• Silvia Yakubova

Interview Column: Ira Magdul

Hello everyone, my name is Silvia Yakubova. Each month, I will share an interview with professionals in different fields to bring you, the readers, all the scoop these professionals share with me- the good and the bad! I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions or ideas as to which professionals I should interview next, let me know at syakubova@nshahs.org.


What do you do for a living?

"I work as an acupuncturist, a non-traditional medical doctor."


How would you describe what you do?

"I insert needles into people’s bodies, helping them with any diseases, illness, or mental problems, such as anxiety. Eventually, I hope to make them and their bodies feel better."


What does your work entail?

"It entails everything; I do it all. I'm a receptionist, acupuncturist, insurance billing specialist, janitor, and office manager. In regards to doing treatments, I sit down with each patient and ask detailed questions about their health in order to see the way their individual body works, and then from that, I pick the acupuncture points that will help them relieve that pain and that are appropriate for their health complaint."


What does Acupuncture do for a person’s body and how does it work?

"Acupuncture is a natural pathway of healing. By inserting a needle with a certain combination, I can help the person being treated reach a desirable effect. It is possible to relieve pain such as headaches by restoring a natural balance in the body and help relieve many other symptoms such as problems with your respiratory system, problems with your sinus and even help with gastrointestinal disorders."

What’s a typical workweek like?

"It’s busy. I work 6 days a week, mostly in the office with either documents or patients. I only take one day off, excluding vacations."


How did you get started and what inspired you?

"When I started out as an MD, I realized that I cannot particularly help people with regular pharmaceutical medicine, injections and/or surgery. I consulted my uncle who worked as an acupuncturist, and he told me about this type of healing, which got me interested in it; this then helped me understand that the body is able to fight for itself without any other external elements. However, at times, it does need a push to help fight the illness and that’s when acupuncture comes in.


What do you like about what you do?

"I like the fact that I don’t need any medication. I'm just pressing on the right points to help the body heal on its own, with acupuncture."


What do you like about acupuncture, specifically, that no other profession can offer you?

"I like acupuncture, specifically, because this is a place of peace and quiet, a time to think and recharge your body- a place where anxiety and fear and all those other negative emotions don’t exist."


How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

"I accept all types of payment, cash, credit and insurance."


On average how much do acupuncturists make?

"40k to 200k a year. That price range will vary depending on the reimbursement of the insurance company, how much you work, where you work, and how many patients you have."


What education, schooling, or skills are needed to become an acupuncturist?

"To be an acupuncturist, you need 60 credits as well as 9 bioscience credits. You will also need to have completed four years of non-traditional medicine in college. It is very similar to medical school, in terms of the classes you must take, with the only difference being that it is non-traditional."


What is most challenging about what you do?

"The most challenging thing about my profession is at times not being able to help someone because they don't want to take the medication or exercise or do whatever is necessary to get better. It’s like the quote, 'You cannot help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves.'"


What is most rewarding about what you do?

"The most rewarding thing about my job is being able to help people; to see their happy and smiling faces after treatment. It just makes my day to see people being able to pursue their dreams with nothing holding them back because life is short and you should accomplish everything you want."


What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

"Just enjoy! I promise you if you like to help people, this is the career for you. Take it slow. You got this!"


How much time off do you get/take?

"Because I have my own practice, I make my own schedule, but if you don’t, it will vary. Each week, I take one full day off and work three other days as half days. I also like to go on vacation once or twice a year, for 7 to 10 days."


What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

"People have a fear of the unknown. They believe that needles hurt a lot because they compare them to the needles at a regular doctor’s office. However, in reality, it isn’t painful at all. So, you'll never know unless you try."


What are your goals/dreams for the future?

"That people use less medication and start going to or becoming acupuncturists. I hope people will start working on their well-being by eating healthy and exercising instead of just popping pills to help the symptoms go away."

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