How do I learn acupuncture, and establish a practice?
January 2, 2006 11:23 AM   Subscribe

AskMe inspires me. How do I learn acupuncture?

My significant other has severe chronic pain issues, and she's unable to find a doctor who's willing and able to work with them. I called an acupuncturist last week to setup an appointment for her, after reading a number of studies which indicate acupuncture is effective in the treatment of several chronic pain issues.

If it works, I would like to learn acupuncture myself, so that I can help in the event that we're suddenly bankrupt, or we move to the middle of a forest, or something. How would I best go about doing this?
posted by Jairus to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
As you are hiring someone to come over, it would make sense to explain you intentions and see if they'd help. Otherwise, I think it's relatively easy to find a practioner/teacher within a reasonable distance from home. Did you do a google search for your area?
posted by j.p. Hung at 11:36 AM on January 2, 2006

It's not a 9 week continuing ed course, it's a diploma program that you would undertake at a school of Traditional Chinese medicine, or a college or university. This would invovle course work as well as working in the schools clinic for some period (similar to a residency, but probably with more reasonable hours). In some places you require certification.

See here for an example.
posted by duck at 11:46 AM on January 2, 2006

In the USA you take a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (3 or 4 years depending on the school) you then sit for state licensure boards which vary depending on where you live.

Your training will include a surprising amount of western sciences - anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, biophysics, pathophysiology, pharmacology and toxicology. As well as Chinese medicine - including acupuncture, herbology, massage and nutrition. Most people who go to acupuncture school are surprised by how rigorous it is. I say this as an acupuncturist and a former professor of traditional asian medicine. So you need to be sure that you feel passionately about the medicine in order to stay the course. My experience is that there is a big drop out rate.

However for some people it is a fascinating area of study covering sinology, medical anthropogy, medicine and hands on care for people.

The best schools tend to be in California where there have been licensed acupuncturists for a long time ACTCM in San Francisco has a good reputation as does NESA in Boston and Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego is pretty good.
posted by anapurna at 11:52 AM on January 2, 2006

Oh, I forgot to add that it is illegal to practice acupuncture without a license in the USA not sure about other places.
posted by anapurna at 11:56 AM on January 2, 2006

Be sure to do some reading first.
posted by madman at 9:44 PM on January 2, 2006

madman: I've done a fair amount of reading -- even the first link you posted says that the National Institutes of Health determined that Fmusculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and tennis elbow... are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial and that it has been shown in controlled experiments to trigger the production of endorphins.

I'm not looking to acupuncture to cure underlying medical problems. I'm looking at it as a form of pain management.
posted by Jairus at 12:01 AM on January 3, 2006

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