Acupuncture – What does an Acupuncturist do?

It shows a fine acupuncture needle in an acupuncture point

A fine needle in an Acupuncture Point

If you are thinking of changing career and are considering training to become an Acupuncturist, it is import to realise that many different people call themselves Acupuncturists. So, first you need to decide what type of Acupuncturist you want to be, and then you need to find a suitable College that will provide the training you need.

What does an Acupuncturist do?

By definition, Acupuncture involves the piercing of the skin by a needle. So, the simplest answer to the question “What does an Acupuncturist do?” is, “they insert needles into a person (or animal)”.

Why is this done?

As the word “Acupuncturist” comes from the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the objective is to treat a medical condition.Thus, a Chinese Medical Doctor, whose main treatment specialism involves the use of fine needles to treat a patient, is called an Acupuncturist and the title would only be used to refer to a fully qualified Chinese Medical practitioner of Acupuncture. The doctor would make a diagnosis of the patient using all the specialist methods of TCM and would then select the appropriate Acupuncture points to needle in order to treat the patient.

In China, if the patient is a human being they will be treated in a Chinese Medical Hospital or Clinic. Animals would be treated by Veterinary Acupuncturists.

So are all Acupuncturists in Ireland, the UK, and other parts of Europe, fully trained practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine?

An Acupuncturist using Pulse diagnosis in the TCM clinic

Pulse Diagnosis in the ICTCM Clinic

No. Those who have trained at an established and reputable college, such as the Irish College of TCM (ICTCM), will have studied intensively for 3 years to learn all the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills of Chinese Medicine that are required to safely and effectively treat patients with real medical conditions. They are fully trained practitioners of TCM and may refer to themselves as Chinese Medical Acupuncturists or Practitioners of Acupuncture TCM.

Is this the same as a Western Medical Acupuncturist?

No. Some Western Medicine (WM) professionals, have trained at the Irish College of TCM and are Chinese Medical Acupuncturists as well as being WM Doctors or nurses, but most Western Medical Doctors, nurses and Physiotherapists who say they do Acupuncture have only completed a short introductory course in Chinese Medicine and use the insertion of needles as an adjunct to their Western Medicine treatment. They make a diagnosis according the principles and theories of Western Medicine.

Are Acupuncturists in Alternative medicine or Complementary Medicine clinics all trained in TCM?

Not all of them. Some have studied at the ICTCM and are fully trained and will be members of a Professional Body such as the Professional Register of TCM. However, some therapists in such clinics have learned how to insert needles but have not learned how to make a TCM, or indeed any, medical diagnosis.

What about Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Most people offering cosmetic acupuncture are not fully trained and insured in TCM, and do not treat medical conditions.

Acupuncture Treatment in the Teaching Clinic of the Irish College of TCM

Acupuncture Treatment in the Teaching Clinic of the Irish College of TCM

Where can I train to become a Chinese Medical Acupuncturist able to use Traditional Chinese Medicine to make a diagnosis, determine a treatment plan and provide the correct Acupuncture treatment?

The Acupuncture Department, at the Irish College of TCM which was set up in 1983, has been training people to become wholly safe, competent, confident, professional practitioners of Acupuncture TCM since that early date.

Our Professional Acupuncture Training programme begins in October each year and anyone wishing to apply for this year’s intake should contact us straight away as we have almost finished recruitment for this coming academic year.

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