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Acupuncturists diagnose and treat disorders and illnesses by stimulating the body’s defence mechanisms. This is done by inserting fine needles into the skin. Acupuncturists diagnose illness by  Future Growth Strong checking a patient’s pulse, skin colour, nails, tongue and temperature in different parts of the body. Needles are then inserted into areas of the body, and manipulated, during treatment – heat and massage are also used.

Patient with needle

ANZSCO description: Treats disorders and illnesses by stimulating the body's defence mechanisms through inserting fine needles into the skin. Registration or licensing may be required.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An acupuncturist needs:

  • to be compassionate

  • to be patient and tactful

  • to be good with their hands

  • to be able to gain the confidence of their patients.

  • Ethical and Moral

  • Good listener

  • Judgement and Decision Making

  • Patient and Compassionate

  • Strong Attention to Detail


Duties and Tasks

  • Administer treatment according to health standards, laws and procedures

  • Apply heat treatment and massage pressure to further stimulate the body

  • Assess patients through verbal questioning and examinations

  • Diagnose and assess individual health problems

  • Insert sterile needles into patients body and manipulate the areas causing health problems

  • Provide treatment of medical issues and body pain


Working conditions

Acupuncturists are usually self-employed and work alone. However, they may work in a practice where other natural therapy health workers also work. Acupuncturists work in an indoor office environment and predominately work alone. Often an Acupuncturist will travel to a patients house to treat them in the comfort of their own home.

Tools and technologies

Acupuncturists need to have a good understanding of the human body. They use acupuncture needles as part of their treatment.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an acupuncturist, you usually have to complete a degree in health science with a major in acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine.

To work as an acupuncturist in Australia, you must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. Members are required to obtain a degree to practise acupuncture.

Did You Know?

Needles in face

Acupuncture is not new in Australia. Since at least the 1840s it has been one of the methods used by practitioners of Chinese medicine for treating a range of disorders, and was used by some medical practitioners during the 19th century for pain management.

Interest in acupuncture escalated in post-war Europe with the establishment of an acupuncture society in France in 1945 and England in the 1960s.

In the 1970s acupuncture received considerable attention in the Australian press, and this was associated with the development of training courses and associations.

The 1980s saw rapid expansion in both acupuncture and other aspects of Chinese medicine including herbal medicine, tui na (therapeutic massage) and exercise systems such as tai chi and qi gong.

During the 1990s courses proliferated, standards of practice were developed and calls for regulation culminated in the registration of practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Victoria in 2000. However, acupuncture remains unregulated in other states and territories in Australia.

How Common Is Acupuncture in Australia?

A nationwide survey about the use of 17 forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Australia was conducted in 2005 by Charlie Xue and colleagues. The survey estimated that nearly one in 10 (9.2%) Australians used acupuncture over a 12-month period and over 10 million visits were made to acupuncturists nationally each year. Most of the acupuncture users were born in Australia, had completed post-secondary education, were covered by private health insurance and lived in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
(Source: Issues)

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Materials sourced from Jobs & Skills WA [Acupuncturist; ]
Open University
JobOutlook  [Acupuncturist; ] 




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