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.

Health and the Seasons – Late Summer


Harvest in Late Summer

Harvest in Late Summer

When does Autumn begin? Is it still summer at the moment, or is there a touch of autumn in the air? Are we at the cusp of a change of season?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the change of seasons is a period when aspects of our health can change and can either get better or worse. TCM theory would say that we are now entering the “Late Summer” season.  It is sometimes called “Indian Summer” in English.

In nature it is a time of Harvest, when we gather in the fruits of our labour. It is said that that “we reap what we sow”. This means that if we have sown bad seeds these will not produce a healthy and bountiful crop. Or, if we have not tended to the needs of our seedlings when they are growing, or the weather has been inclement, the yield will be poor.

Harvest

So too in our everyday lives. If we have not “sown good seeds” or paid due care and attention to our new projects, this can affect our health and wellbeing. If we have had a stressful Spring, setting up new ventures, striving to get ahead and be successful without taking necessary care of ourselves and others around us, our plans may not come to fruition. We may then feel worse in the Late Summer.

In terms of our own health, this season is traditionally associated, with the physiological system, referred to in Chinese, as Pi (and Wei). The notion of Pi in TCM covers a wide variety of human functions, ranging over a wide expanse of human activities. Among other things Pi is responsible for the body’s ability to adequately transform food and drink into Qi – the vital energy necessary for life. It is also responsible for separating out and getting rid of the waste products in daily living. Its widest function is that of transporting the Qi throughout the entire person.  Typically, a variety of “digestive” disorders may have their roots in Pi dysfunction and can get worse (or better) in Late Summer.

On a more mental level, Pi is responsible for transforming and transporting ideas. Failure in respect of this function can manifest as overthinking and repetitive or even obsessive thinking. Ideas can stick in the mind and clarity of mind will suffer. The person will not be able to separate good ideas or thoughts from bad ones.

Humidity or Dampness also “Distresses” Pi, so if the weather in Late Summer is Damp, clarity of Mind and efficiency of “Digestion” on all levels can be impaired. Other Damp-related symptoms like certain types of pain in the joints can also become worse during this season.

An Acupuncturist who is fully trained in the field of TCM, would be able to offer specifically tailored treatment and Chinese Medical advice to a patient who was susceptible to illnesses arising from, or getting worse, during the Late Summer.

Are you the sort of person who would be interested in learning, according to millennia of ancient venerable traditions, how different seasons influence and deeply affect yourself, other people and the entire environment around you? In more immediately practical terms, relating here to a self-employed profession, are you the sort of individual who would be interested in becoming a TCM practitioner, a fully trained, competent and confident  health-care professional  who would be able to offer such advice and treatment and thereby improve the health and wellbeing of clients?

If so, it is still not too late to apply for a place on our long-established, tried and tested, Professional Acupuncture Training programme, the Licentiate in TCM. The three year part-time course, run by the Irish College of TCM, begins in October each year and is held in our College in Dublin 3.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Longevity – Famous TCM Doctor dies at the age of 104


Professor Dr Deng Tietao of Guangzhou University of TCM in 2011

Professor Dr Deng Tietao of Guangzhou University of TCM in 2011

Dr Deng Tietao was a great friend and supporter of the Irish College of TCM. He died, earlier this month, at the age of 104, although as explained in his Wikipedia entry, this would be calculated a little differently in China. In the West, he would have been said to be nearly 103 at the time of his death.

We first met him in 2000 when he was already 85 years old. He came to teach us during one of the specialist Medical Qigong Courses that was being run exclusively for staff and graduates of the ICTCM.

Professor Deng was a kind, refined and enlightened man who understood the importance of being healthy on all levels – body, mind and spirit. He was a much published author of books on many aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine and his seminal book on Chinese Medical Diagnostics has been published in English. When only in his 50s, his students published a book (in Chinese) as a sign of respect for his excellence as a medical practitioner and teacher, which outlined his regimen for a healthy life and longevity.  This included his daily practice of one of the most famous traditional Qigong forms, called Baduanjin.

A very early illustration of the traditional Qigong form called Baduanjin

A very early illustration of the traditional Qigong form called Baduanjin

During the subsequent years we met him a number of times when he gave guest lectures to groups from our college and met the Director of the College Tom Shanahan to discuss the most important attributes of a Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner. Both agreed that it was kindness to one’s patients.

The last time we met was in 2011 after he had been awarded the very highest award by the Chinese Government in 2009. He was named a “Master of National Medicine” of China, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the China Society for Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology, and won the Guangdong Science and Technology Award (First Class).

Dr Deng, in his home in Guangzhou, with the President of the ICTCM, Tom Shanahan and the Registrar, Mary Plunkett

Dr Deng, in his home in Guangzhou, with the President of the ICTCM, Tom Shanahan and the Registrar, Mary Plunkett

During our last meeting in 2011 he brushed a unique calligraphy for the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine showing that he gave his great support to our efforts to spread high-quality, authentic Acupuncture and TCM across Europe and the world.  Further information can be found in our 2011 ICTCM news item.

