Acupuncture: An Overview
Acupuncture is a potent healing practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. The holistic treatment focuses on needling acupressure points that regulate the body's energy flow. Acupuncture stimulates pressure points as needed to support the system and allow the body to heal itself.
A Career in Acupuncture
As a holistic medical practice, acupuncture requires a comprehensive understanding of the human body. A trained acupuncturist applies needles and pressure at key points along the body's meridians, or energy channels. Depending on the placement of the needles, acupuncture can provide relief from musculo-skeletal pain, neurological disorders, and many other injuries and illnesses.
Preparing for an acupuncture career involves a blend of clinical practice and formal acupuncture classes. Acupuncturists are licensed by the state in which they practice. Licensure requirements vary but typically involve:
- Training from an accredited acupuncture program
- Passing grade on an exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- Clinical experience
Programs generally take three or four years to complete, including both classroom instruction and clinical internship experience. Courses cover anatomy, biophysics, nutrition, and fundamental principles of Chinese medicine. Practical training covers needle technique, diagnosis, and herbology. Acupuncture degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's level.
Acupuncture Career Outlook
Acupuncturists can expect growing demand for their services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports historic growth in allied health care professions, as a result of an aging population and increased demand for preventative care. Acupuncturist services should grow 41 percent between 2008 and 2018. Earnings vary widely among acupuncturists, since most are self-employed. According to the American Association of Oriental Medicine, acupuncturists charge from $40 to $70 per session. PayScale reports a salary range of $35,384 to $97,667.