Acupuncturist in France

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has existed for thousands of years. The person who practices this medicine is the acupuncturist. The peculiarity of this practitioner is that he uses fine needles to relieve the pains of his patients while stimulating the subcutaneous tissues and the mucous membranes. The fine needles serve to restore a smooth flow. It can also use light rays, electric current or heat to perform these treatments. Before each session, the practitioner first makes a diagnosis. He makes an observation, touches the body and then questions his patient. He checks his heart rate, body odor and pulse. The acupuncturist is above all a doctor who has chosen to specialize in the practice of acupuncture. With the aid of needles that they insert under the skin, it stimulates physiological points (subcutaneous or mucous tissues) of the body to treat problems and pathologies of the psych. Stress, insomnia, hypertension, allergy, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, sprain, digestive disorders, sleep disorders, pregnancy disorders, the panel of his interventions is wide. They can also use light rays, electric current or heat to perform these treatments. Before each session, the practitioner makes a diagnosis and then makes observations and checks. Patient and listening to their patients in order to target the source of their problems, they must also be very precise when handling needles. Often standing, the practitioner must have good physical health. Acupuncture in France is considered an alternative medicine. It provides a different answer to common and disabling health problems. Acupuncturists in France work as liberals most often. They may also be employed in chiropractic practices, clinics or health practices.

Becoming Acupuncturist in France

To become an acupuncturist, it is mandatory to have medical training. Moreover, in France, only doctors are qualified to practice as acupuncturists. For this, they must attend an additional acupuncturist training that lasts three years. For midwives who want to specialize in acupuncture, they have the opportunity to undergo training for an obstetric acupuncture IUD. It is possible to carry out the university diploma of general acupuncture, among others, in the faculties below. The only universities and faculties that offer acupuncture training and certificates in France are:

  • University Paris-Descartes
  • Faculty of Medicine of Strasbourg
  • University of Nantes
  • University of Montpellier
  • University Bordeaux Segalen
  • University Claude Bernard Lyon

Roles of the Acupuncturist in France

Acupuncturist, a specialist in acupuncture, has several roles:

  • They detect the points of the body to be treated before any insertion of needles;

  • They evaluate the psychological and emotional state and the physical state of the patient;

  • Then they study his medical file;

  • They gives patient advice on homeopathic medicines – to take, diets to adopt, positions to adopt, rehabilitation and so on

The acupuncture sessions can be done over several weeks, see months. Depending on the disease to be treated, the practitioner can do 1 or 2 sessions per week. The acupuncturist doctor in France is a professional who is involved in the treatment of many diseases. They help treat lower back pain and swelling. They are also involved in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression. An acupuncturist also help pregnant women to fight some of the ills of pregnancy. They help treat digestive disorders such as vomiting, nausea as well as sleep disorders and allergies. It also helps to treat pain such as rheumatism, tendinitis, sprain, osteoarthritis. The practitioner must always be very respectful of the rules of hygiene and safety. As part of their business, they must use batches of disposable needles, sterilized equipment and wear protective gloves. Some skills are required to practice the profession of acupuncturist. At first, they will have to be patient and listen to your patients. They must also know how to communicate. Being precise is also important, especially when using needles. The practitioner must also have good physical health because he is required to stand most of the time. He must also have a perfect knowledge of the human body, knowledge in osteopathy and in pharmacopoeia.

Cost of becoming an Acupuncturist in France

In addition to the university path of compulsory medicine to aspire to become an acupuncturist doctor, many institutes and schools offer a wide range of courses to train in acupuncture. These modules are usually part of a broader theme that is traditional Chinese medicine and have very disparate costs, ranging from a few hundred euros for a few hours of training to several thousand euros in the case of a cycle full. The price of an acupuncture training, usually, is 2000 euros a year.

Salary of Acupuncturist in France

The salary of the acupuncturist is about 3,327 euros per month when he practices as a liberal (independent). An acupuncturist who has a great reputation can, indeed, receive a dozen customers a day. If the acupuncturist works in an acupuncture practice as an employee, his remuneration will generally be lower. This income is calculated over 12 months by the JDN from an annual statistical survey of the National Union of Chartered Associations (UNASA) which covers a hundred professions. The calculation of this income is based on excerpts from 2012 tax declarations of liberal or independent professionals. The minimum sample published is about one hundred professionals. The only income of the liberal professions are based on the profits of their activity

Career Opportunities

The acupuncturist has the choice. They can choose to exercise liberally (independent) or work in an acupuncture practice as an employee. As a Liberal, they have their own practice where they receive their patients. As an employee, they can work in chiropractic surgeries, independent clinics or other health care practices. The transition can be done one way or the other, depending on the evolution of the acupuncturist.

Acupuncturist in France Consultation fee

The cost of an acupuncture session varies between 35 € and 90 € according to the acupuncturist’s fame and the type of pathology. If the session is performed by a licensed acupuncturist, it is reimbursed by Social Security for 70% of the TC – or Convention Tariff. In view of the high price of the sessions, mutual include it in their services lump sum reimbursements.

