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 a TCM 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?
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 academic 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 TCM Acupuncturists or Practitioners of TCM Acupuncture.
Is this the same as a Western Medical Acupuncturist?
No. Most Western Medical Doctors, nurses and Physiotherapists who say they use 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.
Some Western Medicine (WM) professionals, such as those who have trained at the Irish College of TCM, are Chinese Medical Acupuncturists as well as being WM Doctors or nurses.
We will answer more questions about
Training to become a TCM Acupuncturist
in our next post.
Please note: the next academic year at the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin begins on 1 & 2 October 2022 and we are currently accepting applications for our TCM Acupuncture Training programme.
Have you thought about Acupuncture as a career? During the events of recent years many adults are reviewing their life choices and thinking of training for a new career. If you are considering a career in medicine you might wish to consider TCM Acupuncture as a profession. Here at the ICTCM we train adults in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) so that, after an intensive period of part time study, they are fully trained, fully qualified and fully insured to treat clients using TCM Acupuncture within the Traditional Chinese Medical system.
From start to finish you can be fully qualified in a period of about 2 and a half years.
We are able to do this because the sole focus of our programme is to provide our students with a solid base of Traditional Chinese Medical understanding of health and illness and Clinical competence in TCM Acupuncture Medicine. We do not give our students sample tastes of many different “Alternative” medicine approaches. Nor do we offer Acupuncture Training in which the diagnosis and treatment is made using the Western Medical model of illness. Rather, we focus on developing competence and confidence in treating patients in one specific medical modality which has stood the test of time over more than 2000 years, namely TCM Acupuncture. At the end of 2 and a half years you will have a very comprehensive and deep understanding of your chosen profession. You will not be a “Jack of all Trades and Master of none”.
TCM Acupuncture medicine includes not only the use of Acupuncture itself but also Moxibustion, Cupping and Chinese medical Life Style and Dietary advice. These are all taught on our Licentiate programme.
We are currently interviewing suitable applicants for places on our next training programme which begins in October 2022, so, if you are thinking of changing career we would like to hear from you. Our Prospectus can be reached here and includes an Application form, Fee information and a summary of the Licentiate in TCM (Lic.TCM) Acupuncture Training.
The Lic.TCM qualification provides entry to the oldest TCM professional body in Ireland, and full professional insurance for practice in both Ireland and the UK. We pride ourselves on setting and maintaining high standards for ourselves and our students. We accept applicants who wish to achieve a high level of both under-pinning knowledge of TCM and confidence and competence as a Chinese Medical Acupuncturist. This does, of course, require commitment and hard work. However, the programme is organised in such a way that it can be successfully studied by busy adults who are wishing to change career – provided they have the interest and determination to succeed. The link here gives detailed information about the differences between various types of Acupuncture and Training.
“As a fully trained, professional and insured practitioner of TCM Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Medical Qigong, and teacher at the ICTCM for more than 30 years, I feel privileged to be in a field in which my work contributes to people’s health and well-being. I also value being part of an ongoing transmission of a more than two thousand year old medical tradition. The whole study of TCM is fascinating and encompassing and I look forward to welcoming you to join us.” (Mary, Registrar).
The Acupuncture Prospectus 2022 for the Acupuncture course run by the ICTCM (Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine) is available online. It includes:
An Application Form
Course fees and payment methods
A summary of the 3 year part-time professional training course.
We are currently accepting applications and interviewing suitable applicants for the October 2022 intake. A coloured brochure about the College is also available by post. Please send us your postal address if you would like to received a copy.The College website gives detailed information about the content and structure of the course itself, and includes considerable background information about how Acupuncture/TCM training – in which students learn to diagnose and treat clients using the underpinning theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine – is far more comprehensive and all-encompassing than learning Acupuncture alone.As is said on the Website:
“The Acupuncture practitioner uses the ancient and well-established principles and theories of Chinese Medicine to diagnose and treat the client. These are exclusive to Chinese Medicine. They do not rely upon other medical systems or diagnostic methods, such as those used by Western Medical Practitioners.
A person who is working as a Practitioner of Acupuncture/TCM can be referred to as an “Acupuncture/TCM practitioner”, a “TCM practitioner specialising in Acupuncture” or a “Chinese Medical Acupuncturist”.
Other TCM treatment options are available to the Chinese Medical Acupuncturist including
Dietary therapy and
Life style advice.
These treatment methods are all taught as part of our professional Acupuncture Training Programme, the Lic.TCM.”
Acupuncture Training at the ICTCM is now being taught as a mixed online and College-based programme.
This part time, weekend only training in Acupuncture TCM enables students to qualify as a Professional TCM Acupuncturist within a little less than 3 full academic years.
You can apply now for the October 2022 intake.
How is the Course run?
The first two years of the course mainly cover TCM theory, practical acupuncture point location and TCM diagnostic methods. They are run as a mix of college-based and online learning in which students attend classes for one weekend a month, either in college or via Zoom. This mixed mode of study makes the course easily accessible to those living a long way from Dublin.
Approximately 25% of these weekends are held in our specialist TCM College in Dublin 3. The college-based sessions focus on practical point location and skill development. The third year is devoted to Clinical Training and requires attendance in our Chinese Medicine Teaching Clinic, in Dublin, which adjoins the College. Clinical Training is run on Saturday and Sunday, very two weeks, from September to March. Other aspects of the Third year programme are conducted via Zoom.
This intensive professional Acupuncture training programme, called the Licentiate in TCM (usually referred to as the Licentiate or Lic.TCM) enables graduates to use Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Cupping, Dietary therapy and life-style advice (based on the tenets of Chinese Medicine) to treat clients suffering from a very wide range of medical conditions.
