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The role

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine which involves inserting stainless steel needles into a patient’s body at key points to help restore its energy flow. Acupuncture has become integrated into Western medicine over the last 30 years.

Acupuncture has been recognised in helping with various complaints, from knee pain to headache problems, depression, and circulation problems.

An Acupuncturist is an individual who practices this form of medicine. Their usual tasks would include discussing a patient’s history, deciding on appropriate treatment and the parts of the body to focus on, then inserting these needles.

They may also use electro-acupuncture, which engages electronic pulses on the body to aid treatment.

A candidate may work in a health clinic or similar therapeutic environment, or they may visit patient’s homes.

How to become an Acupuncturist

While acupuncture isn’t currently a regulated, an Acupuncturist needs to undergo comprehensive training in the subject, usually by taking a full-time three year-long course, or the part-time equivalent.

While currently unregulated, there are a number of professional bodies that Acupuncturists can become members of.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) allows membership once a candidate has taken a course that has been approved by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB). Entry requirements for these courses vary between institutions, and should be checked.

Another body, the Acupuncture Society, allows membership if you have graduated from the College of Chinese Medicine, of if a candidate has been party to professional training in Acupuncture on mainland China for a minimum of five years.

Qualified healthcare professionals may be exempt from certain parts of Acupuncture training, and the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) has further details of this.

A number of organisations relating to complementary therapy have formed a single voluntary regulatory body called the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The CNHC registers safe practitioners. To be included on this register, a candidate’s professional body must be a member of the CNHC.

Skills and knowledge required

  • Interest in biological sciences and complementary therapies
  • Good people and communication skills
  • Strong sense of empathy and sensitivity
  • Ability to make decisions and problem solve
  • Organisation and commercial understanding if setting up own business


Due to the fact that there is a lot of self-employment amongst Acupuncturists, earnings vary. However, earnings for someone who works full-time could range between £18,000 and £35,000.

The hours

As a lot of Acupuncturists are self-employed, it is up to them to determine their hours. However, their patients may dictate hours to a certain extent, meaning that they could work evenings and weekends.

Useful websites - British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) - British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) - Acupuncture Society - British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS)

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