Or maybe keen to become a professional acupuncturist?
If so, first have a look at our Reading List. That will give you some idea of what to expect. But don’t splash out on the textbooks yet. For one thing they’re expensive: for another, other books are a better introduction.
And if you do decide to enrol in a British acupuncture school, there is one organisation you should join, and there are Centres of Excellence for training that you should consider.
British Acupuncture Council
Besides considering which British acupuncture schools to approach, as an acupuncture student you should definitely become a student member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).
The BAcC is the largest organisation representing professional acupuncturists who practice traditional acupuncture, ie as practised the Asian way.
This gives you either free or at very reduced prices both the journals of the BAcC and access to its annual conference – and much more.
The BAcC has an office in London which covers the whole of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They have a dedicated staff and an active marketing department, with a huge website which has many resources and a forum. They organise Mentoring and have members appointed to help you with continuing professional development.
The BAcC does a good deal of lobbying for its members and challenges organisations such as NICE on their approach to complementary medicine. For us in Scotland, they recently made presentations of petitions on our behalf to both Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government. (January 2016).
Plus they have a Students officer, very useful in lots of ways, who will visit your College (if on the list of approved UK colleges) to give talks and answer questions.
You will also be able to join BAcC regional groups for local meetings – great places to meet other acupuncturists and get useful advice about setting up in practice.
However, training to become a professional acupuncturist does require commitment. Nowadays, courses are at degree level and last for four years. You can of course do some of the work at home, reading and studying. However, you’ll need to attend your college regularly for classes and clinical practice.
As you progress, you’ll learn not just about the theory behind Chinese medicine and acupuncture. You’ll also learn various techniques acupuncturists use, including (of course!) acupuncture, moxa, cupping, guasha, nutrition and much more.
Acupuncture schools all cover a basic course, then add their own particular specialities or enthusiasms, so they all have merits.
Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Drugs …
You’ll also learn, as a necessary part of your acupuncture study course, human body structure and function, physiology and pathology. A fair amount of your time may be spent on anatomy.
You’ll also learn why doctors prescribe medication and what the drugs patients receive are for and are doing to them.
The colleges also encourage friendly relationships between those attending. This is because students can often help one another for mutual benefit.
There’s another plus! Over the four acupuncture study years you may make some of the best friends of your life.
British Acupuncture Accreditation Board BAAB
The BAAB is the organisation that accredits acupuncture schools. If you graduate from one of the colleges accredited by it you are certain of fulfilling the registration requirements of the British Acupuncture Council.
The following UK acupuncture schools and colleges, accredited by the BAAB, are taking on new students:
The Northern College of Acupuncture has been running acupuncture courses since 1988. They offer both a BSc and an MSc in acupuncture and also post graduate degrees in nutritional therapy and Chinese herbal medicine.
They also run busy teaching clinics at the College. This is situated in the centre of historic York. Clinical practice is at the heart of their work, with students involved in the teaching clinic from the start of their courses.
The college was the first teaching institution of any kind in the UK to offer a University degree in acupuncture. It was also the first to achieve professional accreditation for its acupuncture courses, Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapy programmes.
They also make a significant contribution to research by practitioners. Research carried out by the College contributed to the NICE back pain guidelines. These recommended that the NHS provide acupuncture for back pain.
Study acupuncture at other colleges? In no particular order …