My Career in… Traditional Chinese Acupuncture

Image1Ian is a self-employed Traditional Chinese Acupuncturist and has set up his business in both Manchester and Bolton.  This is his story…

What is your current role/job?

I treat patients for health conditions and give them dietary advice.

What is your particular area of interest?

I am specifically interested in acupuncture, Chinese dietary exercises, meditation and relaxation techniques.

How did you get to this point in your career?

I took an Access to Higher Learning course at college, after working for a few years when I left school. I then began studying Biology at the University of Salford but decided to change to Traditional Chinese Acupuncture instead. On graduation, I felt that opening my own business was the best way forward as most employers tend to hire native Chinese trained people to work in their businesses and this makes it hard for UK graduates to find a job.

What are the highs & lows?

Highs

  • Seeing people get better

Lows

  • Being unable to help people, eg those who have conditions that cannot be cured

What training or experience is essential to get in?

It  is essential to have a BSc (Hons) degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) to work in this field. This is a 3 year course which is 50% practical and 50% theoretical with the last year being spent at a clinic gaining work experience. Following this, you need a license to practice and this is granted, after assessment, by the British Acupuncture Council. I also took a course in Marketing as this is important  if you want to open your own business.

What about attitude, personality or interests?

  • Possess good interpersonal skills
  • Be caring and compassionate
  • Be intuitive
  • Be analytical with the ability to diagnose well
  • Ability to prioritise
  • Be business savvy!

How have you found opportunities in this field?

Opening your own business means you have to promote it yourself and I have tried many different ways. I set up a website which has been successful. I also put up posters and advertised in the Yellow Pages but that did not bring in any business. The most successful ways have been handing out flyers at the reception of local gyms,  giving demonstrations at gyms and health clubs and writing to GP’s to introduce myself so that they refer their patients to me. Word of mouth has also helped.

What advice would you give to someone considering a similar career?

Keep to the basics and practice!

If you want to find out more about Ian and his work, check out his website.

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