Friday, February 6, 2009

Sullivan Acupuncture Q&A: Acupuncture Schools

After about 6 years in private practice people are still curious about how I got into Chinese Medicine. Many of my patients are also curious about where someone would go to learn acupuncture in the US. They often think that someone could only learn in China. They wonder how someone living in Memphis or Bartlett, TN would actually be able to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine effectively.
There are currently around 65 acupuncture and chinese medicine schools in the country. Most on either the west coast or east coast. A few more are located in the upper midwest states. Deep South states like Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama do not have any schools yet. The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have a complete list of the accredited schools. The programs offer extensive courses of study that hover around the 2500 hour mark.

Here is the curriculum overview from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine :
"Our four-academic-year (three-calendar-year) program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine consists of 3,272 total hours, for which 211.68 quarter credits are granted. Of these, 960 hours are devoted to clinical studies.
Qi Cultivation Our students study two years of qi cultivation: one full year of qigong, and a second of advanced qigong or taiji. These internal development arts support personal health and creativity and provide the groundwork for direct, experiential understanding of the fundamental energetic concepts of Oriental medicine.
Oriental Therapeutic Massage Students study six weeks of shiatsu, a Japanese form of acupressure and six weeks of tuina, a Chinese form of massage before determining their focus for three more quarters of study.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory Throughout the master’s program, students will explore the theories that serve as the foundation for the practice of Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture Theory and Practice First-year students will study the location of more than 400 points and the channel theory on which acupuncture is based. As they progress through the program, students will master the functions of the acupuncture points, design acupuncture treatments, learn and practice basic and advanced techniques of needling, as well as adjunctive therapies such as moxibustion, cupping, and electrical stimulation of points.
Chinese Herbal Medicine After studying more than 300 individual herbs of the Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia, students learn to combine these herbs into classical formulas and to modify those formulas to meet the needs of individual patients. Working in the Chinese herbal dispensary helps students become familiar with the look, feel, smell, and taste of the herbs and the specificity of their clinical applications.

Biomedicine Coursework in basic sciences; anatomy and physiology; living anatomy; western pathology; western clinical diagnosis; western pharmacology; diet and nutrition; public and community health enable our students to partner with patients and their providers to offer optimum care to their patients.
Professional Development Students develop their ethical and legal awareness, case management capabilities, and marketing and practice building skills in a series of dedicated courses and a community outreach practicum.
Clinical Studies Clinical training affords students the opportunity to integrate their knowledge and skills and apply them to the treatment of patients in a carefully structured and supervised learning environment. For more information about clinical education at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, click here.
To learn more about the master’s degree curriculum, including course descriptions and a year-by-year narrative, we encourage you to download our catalog."

As a side note there is an Acupuncture training course at UCLA Med school that is about 300 hours. Another company out of San Francisco is offering a TCM based acupuncture and herbal program to physicians that also hovers around the 300 hour mark. Some chiropractic colleges offer a few courses on acupuncture here and there.