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What You Need to Know About a Career in Acupuncture

With a career in acupuncture, you can use time-tested healing techniques and modalities to help patients regain their health.

person demonstrating points on hands to two clients
person demonstrating points on hands to two clients

Acupuncture is an ancient practice that promotes healing by inserting needles into the human body to improve the flow of energy, called qi. From its roots in ancient China, acupuncture has become a trusted, healing remedy used all around the world.

从独立诊所到大型医疗中心,可以在各种环境中找到针灸师。他们的专业知识得到了越来越多的科学研究的支持,证明了针灸的积极影响。

Patients see an acupuncturist for a range of health problems, including pain, infertility, and respiratory disorders. Some are seeking an alternative to Western medical practices, while for others, acupuncture is used to complement existing treatments.

角色和责任

icon needle

这primary treatment provided by acupuncturists involves placing specialized needles in a patient’s meridians, or energy pathways. Acupuncture needles are sterile and about as thick as a strand of hair. You might use these needles warmed or at room temperature, depending on the patient and treatment.

但是,治疗患者的第一步是获得完整的病史并了解他们目前正在遇到的任何症状。这很重要,因为针灸针的放置需要非常精确并针对个人量身定制。

You’ll also do a medical exam of each patient. You’ll check some of the standard vital signs that Western healthcare professionals check, such as pulse, blood pressure, and respiration, but you’ll also take care to examine the patient’s tongue. Your education as an acupuncturist will teach you what to look for in a tongue exam, and how certain indicators such as its shape, color, and texture can dictate the treatment you’ll provide.

Many people are surprised by how meticulous and thorough acupuncture exams are.

“虽然针灸可以被认为是一种能量医学的一种形式,但针灸师接受了基本医学科学的培训,”西雅图的整体从业者和针灸师詹妮弗·贝内特(Jennifer Bennett预约期间的系统,就像其他医生一样。”

Tools of the Trade

Needles aren’t the only tool an acupuncturist has. You might also apply heat, pressure, friction, or even electromagnetic pulses along a patient’s meridians to achieve healing. And depending on your training and experience, there are a variety of additional methods you can use to treat patients.

常用的其他技术包括:

moxibustion:

在针灸点上燃烧的莫克斯(Moxa

拔罐:

这act of使用玻璃杯在皮肤上创建真空to help move blood and break up connective tissue

Gua sha:

这act of scraping or applying friction on the skin to help move blood and release heat

电针:

电力在针上的应用以帮助移动气和收缩肌肉

离子泵送:

这use of one-way, electron-moving cables to help balance out osmotic concentrations in the tissues

Tui na:

A form of Chinese massage that helps to disperse qi and break up muscle tension

What You’ll Treat

针灸师可以治疗广泛的疾病。这effects of acupuncture on many conditionsare still being studied. Currently, studies by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) show that acupuncture can provide relief for:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Knee pain caused by osteoarthritis

Acupuncture’s effects on other conditions need to be studied further, but many practitioners and patients have seen positive effects on numerous other conditions.

“Acupuncture is best known for treating pain, so many people seek acupuncture for pain relief,” explains Bennett, “but acupuncture is also very good at treating (other) kinds of concerns, from cardiovascular complaints to infertility.”

在自己的实践中,贝内特经常使用针灸来帮助调节自身免疫性疾病患者的免疫系统功能。

“Since acupuncture has the ability to affect all organ systems, it can affect all conditions in the body in one way or another,” she says.

In addition to treating pain, acupuncturists also often address:

  • Nervous system issues—numbness, tingling, pinched nerves
  • Fertility or aiding in conception
  • Migraines
  • Balance or dizziness
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • 皮疹或痤疮等皮肤问题

Typical Career Paths and Workplaces

Many acupuncturists see patients in private clinics, but that’s not your only option. Places acupuncturists can be found include:

Where You’ll Work

What You’ll Do

私人诊所

  • 使用针灸理论和技术诊断和治疗患者
  • Develop care plans
  • 开处方补充疗法
  • Keep patient records
  • Handle marketing and other financial concerns

Wellness center or spa

  • 使用针灸理论和技术诊断和治疗患者
  • Advise patients about other therapies that might help them

综合医疗中心

  • 使用针灸理论和技术诊断和治疗患者
  • Meet with other healthcare providers about each patient’s overall care plan

Holistic health center

  • 使用针灸理论和技术诊断和治疗患者
  • Advise patients about other therapies that might help them
  • Chart treatment and results in the patient record

Do Acupuncturists Work with Other Providers?

It’s not unusual for acupuncturists to have their own clinics, but many acupuncturists work alongside other healthcare professionals, where they bring their healing skills to a wider care plan. In some cases, a team might be composed ofother holistic health providers。If you work at an integrative medical center, most team members might be Western healthcare practitioners.

