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 TCM, Acupuncture and 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.