Choosing a career in CAM

Considerations When Choosing a Career in Complementary Therapy

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM therapy) embraces a comprehensive healing approach, employing treatments not currently part of standard healthcare, typically in conjunction with conventional medicine. Complementary therapists often aim to restore the body’s natural balance, considering the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of an individual, hence the often used phrase ‘holistic’, which means ‘whole’ approach encompassing mind, body, and spirit.  This distinguishes complementary therapy from conventional medicine, which often focuses on addressing a specific aspect of a person, such as stress relief and injury prevention. Another common aspect of complementary therapy is drug-free pain relief. Often, practitioners are approached by people who wish to be seen quicker than they can in the NHS, or want to access methods that are not offered by the NHS, or not very quickly anyway, such as acupuncture, massage and even Battlefield Acupuncture. A wide array of holistic approaches, provides individuals with the opportunity to explore different therapies and find what resonates best with them.Additionally, many therapies can be synergistically combined to optimize benefits. For example, acupuncture practitioners may integrate massage intotheir practice, or personal trainers might enhance their sessions by incorporating neuromuscular release to enable them to help with muscle tensionissues while in a session with a client. This flexibility allows individuals to tailor their holistic wellness journey to their unique preferences and needs. Although some complementary therapies like physiotherapy and dry-needling acupuncture are offered within the NHS, their availability is limited. This scarcity prompts many practitioners and even nurses, to establish private practices. If you’re considering this route, you might wonder where to start. Embarking on a career in holistic therapy begins with the crucial step of selecting the specific type of therapy you intend to practice. Many professionals are drawn to a particular branch of complementary therapy based on personal benefits they’ve experienced. Alternatively, yourinterest in a specific area may motivate you to delve deeper. After determining your chosen therapy, the next essential step is to undergo the necessary training and qualification process. In the UK, most holistic therapies lack official regulation, allowing anyone to label themselves as practitioners. Understandably, this absence of regulation can impact the credibility of the profession. Hence, it becomes crucial for practitioners to obtain relevant qualifications, establishing trust with prospective clients who seek the assurance of professionalism. It’s advisable to research your specific area of interest, as different holistic approaches may have distinct training requirements. Given the limited regulations in holistic therapies, many professionals opt for voluntary self-regulation. This involves affiliating with a professional body, such as the British Acupuncture Federation (BAF), which establishes standards of practice and a code of ethics. Joining such organizations not only validates your professionalism and credibility to clients but also provides opportunities to network with fellow practitioners, stay informed about industry changes, pursue continuous professional development and get membership benefits that include discounts off essential services. While you are training, it’s good to look around at others offering similar services to yours, and see what they are charging, then come up with your own pricing structure.  This will help you, as when you start practicing, it can catch you out when someone asks you your prices for the first time! Once you have started earning money as a complementary therapist, you will need to register as self-employed with HMRC before the 5th October in the same tax year that you started earning in, arrange insurance cover including indemnity, arrange any licencing you need for your clinic, and start purchasing equipment. You will also need to start marketing your business.  Many people “hang out” on local business forums on social media, and advertise using this and a website, however one of the most powerful ways of advertising, is to offer a few heavily discounted treatments to friends, and ask them to recommend you in return.  This can be a real boost as recommendations from someone you know is the most powerful advertising there is. You will also need to consider what your membership organisation requires for CPD hours.  Some will start how many of these need to be classroombased CPD, and others will just require that you do a certain number of hours.  Remember, not all CPD is in the classroom, some you can gain by reading up about concepts that are new to you, researching into methods of other practitioners, or getting online tuition.  Some organisations may have books you can borrow, and the internet has many free resources, so CPD doesn’t have to cost the earth Engaging in a career in health therapies can be profoundly gratifying and enjoyable, offering the opportunity to equip you with the tools essential for your own personal health and well-being journey as well.

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How to choose an Acupuncture Course

