Acupuncture Explained

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that has managed to survive modern medicine. It began as a spiritual practice, meant to clear Qi blockages in the body. Today, the practice has melded with Western medical practices to create a unique healing process.

Basic Principles

Students in acupuncture school learn more than just the basics of acupuncture. They are taught how to diagnose symptoms from a Western medical perspective, and how to deal with patients. Acupuncture is taught as an alternative, meant to compliment modern medicine. Students also learn how to manage patient expectations and assist in recovery.


Acupuncture is not a cure all procedure. Qi is also no longer a factor in the practice of acupuncture, which is a drastic change from its historic roots. There is also the misconception that acupuncture is both painless and painful. In reality, it is closer to minor discomfort. However, a skilled physician can do the treatment without harming the patient. Some patients do report feeling absolutely nothing, but it is common to feel a slight prick as the needles are inserted.


The profession is tightly regulated today. Acupuncturists must complete a medical administration degree program to show competency in the practice, and knowledge of medicine. There are also certifications available to further qualify physicians.

Final Thoughts

Acupuncture is meant to compliment an existing medical treatment and ease some of the patient’s symptoms. While its basis is spiritual, acupuncture has very real healing effects. The procedure can treat anything from headaches and back pain, to joint and muscle aches.

The American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers healthcare administration programs to students seeking a career in alternative medicine like acupuncture.