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A degree in acupuncture is typically pursued at the graduate level and takes between 3-4 years to complete. The education provided by such a program involves the study of traditional Chinese techniques, particularly the use of medicinal needles on various pressure points to ease pain and cure disease. Students lacking a bachelor degree in science may be required by a given program to take certain courses prior to admission into their program, particularly anatomy and physiology courses due to the need of familiarity with the human body to perform acupuncture techniques.
A curriculum in acupuncture may include:
- Point Location
- Botanical Medicine
- Clinical Diagnosis
- Lab Diagnosis
- Public Health
Programs in acupuncture prepare students for a career as an acupuncturist, which involves diagnosis and treatment for a variety of ailments. Acupuncture primarily deals with the use of needles in pressure points near or on organs in order to relax the body and promote wellness. Additional techniques, such as acupressure massage, may be applied to facilitate treatment. The use of herbs is also taught to assist in the process, either through aromatherapy or ingestion. Ailments that may be treated by acupuncture are varied, from headaches and soreness to colitis and gastritis. The use of acupuncture for treatment is approved by the World Health Organization, falling under the category of traditional medicine.
In the United States acupuncture is normally performed through private clinics or holistic medical centers providing alternative medicine therapies. Individuals will typically work under an experienced professional in order to obtain practical experience prior to pursuing a career of their own. Traditional medicine as a whole is growing in popularity in the United States, as a result acupuncture has become more accepted as a form of treatment resulting in growth and the spread of locations offering such services throughout the country. With the population aging in the United States, the demand for medical treatments, particularly alternative treatments, is expected to grow, also affecting the growth of acupuncture positively.
The average salary for an acupuncturist is approximately $56,000, with practitioners in larger cities expecting to earn more due to population. Experienced acupuncturists may also earn more based on notoriety and years of practice.
Individuals interested in acupuncture may also be interested in homeopathy, naturopathy, and traditional asian medicine and herbology.