Why choose our Acupuncture Course

Recently, an article was published on the Acupuncture Association web site, regarding how to pick an acupuncture course.   I want to go over the points i this article and comment on why our course compares favourably with other courses that are being taught in the UK right now. Accreditation and Licensing:The A.A. article suggests that the most important consideration is accreditation. Accreditation means that the course is approved bu an organisation that has authority in the industry.Our TCM Acupuncture Diploma course is accredited by the British Acupuncture Federation, the Acupuncture Regulatory Authority and Yanagi Ryu of Japan. Our course is also accepted for insurance by Balens Insurance, the FHT and other prominent insurance companies in the UK. Curriculum and Training:Our curriculum covers not only the modalities that is mentioned in this article, but also spends plenty of practical time teaching and testing cautionary needling, so that each acupuncturists is considered safe to needle any point on the body without issue, before they even get to their exams.Our school also teaches Chinese Fire Cupping, Traditional Gua Sha, Japanese Hara diagnosis, Classical pulse diagnosis plus other traditional modalities that in some cases pre-date TCM. Faculty and Credentials:The qualifications of all our instructors can be examined on this web page: https://totaltherapytraining.org/about/. As you will see, each teacher is highly qualified and they have plenty of experience in the therapy they are teaching. We also do not use instructors that are only teachers, each one has their own working clinic. Clinical Opportunities:Many of our teachers invite students to come to their clinics in order to shadow them, or bring a client to the instructors clinic in order to treat their own client supervised. We often also run student clinics, in order to allow local people to get cut price treatments, and our students to access supervised clinic hours. Research Opportunities:As part of our Acupuncture exams, we require the student to write essays on TCM which require research. We don’t help with these essays, instead we encourage our students to push themselves and reasearch into subjects that have links to TCM, but with new directions and breaking new ground get the best marks each year. Student Support Services:Our student support is really second to none. We have a confidential lifetime access membership forum which is really friendly and active, and we have never once had an argument on it even though we have people trained in many different ways from many places before they come to us! We also run monthly zoom calls for our Acupuncture students to make sure they are on track, give our email addresses and phone numbers, and will even talk to a student on Facetime while they are in clinic. On a few occasions we have actually filmed techniques and sent them to people who are having trouble remembering. Reputation and Alumni Success:For this you can just check our Facebook and Google reviews. We have a 5 star review on Google, and most of our students are word-of-mouth referred. Sadly we also meet the pass-fail rate recommendations of a good course.  Each year we have some failures, but each person gets a free re-take and we treat everyone really fairly.  The faculty help them get back on track with some tips for revision before their 2nd attempt.  Degree or Non-Degree Courses:Our course is a Diploma one, rather than a degree course, this means that although it’s not as long , and not as a full of theoretical learning, it still teaches the full TCM syllabus, but some of this is homework, and this leaves around 50% of the classroom time for practical work. Also our exams have a 80% pass rate, with some borderline passes depending on examiners criteria. Location and Accessibility:We are right next door to a main railway station, very near a bus station, right near a Travelodge and plenty of car parks. We also have a cafe opposite us which is open 7 days a week, and even have a shower on site for student use. Conclusion:An acupuncture course is a large investment, and we will support you fully in this with plenty of facilities, help,information, online resources, zoom calls, emails and our amazing student forum, which students discuss treatments with other qualified students and with each other. Occasionally teachers chip in and help out with course material confirmations, and other TTT and personal points of view.

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Acupuncture Degree or Non Degree?

To Degree or not to Degree – That is the question.

There are a wide range of acupuncture courses out on the market. Some of these are short courses or CPD (continued professional development) courses and are aimed at existing non acupuncture therapists or acupuncturists wanting to add or refresh on additional skills. These are not included in this discussion as they are not really offering a full understanding of acupuncture and although these often can teach safe skills for use within a limited scope of practice they will not include essential clinical core training and diagnostics skills which will take time to learn and practice. Longer courses of 12-24 months offer an alternative to degree courses and are usually much more accessible to individuals who do not have the time or resources to pursue a full degree program. Non-degree courses are generally less expensive than full degree programs. This makes them a more affordable option for those who want to gain good core knowledge and skills in acupuncture without investing heavily in a long-term educational commitment. Courses are often practical and skill-oriented approach which often suits people who do not want to be overloaded with non-functional theoretical material or who do not learn well in an academic environment. These courses often focus on teaching the fundamental techniques and principles of acupuncture, providing hands-on training and experience. Non-degree courses can serve as continuing education opportunities for therapists and healthcare professionals who want to expand their skill set or integrate acupuncture into their existing practice. These courses offer specialized knowledge in acupuncture without requiring a full degree program and do not cause any limitations to your scope of practice, licensing or insurance. Degree courses may leave less room for customization or specialisation compared to non-degree courses, which often offer more flexibility in selecting specific topics or areas of focus. Acupuncture Degree Courses: Degree courses offer a comprehensive and in-depth education in the field although some of the theoretical information you may learn may not be functional or applicable in clinic, often like, when driving, knowing how the exhaust works does not make you a better driver. Acupuncture degree programs do often fulfil the needs of students who excel in an academic environment. They also provide a wide range of opportunities for research and scholarly activities. This can be beneficial for those interested in academia or pursuing advanced studies especially research programs. Degrees are monitored and so usually have specific university pass rates making sure student exams are well ratified, however they do often have low pass rates of 40% plus for third class degrees, which some practitioners believe are too low to allow people to be working with clients. Degree programs generally follow a structured curriculum with specific course requirement with a broad range of subjects. Ultimately, the choice between acupuncture non-degree courses and degree programs depends on an individual’s goals, resources, and career aspirations.

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