Either way, a team approach can you help get an even deeper understanding of a patient’s needs. Working with other professionals, you can help patients heal and achieve their health goals.

“针灸师是一个伟大的医疗团队的一部分as a complementary approach,” Bennett says. “(It) can often help add additional benefits to other conventional and alternative treatments.”

What Degree Do I Need?

icon college

You’ll need至少练习针灸的硕士学位。您也可以获得博士学位。无论哪种方式,您都需要获得学士学位或更高的学位,然后才能进行针灸教育。一些程序将使您与主人的学士学位获得学士学位。

这program you attend will teach the philosophy behind acupuncture and help you master acupuncture techniques. Depending on your program, you might also study Chinese herbs and medicine. There are a few program types available, but as rule, you can choose from:

  • 针灸大师
  • 东方医学大师
  • 针灸大师与中文草药专业
  • Doctor of Acupuncture

无论您选择什么,您都需要确保您的计划已获得针灸和东方医学认证委员会(ACAOM)的认可。您需要就读于ACAOM认可的学校,以在大多数州获得认证和许可。

Do I Need a License to Practice?

You’llneed a license to practice in most states。目前不需要许可以:

  • Alabama
  • 俄克拉荷马州
  • South Dakota

All other states require some sort of licensure, although requirements vary. Generally, you’ll need to have earned a degree from an accredited school and have passed exams. Even if your state doesn’t require licensure, it still might be a good idea to earn national certification. This can both increase your credibility and allow you to accept some kinds of insurance for payment.

那认证呢?

Like licensure, certification is generally—but not always—required. When certification is required, you’ll need to pass an exam given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). To qualify for the exam, you’ll need a degree from an ACAOM-accredited school and to pass a Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course.

几个州要求您获得许可,但未获得认证。在这些州,您仍然需要从NCCAOM参加考试,但是您无需赚取和维护NCCAOM认证。有一个例外:在加利福尼亚,您需要获得许可,但您不会参加NCCAOM考试。加利福尼亚有自己的考试和许可过程。

How Much Can I Earn?

icon dollar sign

Your针灸薪水取决于几个因素, including your experience, whether you’re licensed, and where you work. If you run your own clinic, your salary might depend on your clinic’s success. The number of patients you see, your ability to take insurance payments, and the recommendations you get based on your reputation in the local community can all make a huge difference in the amount of money your clinic brings in.

Career Outlook

Acupuncture is a growing field. Recent research has backed its use as a treatment for several conditions. Additionally, acupuncture is increasingly reimbursed by insurance companies and used as part of complementary or integrative medical approaches. This increasing respect from Western medicine is driving job growth for acupuncture practitioners.

贝内特说:“随着美国的人们越来越意识到针灸的用途除了痛苦之外,对针灸的需求正在增长。”“针灸师经常被预订数周。而且,在难以获得针灸的小镇和农村地区,对针灸师的需求越来越大。”

这Many Facets of Acupuncture

带有子午线和针头的针灸模型的背面

您作为针灸师的工作可以采取多种形式,具体取决于您拥有的学位类型,提供的专业以及您自己的实践还是为他人工作。例如,如果您通过中草药的认证增强了基本针刺的重点并运营自己的诊所,则可以花费大量时间开处方草药治疗以帮助解决您的患者疾病

“This can include applying herbs or topical formulations directly to the skin,” says Bennett, “or it could be using herbal formulas to help aid the effect of the acupuncture treatment.”

More Than Just Treatment

如果您经营自己的诊所,则行政职责可能会占用您一天的很大一部分。您需要确保您花时间更新患者记录并安排约会。您还需要确保自己掌握账单并注意其他业务要点,例如订购用品和营销您的实践。

相反,如果您在大型综合医疗中心工作,则您的职责将不同。除了与客户见面外,您还可能会参加会议,与其他医疗保健提供者合作就患者护理和治疗进行合作。

Do I Have What it Takes?

All acupuncturists provide healing to their patients and, as with any healthcare provider, you’ll need to be compassionate and have a genuine desire to help your patients feel better. Other qualities that might make you great for this role include:

Patience

You’ll likely work with patients who have been dealing with years of chronic pain or have tried other therapies without seeing results.

Great listening skills

成功的针灸师将花费大量时间来探索患者的疼痛来源。您会问很多问题,并从患者那里获得很多信息。

注意细节

针灸是一种需要您确切知道自己在做什么的做法,并且每次都正确地做到了。

Business sense

Since many acupuncturists own clinics, it helps to have some skills in areas like marketing and budgeting.


斯蒂芬妮·贝林(Stephanie Behring)

Written and Reported by:
Stephanie Behring
作家

詹妮弗·贝内特(Jennifer Bennett)

具有专业见解,来自:
Jennifer Bennett, ND, LAc
Bastyr大学的自然疗法学和教授


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