5 Experiences You should Have before Going to acupuncture School
Being an acupuncturist requires certification and many years of education. If you are considering making the investment of your time and energy, maybe you should explore a few ways to know more about the practice in real life.
Here are five ways you can know more about the practice in real life. I will start with those activities that require the most effort but at the same time give you more hands-on experience.
Volunteer at a community acupuncture clinic
If you have never heard of a community acupuncture clinic, it is high volume, low cost, and all patients are treated in a shared space type of clinic.
It is not the only type of clinic acupuncturists can work for. At the same time, most community acupuncture clinics open its door to volunteers. You will not put needles in the patients, but you can be at the front desk. You will be able to see how a community-style of clinic operates.
Also, you will meet patients from all walks of life and come to the clinics for all different needs.
Volunteering at a community acupuncture clinic will give you one type of front line experience.
You can visit People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture's website to learn more about community acupuncture. The website is a good starting point.
Talk to an acupuncturist
Talking to an acupuncturist is a great way to know what practice is like in real life. You do not know any acupuncturists. Not a problem. Head to National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to find one board-certified acupuncturist.
Once you find someone either in your area or has a specialty you are interested in, write an email or handwritten note to introduce yourself and politely ask for 20 minutes of their time to chat with you.
If the other person is willing to, you can build a long-term mentorship with them.
Listen to TCM podcasts
If you love podcasts, there are plenty of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncturist-hosted podcasts.
As an acupuncture student to be, I would highly recommend AcuSprout.
Stacy Whitcomb, the host, is a licensed acupuncturist and created the podcast to help new acupuncturists transition from school to practice. Going to school is to have practice. Why not know what it is like first?
The other podcast I would highly recommend is Studying Acupuncture with Me.
It is hosted by Dr. Richard Lai. This podcast focuses more on preparing for the NCCAOM board exam. It will give you a sneak peek of what preparing for an exam is like.
Feel like listening to more TCM-related podcasts? We have a few more recommendations on this blog.
Hang out on Reddit TCM and Acupuncture group
If you want a message board or discussion type of information, try Reddit's traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture group.
Since it is a discussion board, you will have all sorts of opinions and questions. The viewer’s discretion is highly required.
At the same time, it is a place for you to see different options and thoughts. Not a bad place to ask questions either.
Read books about TCM
Last not but least, reading books about traditional medicine and acupuncture is a good way to gain knowledge. Reddit has multiple discussions on what books to read for starters.
The web that has no weaver and Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine are two common recommendations.
Before making a big decision to attend acupuncture school, you can volunteer at a community acupuncture clinic, talk to a practicing acupuncturist, and listen to related podcasts.
If you find practicing traditional Chinese medicine is exactly what you want to do, that’s great. If you find out you don’t want to be an acupuncturist, that’s not a problem either. You can be a traditional Chinese medicine supporter and advocate.