Thirty years ago, when the baby boomers were looking for their first careers, acupuncture was not yet on most people’s radar. But after the doors to China opened in the ’70s and even more in the ’80s, people started looking at acupuncture as a health care modality and a profession.
Now, it is one of the most requested forms of alternative treatment, according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine—making it a viable career option.
Here are some things to consider about a career as a licensed acupuncturist.
Do you value your freedom? Have an entrepreneurial spirit? The majority of acupuncturists are self-employed, so if you want a career where you set your own hours and can be your own manager, being an acupuncturist would be a good fit.
Do you resonate with the idea that good health stems from an understanding of the body as a whole instead of individual parts? Chinese medicine has long recognized that physical health is best achieved through a whole body approach that takes into account the body, mind, and spirit of an individual.
As an acupuncturist you will learn how imbalances in the body impact the mind and spirit, and vice versa. You can help your patients find health through balance of the body, mind, and spirit, which includes diet and lifestyle changes.
Working With Your Hands
Do you have steady hands? As an acupuncturist, you will need to insert needles to precise depths, so you will want to have confidence in your fine motor skills.
When the needles are in just the right place, an experienced acupuncturist can feel a certain tension in them. This tension has been described as similar to when a fish bites a hook causing the fishing line to become taut, but more subtle.
Do you have a desire to see others heal and the willingness to support them through challenging moments? The journey to healing is not always easy. Patients are suffering and need someone to help them find the right path to health. This may include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, therapeutic exercise (tai ji quan, qigong), or diet therapy.
As a licensed acupuncturist, you will need to patiently help guide your clients through the process of finding the right path to health and making the necessary changes.
Are you a keen listener? Before starting treatment with a new patient, acupuncturists do an in-depth interview so they can understand the patient’s full health history.
Treatments are based on sometimes very subtle clues that come up in these interviews, so listening closely to what your clients say, noticing their body language, and observing their complexion, state of mind, and more can make a big difference in treatment.
A Different Worldview
Are you curious to see the world from a new perspective? Acupuncture is a 2,000-year-old healing modality that developed in a cultural framework very different from ours today. When you study acupuncture, you will learn Western anatomy, physiology, and pathology, as well as the Chinese understanding of the body, how it works, and how it becomes diseased.
Learning the principles of Chinese medicine will give you the opportunity to see the world from a very different perspective and make causal connections that open the way to profound healing.
The Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine of New York Chiropractic College offers a Master of Science degree in acupuncture and in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The curricula are solidly based in the traditions of Oriental medicine, including acupuncture, dietary therapy, bodywork, therapeutic exercise, and Chinese herbal medicine. AOM.NYCC.edu