Friday, May 6, 2011

Acupuncture Careers and the Wellness Boom

Learn How Acupuncture History Meets Present Acupuncture Practice

Find Acupuncture Schools | Acupuncture Career and School Guide
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Acupuncture is one of the brightest lights in the constellation of natural healing approaches, all of which are shining brighter today than ever before.

People are responding to rising health care costs by seeking out more effective and less expensive forms of medicine. In 2007, Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). About $11.9 billion of that was on natural health practitioners, primarily acupuncture, massage and chiropractic care.
Because it is over 2,000 years old and has been studied extensively by Western medical experts, acupuncture is one of the most popular CAM therapies. Visits to acupuncturists tripled between 1997 and 2007. Graduates of acupuncture school are in high demand, and there's never been a better time to embark on a thriving acupuncture career.
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History of Acupuncture in the United States

Veteran acupuncturists remember the early days when acupuncture was not respected or accepted in the United States. Forty years ago, acupuncture was a little known niche that was actually illegal in most states. How did acupuncturists come so far so fast? It all started with our 37th President.
It was President Nixon's trip to China in 1972 that brought the ancient Chinese art and science of acupuncture to the United States. After one of his advisors on the trip underwent emergency surgery with acupuncture as the only form of anesthesia, the President helped organize a cultural exchange of medical practitioners between the United States and China. That was the beginning of acupuncture education in the United States and the first step toward the booming popularity of acupuncture today.
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Advances in Acupuncturist Licensing & Regulation

When the first acupuncture clinic opened in the Washington, D.C. in 1972, there was tremendous press coverage and hundreds of patients came for treatment every day. Despite the public's interest in it, the mainstream medical establishment tried to close the clinic down by taking the city to court. Fortunately they lost—and the rest is history:
  • In 1978, California became the first U.S. state to license acupuncturists.
  • In the mid-1980's, national accreditation standards were established for acupuncture education programs in acupuncture colleges and schools.
Today acupuncture and Chinese medicine are now legal and regulated in 46 states. There are over 45 accredited acupuncture colleges and schools in the United States, and over 19,000 licensed acupuncturists.
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Public Demand for Qualified Acupuncturists

Approximately 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children use some form complementary and alternative medicine. Women and people with higher levels of education and income are the most frequent users, but people of all backgrounds are interested in effective and affordable health care alternatives.
Acupuncture continues to gain ground as one of the most popular CAM therapies. In 2007, people made approximately 17.6 million visits to acupuncturists. This increase is partly a simple matter of accessibility to qualified practitioners—there are more acupuncture schools than there were 10 years ago, and acupuncturists are licensed in more states. In addition, thousands of articles and news segments over the past decade have increased public awareness about the many benefits of acupuncture.
Another factor in the growing popularity of acupuncture is the fact that many insurance companies now cover leading CAM therapies including massage, chiropractic and acupuncture. According to Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, author of The Best Alternative Medicine: What Works? What Does Not?, virtually every major insurance carrier offers some form of CAM coverage. "It's a very clear trend," Pelletier says. "Once they begin to offer CAM benefits, most companies tend to continue and expand and add on other services."
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The Future of Acupuncture Careers

Research shows that Americans, on average, are getting sicker. Both the aging population and the lengthening of the average life span are contributing to rising rates of chronic illness. According to the Partnership for Solutions, more than half of the American population already suffers from at least one chronic condition. At the same time, Americans are more stressed and overworked than ever before.
These unsettling trends point to a critical and growing need for the patient-centered approach that acupuncturists offer. Acupuncturists provide more than just relief from symptoms associated with disease. They offer a proactive focus on balance and wellness that many see as a welcome alternative to mainstream medicine. If you embark on a new acupuncture career today, you can be confident that your chances of success will continue to multiply for years to come.


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