Acupuncture Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Acupuncture?

A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body.

Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance. In contrast, many Western practitioners view acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Acupuncture courses in the following subject areas:

  • Acupuncture – A study of traditional Chinese medicine that will equip the healthcare professional with the necessary skills to assess and treat a broad range of acute and chronic conditions.
  • Acupuncture Training Course – Develop your confidence and acupuncture skills and reach your full potential as a professional acupuncturist.
  • Acupuncture Training – Learn to use a full range of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnostic and therapeutic tools to provide suitable, safe, effective, and professional treatment to clients.
  • Acupuncture Professional Training Programme – A hands-on and clinical approach to clinical training and hands-on skill-building to become a professional Acupuncturist.

Studying Acupuncture in college

Many Acupuncture courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Some time spent shadowing a qualified acupuncturist before you start practicing would be beneficial. You’ll observe technique, patient care, and the running of a clinic.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers. Work within other healthcare situations would also be helpful to give you some experience of dealing with patients. Experience in others areas such as marketing or business is also useful to help with setting up and promoting your practice.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Acupuncture you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

There is not a structured career progression for an acupuncturist, and success depends very much on professional and business ability. Client numbers tend to increase as you gain experience and reputation, and your interests will often determine the direction your career takes and if you decide to specialize in a particular area. You may choose to specialize with further training in addiction, antenatal care, asthma, HIV/AIDS, infertility, oncology, pain management, psychiatric care, or stroke rehabilitation.

Acupuncturists often work in more than one location or setting, which can provide variety. There may also be opportunities to work abroad – however, you should check the specific requirements of the country you’re interested in working in.

The vast majority of acupuncturists are self-employed and so it is likely you will work from your own home or premises or visit patients’ homes. It’s also possible to work at private multidisciplinary complementary healthcare or medical centers, where you could rent a treatment room.

After gaining considerable experience, you can teach or supervise students on courses. You could also choose to research, write, or practice another therapy alongside acupuncture.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours, or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours typically include frequent unsocial hours, e.g. weekends and evenings, to suit clients.

Related jobs include:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Herbalist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Osteopath
  • Chiropractor

Further study

After completing a course in Acupuncture, you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Chinese medicine theory, physiology, anatomy, and other western medical and health care sciences.


What is Acupuncture used for?

Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including:

· Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting

· Dental pain

· Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines

· Labour pain

· Low back pain

· Neck pain

· Osteoarthritis

· Menstrual cramps

· Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis

How quickly does acupuncture work?

After two or three sessions, you should start to notice improvements in certain areas. Eventually, you will observe an overall sense of wellness, including your psychological and physical health.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Acupuncture?

Some skills that could be useful if you are interested in starting a career in Acupuncture are good communication and interpersonal skills, explaining treatment processes, and establish a positive rapport with clients. You should also have the ability to put patients at ease and have an open, non-judgemental approach.

More generic business skills that would be useful if you would like to set up and run your own business are effective organizational, marketing, and financial skills.

Where can I study Acupuncture?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

·         There are over 300 acupuncture points on the body. The points are located from head to toe and are connected by the acupuncture meridian system. Every point has its special function and many works on both a physical and mental-emotional level.

·         Acupuncturists look at your tongue and take your pulses. These are diagnostic tools that are used to gain information about your health and plan a course of treatment.

·         You don’t have to have anything wrong to get an acupuncture treatment. One of acupuncture’s strengths is its ability to PREVENT things from going wrong. As preventative medicine, acupuncture boosts the immune system, promotes healthy circulation, aids in organ and cell detoxification, decreases inflammation, and helps your body respond to stress healthily.

·         Today’s acupuncture needles are as thin as a strand of hair and don’t hurt. They are single-use, sterile, and made of stainless steel. Originally acupuncture needles were made of stone, bamboo, and bone.

Mariza Halliday

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  1. Isioma A Aniogwu 7th November 2023 at 10:33 am

    DearSir/Madam, I wish to study Acupuncture in your organisation.

    I developed interest in saving lives after my mom who is recovering from stroke had acupuncture therapy/traditional medicine for 6days,the healing was magic.

    I humbly request to be addmitted and help save people from untimely death that could be prevented.

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