Why consult an acupuncturist?

Acupuncture is one of the five branches of traditional Chinese medicine. It is based on a holistic, i.e. comprehensive, approach of the individual. It can therefore treat imbalances as diverse as arthritis, asthma, chronic constipation, seasonal allergies, stress, anxiety, lack of concentration, migraines. It also helps relieve punctures, like bronchitis, colds, and nausea. It also acts in prevention.

Is it possible to consult an Acupuncturist in France directly?

It is possible to consult an acupuncturist doctor either directly or as part of the coordinated care program (on the advice of a general practitioner). In the first case, it will be less well repaid by Social Security. Know that in France, the title of acupuncturist is reserved for doctors who have obtained a specific diploma. But many other people practice this method without having the right to use the title (e.g. “Chinese medicine practitioners”). It is important to get more information because these people can have very different formations.

First Session with an Acupuncturist in France

The first appointment with an acupuncturist is usually quite long: about 1 hour. It is indeed the opportunity to make a complete assessment on your general state of health. The acupuncturist questions you about what leads you to consult them and asks you a series of questions to clarify the problem. They can also ask you about your personal or family history. To complete the clinical examination, the acupuncturist may also perform some palpation (pulse), an examination of the tongue, eyes, etc. The objective is to establish a complete energy balance, in order to more precisely determine the imbalances. The acupuncturist then establishes a personalized program: number of sessions to predict, duration, and frequency. Then will comes the actual acupuncture session. You lie fully dressed on the examination table, and the specialist places needles on particular points, depending on the disorders to be treated. These needles must remain in place for some time, then they are removed by the acupuncturist. This specialist can also use other tools, for sticks of herbs heated then placed near the skin for a few seconds or minutes), cupping, electro stimulation and so on.

First session with an acupuncturist in France in details

A consultation always begins with a diagnosis, a clinical examination to take stock of the problem to be treated. The doctor then inserts needles on well-defined points. The needles are of different sizes and the laying time more or less long, depending on the pathology to be treated.

There are two types of needles:

  • Sterile needles that are discarded after each consultation;
  • The copper needles which must for their part, be sterilized at 260 °, in an autoclave, for one hour, after each use.

The acupuncturist uses 2 methods:

  • The needles, which are of different sizes, in gauge and length, depending on the points treated.
  • Moxibustion involves burning small cones or sticks on energy points

The patient may experience a slight tingling or numbness. It disappears before the end of the session. For reasons of safety, the practitioner uses a sterile disposable material and follows the basic hygiene rules (hand washing, disinfection of the skin.). Sometimes small rashes appear around the stitches that have been stung. The patient may also feel tired after a session. Acupuncture is not practicable in case of organic lesion (infection, tumor.).

An acupuncturist must be a doctor (part of the Order of Physicians) to practice this discipline: beware of charlatans who proclaim themselves an acupuncturist.

 Acupuncture in France: Classification and Social Security Reimbursement

Like chiropractic, osteopathy or relaxation therapy, acupuncture belongs to the alternative medicine. Practiced by few doctors, it benefits from special conditions of reimbursement by Social Security. Some mutual offer the reimbursement of this care in specific packages. Acupuncture care is reimbursed by Social Security only when it is performed by an authorized doctor. Therefore, the reimbursement is made on the basis of the tariff of a general practitioner and the overruns of fees remain at the expense of the insured. The care takes place as part of the coordinated care path if you are referred to the acupuncturist by your attending physician declared to Social Security. In this case, you will be refunded 70% of the price of the consultation, on the basis of a consultation of general practitioner. Outside the care path, the reimbursement rate goes up to 30% and the base rate decreases. Given the obvious appreciation of the patients of the alternative medicine, many health mutual propose the assumption of the expenses of care for this therapy. However, it is necessary to check that your health insurance contract does include reimbursement for this type of care. If not, a modification of your health insurance contract should be considered.

Choosing an Acupuncturist in France

Know first of all that there are two categories of acupuncturists: acupuncturists from the health professions (doctor, dentist ( service 24h geoallo dentiste ), midwife who practice acupuncture) and non-physician acupuncturists from private schools or having received their training abroad. It is best to go to a doctor-acupuncturist whose skills have been proven. To do this, it is possible to consult the directory of the syndicate of French acupuncture physicians or the directory of the federation of acupuncturists. The use of holistic medicine can be beneficial, but unfortunately health insurance does refund very well for this kind of care. It is therefore necessary to adapt your complementary health according to your needs so as not to have to pay too much of the bill.


The occupation of acupuncturist pays well in France but French citizens should beware of charlatans as well as people who practice it without being doctors and having done their studies abroad. Since they are not recognized by the social security, only a small portion of the fee will be refunded. So it is better to do some research first, then look at their diplomas and education before getting an appointment.