Directions In Acupuncture Education

G’day Pilgrims,

I just had lunch with my colleague and friend Greg Bantick.

Currently in practice in Brisbane, Australia and lecturing at the Australian College of Natural Medicine, the former lecturer at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego and Academic Dean of the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine and I traded insights into the parlous state of our profession with mouthfuls of delicious Thai food.

We both agreed that there is a severe lack of accountability and responsibility by the various institutions involved in acupuncture education in Australia and to some degree the States, regarding the professional mortality rate of graduates .

This farcical situation is leading a majority of students and graduates down the proverbial Garden Path.

The attrition rate is atrocious, anyone in our profession with any degree of seniority is aware of this and still no one is willing to take any responsibility.

In my opinion the current situation is parlous, as truckloads of money changes hands and some grow fat at the expense of naive students who believe they are receiving an adequate education.

Sadly for a vast majority of graduates their expectations of prosperity lay wrecked in the gutter, professional road kill!

Isn’t it is time we stood up and declared that we are different from every Tom, Dick and Harry who picks up a needle after a 3 day course and declares themselves ready for action.

But how can we do that when the institutions fall so short of the mark educationally and associations fail to ensure that the educational regime remains clinically rather than academically orientated, allowing people to graduate that are so lacking in confidence and clinical skills that their fate is sealed well before they hang out their shingle.

Traditional Acupuncture is a medical phenomenon, having survived for many thousands of years, it seems a shame that the level of awareness regarding it’s application has become so pedestrian that we allow superficial needling to be labeled as sham acupuncture without so much as a peep.

Beware of the potential of stupefying mediocrity, institutional expedience and fiscal priorities to damage our medicine beyond recognition.

Have a Good One,


About Alan

Alan Jansson is an internationally recognized teacher and practitioner of Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. As a staunch advocate of practically based workshops, Alan draws upon his 35 years clinical experience and 23 years post and undergraduate teaching. Alan has presented, convened and hosted more than 70 Traditional Japanese Acupuncture workshops in Australia, Europe, and USA.


  1. In response to “Directions in Acupuncture Education”:

    I agree that the educational system (at least here in the States) is failing the students. I believe this to be inevitable when you stop to look at the format of teaching. It is my understanding that the art of Chinese medicine was traditionally passed on through apprenticeships. Now, it is taught much the same way we are taught algebra. The education is geared to fill our heads in order pass licensing exams, whereas the deeper learning is hands on and experiential.
    However, I believe there is a silver lining here. Acupuncture has become somewhat of a fad here in the States. Whereas 10 years ago the majority of students were matured adults seeking deeper fulfillment from their lives, the student population is now comprised mostly of young adults seeking this medicine as their first choice for a career. In this decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of beginning acupuncturists from year to year.

    With this increasing number of newly licensed acupuncturists, I think it is important to separate the ones who are truly ready to make this medicine part of their soul, from those who are merely intrigued by the alternative nature of the medicine.

    A more traditional approach to acupuncture education would indeed filter out those who are not serious in their endeavor, but I cannot see this as a change coming too soon. In lieu of this change, the lack of a proper education actually puts the responsibility back on the student/ newly licensed acupuncturists to seek out the proper education on their own.

    And doesn’t that sound like the good old days?

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