Acupuncturists carry out physical examinations of their patients and compare findings with medical history and evaluations of lifestyle in order to diagnose according to Oriental medicine traditions. Many acupuncturists are self-employed; some work for specialist clinics or hospitals.
- carry out an initial consultation with each client, in order to establish a detailed case history, assess their health and determine a treatment plan
- conduct subsequent one-to-one treatment sessions, lasting between 45 minutes and an hour
- explain the diagnosis and treatment to the client and respond to their questions and concerns
- give treatment by inserting fine needles into the skin at particular locations, to stimulate the energy flow along meridians (energy channels) and the body's own healing response
- incorporate other treatments, such as moxibustion (burning the moxa herb on or near the skin), electro-acupuncture (stimulating insertion points with small electric currents), acupressure (to loosen and relax muscles) and cupping
- assess client progress through questioning and examination, reviewing treatment plans if necessary
- keep client and financial records
- organise and promote your practice.
An acupuncturist's earnings are related to the success of the practice and may be low during the first three to four years, as it can take time to get established. Salries can also very widely depending on the location of your practice. If located in a city you are likely to earn more than if you are absed in a rural area.
Travel: not usually necessary.
Working hours: mostly regular.
Location: based in clinics and hospitals across Ireland and Northern Ireland, or at home.
A degree, particularly in a science, is beneficial but not compulsory. The main Acupuncture and TCM qualification is the Licentiate in TCM (Lic.TCM), which is offered by institutions such as The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.