How to Become an Acupuncturist

If you’re looking for a challenging and exciting field that offers you the ability to help people and relieve their stress, acupuncture might be for you. Acupuncture is based on an ancient Chinese medicinal art. The field requires significant amounts of training but is rapidly growing field, and many insurance plans today have begun covering it as a legitimate medical treatment.

What Is an Acupuncturist?

An acupuncturist is someone who performs the Traditional Chinese Medicine technique of acupuncture. The acupuncturist will locate specific areas of a patient’s body and place needles there to stimulate the patient’s chi. Some acupuncturists believe that the medicinal effect is caused by energy flowing through the body while others believe that it is a purely medical therapy that stimulates hormones and other chemicals within the body. Either way, there are specific guidelines that most acupuncturists will follow when diagnosing and treating patients.

How to Become a Acupuncturist

The acupuncturist will usually first mark off the areas of the body that they will place the special acupuncture needles into.

Most acupuncturists will work on their own and set their own hours. They will usually work in shops that will additionally sell holistic treatments and Chinese herbs. Acupuncturists may have administrative staff or may handle all of the day-to-day operations of their business on their own. Usually, an acupuncturist will need to bill insurance companies for their treatments rather than billing their clients directly. The amount of money an acupuncturist will make is highly variable, as they need to build their own client base, set their own prices and control their own overhead.

What Does an Acupuncturist Do?

The art of acupuncture begins with discussing a patient’s complaints. Acupuncture can be used to treat everything from high stress levels to sleeping disorders, and the acupuncture specialist needs to be well-versed in diagnosing different problems and knowing how to treat them. Once the acupuncturist has adequately diagnosed the patient and consulted with the patient, the treatment will usually begin.

The acupuncturist will usually first mark off the areas of the body that they will place the special acupuncture needles into. Different areas are used to treat different ailments, and part of the training an acupuncturist is provided will involve identifying these areas. Once the marks have been placed the acupuncturist will slowly insert the needles. The needles are extremely thin and do not cause significant pain in the client.

How Do You Become an Acupuncturist?

Accredited schools are available for those that want to become acupuncturists. These schools offer acupuncture degrees and certifications that are backed by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Many acupuncturists will also undergo training like an apprenticeship before they begin operating on their own. While acupuncture is not dangerous, it is still a medical procedure and needs to be treated as such.

How Do You Advance as an Acupuncturist?

According to, you can choose to get a degree in oriental medicine rather than purely in acupuncture. This will allow you to develop your practice beyond just acupuncture. Chinese medicine often includes herbs and other practices that can be quite extensive, and will offer you the ability to treat your clients in a more comprehensive fashion. It will also increase the amount of money you make by allowing you to sell supplements and natural remedies.

Otherwise, advancing as an acupuncturist will usually mean opening more shops and building up your client base. Many acupuncturists maintain offices in several cities because this allows them to reach a larger body of potential patients. Other acupuncturists combine their services with naturopaths or related medical practitioners. This can be mutually beneficial, as both parties can refer clients to one another.

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