I was conditioned to be opposed to doing acupuncture by prescription. It goes against all my instincts and my training, which says that if we are working with holistic medicine we must by implication look at the whole case. This system of medicine is about people not conditions so prescriptions will only offer temporary relief of symptoms at best. My colleagues and I have always looked upon Medical Acupuncture as an inferior version of what we do because it does not work with traditional theory. The point functions are learned in a prescriptive manner with no acknowledgement of the existence of Qi. Now I hear that you can buy computer software where you type in signs and symptoms to give you a diagnosis and points prescription.
The problem with my long-term opposition to prescriptive acupuncture is to know what to say when someone asks what is wrong with it. I can’t claim its unsafe because so long as people are following Health and safety guidelines and proper CNT and the usual guidelines about drugs, pregnancy etc. It clearly is not. I can’t claim that it does not work because there are too many people who say it has worked for them. I can’t even claim superiority for another system because it is all very subjective and open to interpretation. So frankly I’ve decided that it’s about time to accept that there is nothing wrong with a bit of prescriptive acupuncture. In fact if we are honest about it a lot of acupuncture is prescriptive anyway we just don’t say so. Becoming an effective acupuncturist is mostly about confidence and a feel for Qi gained through practice. Why can’t prescriptive acupuncture be a way in for people who wish to start off simply? I think it would be silly not to acknowledge this.
You can get a diploma in acupuncture, you can get a simple certificate and you can get a full degree. Ultimately there is nothing to stop you calling yourself an acupuncturist without any qualification at all. So we need to see if a full degree course is a worthwhile option. Lets have a look at whats available from different colleges:
If you attend one of the three year courses at a universtity or a universtity accredited college you will probably get a degree. Alternatively you can obtain a diploma in acupuncture or a certificate at any number of other colleges. Courses vary in length from a few months to three years but before you make a decision there are a few questions its worth asking.
1, Who are the institution to issue the degree or diploma in acupuncture and what gives them that authority?
2, What does it actually mean in terms of recognition by the public, the NHS, in law and/or abroad?
3, What is the cost of a diploma in acupuncture?
4, Will it guarantee quality of training?
5, Will it make any difference to your employment prospects?
If you want a full course with classroom study over 3 years, lots of clinical work and a degree from a recognised institution backed up by a rigorous structure of accreditation and accountability, then you will choose one of the major colleges. It will cost you about £30,000 and approximately 40 days a year for 3 years. Upon graduation you will be able to join the BAcC, one of the organisations for acupuncturists (there are others).
If you want a faster route to learn how to practice acupuncture (without doing research or detailed study of Western medicine, etc) you might be better off on a shorter course like ours. Especially if you already have qualifications or previous experience in a related field. Our course will get you there faster but will need to take responsibility for your own study to a greater extent and learn through practice and CPD.
However, this is the most important bit and frankly what most people wont tell you:
No matter where you train or what qualification you have you are on your own when you qualify. Qualifications do not open doors, they have no recognition in law, there are no jobs advertised for acupuncturists. You must market yourself and build your own practice on your own. Most members of the public are not interested in what association you are a member of or even what qualification you have. They are much more interested in other factors like celebrity endorsement, media exposure and above all personal recommendations.
So before you spend lots of time and money on your acupuncture training do think about your objectives and weigh up the available options. Either you see it as a vocation and wish to study for reasons other than only work, or you hope to earn a living from acupuncture. If the latter is the case do think about who your patients will be, where you will work and how you will build a practice when you qualify.
Cosmetic Acupuncture – Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture (FRA)
Facial revitalisation techniques we use for cosmetic acupuncture include needles, electro acupuncture, TENS pads, massage techniques and more. The exact method employed will depend upon the individual and their requirements. For example we have found that electro acupuncture is the most effective method to treat individual lines on the face, but is unnecessary for a general tonic in most cases. Some people do not want needles applied to the face, so we have other techniques such as Tui-Na massage we can use which are often just as effective.
The advantage of Cosmetic acupuncture over a conventional facial is that an acupuncture diagnosis will include constitutional treatment. Chinese Medicine theory tells us that “what is on the inside is reflected in the face” So we can apply appropriate constitutional treatment to work holistically. Therefore traetments may include advice about diet, exercise and lifestyle factors as well.
Since acupuncture is a complete treatment we often find that in practice people who come for Cosmetic Acupuncture / FRA report that other problems have been resolved or relieved by the overall effect of the treatment. I sum this up with a phrase “Look good and you feel good, feel good and you look good” I think it is the fact that FRA works from the outside in and from the inside out, that gives it this extra value and effectiveness.
Note that acupuncturists and the techniques they use do vary. So ask individual practitioners what you should expect from treatment. Please feel free to e mail me (Jamie) if you have any further questions about FRA.