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April 5, 2019

What Do Acupuncturists Actually Do?

woman receiving a facial acupuncture treatment

Many people know that acupuncturists practice acupuncture, but few know what the day-to-day life looks like. Acupuncture is full of many different approaches, so no two days are the same. While each acupuncture practice may run differently, there are many job responsibilities that acupuncturists have in common:

  • Meet with patients
  • Review health information & discuss treatment options
  • Perform acupuncture & other treatments for patients
  • Update patient records
  • Manage practice, employees, and work space
  • And meet continuing education requirements

In the state of California, Acupuncturists can be licensed primary care providers. They can provide wraparound general healthcare including diagnosis & treatment. Acupuncturists diagnose patients from the lens of East Asian Medicine and prescribe treatments such as acupuncture, dietary & lifestyle changes, and herbal medicines.Here are some of the things that acupuncturists can do during their careers:

Provide Acupuncture Treatments

Every appointment starts with a thorough diagnosis, which includes the four basic examinations taught in ancient texts: “ask”, “look”, “listen”, and “feel”. Acupuncturists will ask detailed health history questions, look at a patient’s tongue & skin, listen to their voice as well as “listen” to their pulses, and palpate the channels, muscles, & even occasionally the abdomen to complete a diagnosis. Acupuncturists are trained in a wide variety of acupuncture theories and techniques to suit patients and their needs, some of which do not involve needling. Some of these different treatments include:

Each of the different treatments and modalities are intended to be centered on the patient and not the practitioner. The plans that acupuncturists make with their patients are tailor-made, and revolve around making lifestyle choices to improve overall well-being.

Each of the different treatments and modalities are intended to be centered on the patient and not the practitioner. The plans that acupuncturists make with their patients are tailor-made, and revolve around making lifestyle choices to improve overall well-being.

Energy Work Treatments

Acupuncture treatments are designed to help bring balance to Yin and Yang in the body and restore harmony.Yin and Yang are two halves of a whole; they are dynamically and eternally linked, and they influence & create one another. Yang manifests as the energy and warmth of the body, while yin represents the more physical aspects of the body like the organs & fluids. Acupuncture, Medical Qi Gong, and many of the modalities within East Asian Medicine are designed to use energy, or Qi, to restore balance to the body & to the yin and yang of the body. The human body is programmed to function in harmony, and malfunction of vital organs is what we know as disease. Acupuncture is designed to bring the body into harmony so it can begin to heal itself.

Mind & Body Balance

powders and herbs commonly used in acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the treatments used in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is a medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years that teaches that the mind and body are fundamentally connected. TCM teaches that your mind and body influence one another and must be in balance, so an acupuncturist may recommend lifestyle practices that calm and clear the mind and improve balance of the systems in the body. Acupuncture is a lifestyle medicine, so this can include living with the seasons, eating for your constitution, managing stress in a balanced way, and with many other practices.

Acupuncturists can make recommendations on some of these lifestyle practices, herbalism, and other treatments to help bring balance to the mind and body. Skin is more than just the outside layer of our body. The skin functions to exchange vital information of the whole body. This vital information network is what acupuncturists tap into using touch, pressure, and needles to help bring balance to the body.

Business Management

It’s common for acupuncturists to own their own practice and to manage their own patients. This means that many acupuncturists can have the freedom to be self-sufficient and flexible in everything that they do. They can have the opportunity to design their own practices, choose treatments to specialize in, and live the lives that they desire. Acupuncturists can enjoy individualized careers that allow them to do what they love most, such as working in hospitals, integrative medicine clinics, multi-practitioner practices, and more.

Learn Acupuncture & TCM with AIMC

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has grown considerably in popularity in recent years. For example, acupuncture is increasingly being recommended by hospitals and outpatient clinics for chronic pain management over the use of prescription drugs. This means that there’s no time like the present to pursue a career in this growing and impactful profession!

Our students also have the opportunity to train and consult with real patients in our student clinic. This allows them to gain real experience before graduating and enter their own line of acupuncture work with confidence. Find out more about what it’s like to be a clinic intern practitioner at AIMC!

Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA offers masters and doctorate programs in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to help you reach the level of expertise you are looking for. Contact us to learn more about our programs and what you can do as a licensed acupuncturist!

*Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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