Diagnosis and Treatment is based on a thorough knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, which is why graduates refer to themselves as a TCM Acupuncturist or Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine specialising in Acupuncture.
The College is devoted to turning out fully-rounded professional practitioners, not mere theoreticians. If you want to be a “Superior Practitioner” of Acupuncture TCM, able to use Acupuncture and related TCM therapies not only to alleviate, or even cure, current diseases but also to help a client to be better equipped to prevent future illness from occurring, then the Lic.TCM is the course for you.
The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine wish a Happy New Year of the Water Tiger to all our staff, students, friends and colleagues at home and abroad.
May you all have a prosperous and healthy year with comfort and joy.
As the start date for the next Acupuncture TCM programme is fast approaching, little time is left for any late applications.
Because of Covid, a substantial part of the first year course will be conducted via Zoom, making it even more accessible for people who do not live near Dublin. Our current students come from different parts of Ireland and beyond. If you would like to find out about the type of person who studies with us to become a highly trained TCM acupuncturist, we have some information available on our website.
We look forward to hearing from serious candidates in the near future.
Introduction to the Irish College of TCM (ICTCM)
In October, at the start of every Academic year, the College Founder and Director Tom Shanahan welcomes new students to the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
His ICTCM introduction places the study of TCM and Acupuncture, as taught at the college, within the philosophical framework of Daoism.
This gives students a sense of the precious inheritance that was shared with Tom by his own teachers and professors in China, and is being provided and shared with people who come to study with us here in Dublin.
Here is an extract from the Introduction called: “Medicine and the Practitioner”:
All medical systems have their use and value; each satisfies certain needs. Every system is only as good as its practitioner. As the practitioner is the most powerful medicine in the surgery, it matters hugely who you are and not just what you do. Thus, the study of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has to be not solely a study of medicine but also a way towards personal development.
Acupuncture is part of TCM. TCM is a supremely preventative medicine with a sophisticated theoretical structure. Essentially it is a simple and profound system, not based upon man-made laws but upon laws of nature, the natural laws of the universe, or what the Chinese refer to as the Dào – the Way. 道
The Dào predates human civilization and transcends all boundaries of space and time, race and culture, since it is the universal and enduring Way of nature. It is the primal power that forges all phenomena in the universe, from the infinite to the infinitesimal. Invisible yet ever present it permeates the world with the very breath of life, and those who learn how to harmonize themselves with the Dào may harness that power to enhance and prolong health and life itself.
This Way is not simply a philosophy of life but rather an entire way of life based upon the most fundamental of laws. These laws do not change and will never become out of date. They are permanent and immutable.
In spite of the current pandemic of Coronavirus, the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine is happy to report that we are continuing to provide teaching to the students on our Acupuncture and TCM programmes.
Of course, Covid-19 has meant that we have to do some things differently. So, during the last year most of the Acupuncture training programme has been taught via video conferencing.
In Summer 2020, (when infection rates were low and there was no lockdown) second year students met their Clinical Supervisor, in college, to practise some of the essential clinical skills that are required in the Teaching Clinic. This Teaching Clinic, which relates to the development and refining of Clinical skills, requires face-to-face supervision in College and will commence as soon as it is safe, and permitted, to do so.
Our new intact of students on the Professional Acupuncture Training programme, who started in October 2021 are successfully undertaking their first year via Zoom.
Medical Qigong programmes also recommenced, via Zoom, in early 2021.
Having run the teaching sessions for our current students via video conferencing so smoothly and successfully, we intend to teach much of the theoretical content of the Acupuncture Training programme, the Licentiate in TCM, in this way from now on, thus reducing the number of weekends in which students will need to travel to the College in Dublin 3.
However, all practical and clinical aspects of the programme require hands-on, face-to-face practical skill development and need to be taught in the College in Dublin. For our current students, this will be provided via intensive weekend workshops during Summer 2021, (or as soon as it is safe to do so.)
For students who start with us in October 2021 a certain proportion of weekends will be allocated to face-to-face practical skills teaching in the College.
The Year of the Ox starts today. Happy New Year to all our friends and colleagues, in particular those working, or training, in Chinese Medicine in Ireland and Europe and those working in this field of medicine in its motherland, China.
Chinese New Year is a good time to make announcements, so we are happy to inform you that:
- This website have now had many pages updated to reflect the information about entry to courses starting in 2021. The professional 2021 Acupuncture Training prospectus is available here.
- We are now accepting applications for this course and look forward to hearing from suitable applicants.
All the staff at the ICTCM are very happy to welcome in the 2021 New Year. We send good wishes for a healthy year ahead to all our students, friends and colleagues. The College Directors thank all the staff and students for their optimistic, practical and flexible approach to the educational changes that they are experiencing due to Coronavirus.
A brief update on changes to our Acupuncture Training teaching and learning protocols is provided here.
Due to Coronavirus, our first and second year students are currently studying with us via Zoom. All aspects of the curriculum are being provided in the normal way – just “at a distance.” Examinations and assessment procedures have been altered to fit the new ways of teaching and learning.
The practical clinical training for the Third Year students has had to be deferred until we can meet clients face to face in the Teaching Clinic. These students have now nearly completed all the theoretical aspects of the Clinical year, including project work, and are attending, by invitation, some additional teaching sessions to keep themselves up to date with all the theory and point location work. The practical Teaching Clinic will only start when it is safe to do so.
Additionally, our Qigong teachers are currently designing Zoom-based training in Health Promoting Qigong for the Spring.