What does it mean to be a fully qualified acupuncturist?
I thought I’d explain here a little about what it means to be a fully qualified acupuncturist registered with the British acupuncture council (BAcC).
My initial training began with a three year degree course. To be accepted on to the course, we had to have a basic qualification in anatomy and physiology (A&P). In other words, know where everything is and how it works!
Our first year focused on understanding the concepts and philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine and it’s modern context. We were trained in Western medicine pathology and pharmacology. We were taught basic bodywork, understanding the channels and began the grueling task of learning point location. (There are 360 basic points!) We also completed ongoing modules on active listening/basic counselling skills.
As the course moved on into second and third years, we began attending the student clinic. At first we were purely observers but then progressed to treating patients under the supervision of a tutor. Specific needling techniques were taught with increasing complexity and a particular emphasis on safe treatment. Cupping, moxa and understanding how to implement dietary and lifestyle elements were also covered.
What have I done since?
Upon completing my initial training, I went on to complete a Masters research degree. My subject matter was looking at acupuncture to treat facial pain, specifically: Trigeminal neuralgia.
I then went on to do a years training in Tuina massage and a number of specialist fertility courses. By this point, I was getting many patients seeking treatment for complex pain conditions and fertility problems, so felt these were necessary tools I needed. Having got that far, I then went on to complete my two years training in Chinese herbal medicine.
My formal training therefore has spanned a period of eight years. It doesn’t stop there however. As a member of the BAcC, I have to complete a certain number of hours of CPD (Continuing professional development) as well as completing a first aid course every three years. We are also encouraged to keep ourselves well.
The important point here is to check the qualifications of your practitioner before embarking on treatment.