An Acupuncture Career
A career in acupuncture is one with a myriad of benefits and self-fulfillment. It takes a special person with compassion and a desire for learning holistic medicine to enter into this career field but the rewards are many.
Here is more about acupuncture, what it takes to become a practitioner in this versatile field, what personality traits are desired, and what you will do when working as an acupuncturist.
Acupuncturist: What You’ll Do
What is Acupuncture?
A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on the body. It is used to treat pain, as well as being used for stress management as well as overall health wellness.
Acupuncture focuses on energy, or Qi, instead of the biological and chemical processes of the human body. This is probably the largest distinction between Oriental and Western medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is linked to the belief that disease is caused by disruptions to the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. Acupuncture stimulates points on or under the skin called acupuncture points or acupressure points, releasing this qi. The qi then travels through channels called meridians.
Acupuncture/Oriental medicine, have treatments that identify a pattern of energy imbalance and then uses a variety of therapies to redress that harmony. To generate this energy in patients, acupuncturists use the most well-known tool is, of course, needles, but also include cupping, acupressure, moxibustion among other things. It is a field that has grown in popularity and continues to grow, with it being one of the most requested forms of treatment today.
As an acupuncturist, you’ll be a proponent for alternative medicine and maintaining wellness. If you’re compassionate, hard-working and have an interest in ancient medical practices, a career in acupuncture could be a good fit for you.
What Kind of Person Chooses Acupuncture?
A person who wants a career in acupuncture should have the attributes of a caring, compassionate person. The following are some of the personality traits that are ideal for this holistic medicine career:
SupportiveGood listening skillsPatientHigh ethical standardsInterpersonal skillsComfortable working with the publicA sympathetic dispositionCritical thinking skillsSelf-motivatingClear communication
Many people who choose a career in acupuncture are a certain type of person who:
Likes working with peopleLikes to help others and cares about their health and general well-beingHas clear goals and value achievementEnjoys more freedom from a rigid workplaceHave a disposition that is focused on caring for others
What does an acupuncturist do?
Acupuncturists treat a variety of physical and psychological issues like hypertension or anxiety. The practice is also used to maintain general health. As an acupuncturist, you’ll consult with patients about their symptoms, diagnose the issue and treat it using acupuncture needles and other tools.
The theory is that energy flows through certain meridians, or pathways, in the body and corresponds to certain internal organs or body parts. The role of an acupuncturist is to assist in rebalancing that energy flow so the body can repair itself.
On the job, acupuncturists:
Meet with patients in 30 to 60 minute appointments.Discuss treatment options and preventative measuresInsert needles to the appropriate body part for treatmentMaintain patient recordsMonitor patients’ progressEnsure all safety, infection, quality and environmental procedures and rules are in place and used
How Does Acupuncture Work?
There are different techniques, although they all share a common process of inserting needles along specific lines of energy or qi. Generally, acupuncture promotes natural self-healing processes by stimulating specific sites on the body. The most common method is the insertion of thin, sterile needles into the skin. To start the treatment, you lay on a table while specific acupoints are stimulated on different areas of your body. Six to eight needles are usually required in a typical session, though up to 10 needles may be used when two or more symptoms are being treated.
Acupuncture needles are usually within 0.00254 and 0.00325 inches in diameter, i.e. the width of a strand of hair. Most people experience little to no pain during the insertion of needles. These needles are placed in strategic points on the body that correspond to a specific medical condition. Other factors like pressure, electrical stimulation or heat can enhance the effects of treatment.
In Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, ultra-thin, sterile needles are used to release clogged up energy responsible for a particular ailment. Needles are kept in the body between 5 – 30 minutes, depending on the type of medical condition being treated. Most people feel relief immediately after treatment, while some will require additional visits to the acupuncturist.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the most sought-after alternative medicines. In biochemical terms, it involves the stimulation of the nerve endings to provide relief from a variety of health conditions.
Reduces Chronic Pain
This is probably one of the most popular and celebrated benefits. The impact on pain has been validated by various researchers. For example, a recent study from the Archive of Internal Medicine shows that it reduces different types of body pain by 15 percent. It is primarily used to treat chronic back pain that may be the result of poor body posture, diet, and sleep.
Acupuncture treatments have shown great success in relieving and reducing the frequency of headaches and migraines. Although the exact mechanism to prevent these conditions is not fully understood. However, treatments of the face, hand and scalp have always produced great results in reducing these. There’s also a lower chance of side effects from acupuncture than strong migraine drugs.
Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
There is strong evidence to back up the fact that acupuncture is effective against nausea and vomiting. There is an acupoint on the underside of the hand that’s responsible for this effect. It’s no surprise that recent studies published in Cochrane Library point to its effectiveness when compared to antiemetic drugs. You should know that acupuncture is preferable to antiemetic drugs since it does not change the body’s chemistry. It also helps to delay nausea on the day of chemotherapy treatments.
Acupuncture treatments have profound effects on different types of anxiety, from anxiety neurosis and generalized anxiety to perioperative anxiety. Although the exact mechanism of how it treats anxiety is unknown, clinical trials show a corresponding reduction in anxiety following treatment. Furthermore, the dosage of anti-anxiety drugs is often reduced when combined with acupuncture.
Insomnia is a common disorder in today’s society. It’s primarily caused by work-related stress and societal pressures. Acupuncture is a good way to let go of all that accumulated stress, thereby reducing the frequency of insomnia. Recent studies published in NCBI revealed that it stimulates the production of nocturnal melatonin, which is responsible for sleep. This study showed that regular treatments over the course of 5 weeks reduced the incidence of insomnia in the test group.
Safety Concerns and Contraindications of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is considered an invasive procedure since the needles used in treatment penetrate the skin. Therefore, there are risks of complications, especially if it’s not performed by a professional acupuncturist. Safety concerns include the following;
Risk of injury
There’s a slight chance of injury to important nerves and other structures. Since it’s an invasive procedure, there’s a risk of bleeding and injury. However, this is rare with professional acupuncturists. To overcome the risks of this invasive procedure, you can try the Japanese styles of acupuncture. It involves bringing the needle in contact with the skin without breaking through. Also, there are chances of infection through contaminated or re-used needles.
Risk to Pregnancy
Studies from News-Medical reveal that certain acupuncture points can cause harm to an unborn foetus, and may lead to the termination of the pregnancy.
For centuries, ancient Chinese civilizations have harnessed the myriads of benefits of acupuncture for different types of medical conditions. Besides its benefits, it is also more affordable than conventional medical treatment.