but with no agreement on how it works, acupuncturists rely on seeing the benefit in their patients’ well-being.

Article Citations

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Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Frequently Asked Questions.

The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.