News of his death was announced by the Guangzhou Daily on 10th January 2019. Their article gives an interesting extract from an interview with Dr Deng, who will be much missed by his friends, family and students.

Qigong for Health 2019


Qigong for Health 2019

Senior citizens practising a form of Qigong for Health, similar to the Qigong we teach at the ICTCM in Dublin.

Senior citizens practising a form of Qigong for Health

Qigong for Health weekend workshops, are run by the ICTCM (Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine) 2 or 3 times each year.  No further weekends will be held in 2018.

The ICTCM are leaders in the field of Qigong for Health and in the field of Medical Qigong. Our staff trained with Qigong Masters in China for many years.

The Qigong Booking Form is available here.  This is for reference only. Once a further weekend has been  organised the new booking form will be available here.

Introduction to Health Promoting Qigong

Qigong Calligraphy by ICTCM founder Tom Shanahan showing two Chinese characters Qi and Gong

Qigong Calligraphy by ICTCM founder Tom Shanahan

The course information is as follows:

Date: T.B.A. – Spring/early Summer 2019

Time: 10.00 to 4.30 each day

Fee: €200*
*Earlybird discount is sometimes available.

Information about the Qigong class

This is a two day introduction to Qigong for Health and Wellbeing, held in our centrally-located College in Dublin 3. Students are taught a set of simple movements, breathing exercises and relaxation/meditation techniques which they can practise on their own at home and you are encouraged to develop a regular daily routine of Qigong practice.

The pace of the classes is easy and the atmosphere is relaxed.
These weekend courses are suitable for all adults, including those who are

  • physically fit and in prime health
  • generally healthy but under stress
  • hoping and wishing to improve their health, fitness and mental/emotional well-being.
  • advised by their Acupuncturist to take up some Qigong practice to enhance or support the effect of TCM treatment.

You do not need any prior knowledge of Qigong, Chinese Medicine, Fitness Exercise, Martial Arts or meditation. Everyone can gain benefit from Qigong practice and can progress to a stage that is suitable for them.
The weekend is suitable for adults and no interview is needed.

Find out more about Qigong

To find out more about the health benefits of regular Qigong practice go to the Qigong page of our new website.

Book now  as these Qigong for Health weekends tend to fill up quickly.

Acupuncture training at the Irish College of TCM


Soon our Licentiate in TCM 2018 graduates will be receiving their graduation certificates and we will be turning our attention to further enhancing and developing our Professional Acupuncture TCM training course which has been running successfully in our College in Dublin for more than 35 years.

It is designed for adults wishing to work in a caring profession, whatever their current career, profession or experience.

In only 3 years of part time study we provide theoretical and clinical training to a high standard which will enable our graduates to confidently and professionally set up in practice within the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine in any part of Ireland and/or the UK.

We can post a Prospectus pack to you

or

You can access our course information, including course fees and payment plans from this online link.

The photo shows the college founder and Principal Tom Shanahan at Guangzhou University of TCM during a recent official visit to China.

Qigong in Macao and Ireland



During our recent visit to Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macao we were delighted to meet old friends in the TCM and Qigong field, and to make new ones.

At a conference on Health and Longevity the Irish College of TCM’s Director Tom Shanahan received a special award for presenting an outstanding academic paper.

Senior college staff have been training in Medical Qigong with their Chinese Qigong Master Professor Song Xinhong since 2000 and are happy to announce that another Qigong weekend workshop will be running in the college in June.
Book your place now to get the early bird offer.

Professor Song Xinhong was one of the event organisers for this very successful international conference.

Irish College of TCM visits China again



The Irish College of TCM (ICTCM) first visited Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in 1999. We have returned to our sister University in Guangzhou, with whom we have had a formal Affiliation since 2002, almost every year since then.

Many ICTCM graduates have attended month-long specialist post-graduate courses. The photo above is from the first Medical Qigong visit in 2000 and the photo below shows the 2002 group.

Later this month ICTCM staff will be meeting University officials in Guangzhou to discuss possible advances in the cooperation between the two TCM teaching institutes.

Application for Acupuncture TCM Training


Soon another group of students who are training to be Acupuncture professionals at the Irish College of TCM in Dublin will be Graduating from the Lic.TCM course. Second year students, such as those shown here learning to locate Acupuncture Points on the back, will be going into the Teaching Clinic to do their practical training.
Would you like to be one of the new first year students studying to change career and become an Acupuncture TCM practitioner?
It takes a little under 3 academic years of exciting, sometime challenging and always interesting part time study.
We are now accepting applications for the October 2018 start date.
The Prospectus Pack is available online at.www.ictcm.ie.