Acupuncturists treat a variety of physical and emotional problems by inserting fine needles into specific pressure points on the body, to stimulate the energy flow in the body.
You could be:
- discussing your client’s lifestyle, exercise levels, diet and emotional wellbeing
- making a diagnosis and deciding a course of treatment after discussing the client's complaint and symptoms
- inserting fine needles into certain specific spots to treat a problem such as arthritis, back problems, eczema or addiction to smoking
- using modern equipment such as electro-acupuncture or lasers
- using other Chinese medicine techniques such as moxibustion, by warming the acupuncture points with moxa, a therapeutic herb
- advising on diet and exercise
- advising your client to see a doctor and keeping records of treatment.
Most acupuncturists work for themselves. They charge a fee for each session with the client. The better known they are, the more they can charge.
Fees on average are about £35 to £50 an hour with regular patients getting a special deal for a block of sessions. Out of this income the acupuncturist has to buy equipment and pay for premises.
- You could work in a clinic, health centre or hospital.
- You might work from your own home or visit clients at their homes.
- You may have to travel.
- You may need to work evenings or weekends.
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- The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) website has a list of accredited courses at degree level or other levels.
- There are no courses in Scotland. Most courses are in London and the south-east, but there are courses in Lincoln and York.
- Entry requirements vary – usually 3-4 Highers including a science subject.
- If you are qualified in medicine or some other health care profession such as physiotherapy, you can take a special course to allow you to use acupuncture as well as conventional medicine.
- You will require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese system of medicine, which is 3,000 years old. It is a small but growing profession in the UK.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- able to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds
- sensitive, understanding and sympathetic
- a good listener and communicator
- practical, careful and well organised
- logical and able to solve problems
- reliable and able to inspire confidence in patients
- good with your hands to use fine needles.
- Once you have gained your qualification, training is on the job, with short courses to keep you up to date.
- If you have a qualification accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAC), you can apply for membership and have your name entered on the British Acupuncture Council (BAaC) register. This is voluntary but is likely to help your career.
- Many acupuncturists go on to acquire additional skills in similar fields such as Chinese herbal medicine.
- The British Medical Acupuncture Society runs training courses for registered healthcare professionals. These include doctors, dentists, vets, nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and podiatrists. These courses assume a certain level of medical knowledge.
- You might find work in the National Health Service (NHS) but most acupuncturists run their own businesses.
- With experience you might be able to increase the size of your business.
- You might train in more than one complementary therapy – perhaps in a related area such as Qigong.
- You might combine your work with teaching or research.
- It might help if you can move around the country.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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