Chinese Medicine Colleges: What Do They Teach?

Find Chinese Medicine Colleges in the United States and Canada. While Chinese medicine may be considered “alternative” medicine in the West, it is an accepted form of conventional medicine in Eastern cultures – Chinese medicine colleges are trying to change this Western mode of thinking by researching, teaching and administering comprehensive training in this unique healing art.

Whether you’re interested in an introductory class in herbal medicine or are more seriously considering a long-term career in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, one of several Chinese medicine colleges can help you advance your personal and professional goals.

Today, Chinese medicine colleges provide a diverse assortment of certificate and degree programs. One of the more popular courses afforded through Chinese medicine colleges is the Masters in Oriental medicine. Class and clinical training in this program will often include human anatomy and physiology, basic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories, acupuncture, Oriental bodywork, Tai Chi, meridian therapy, moxibustion, Qi gong, and a vast assortment of related studies. Students who have enrolled in a number of Chinese medicine colleges will also learn that they can achieve their Doctorates in Oriental medicine as well.

Aside from learning how to become a licensed acupuncturist, most Chinese medicine colleges frequently offer fundamental studies in the Chinese language to better understand and identify common Chinese medical terms. Additionally, Chinese medicine colleges integrate Eastern philosophies in their teachings, as well as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theories.

In many Chinese medicine colleges, students will be able to engage in certificate programs that teach herbal medicine, Chinese medical massage (Tuina), and other Oriental bodywork therapies. Students who wish to become licensed acupuncturists and practicing Oriental medicine doctors must understand that many Chinese medicine colleges regularly require certain prerequisites prior to enrollment. In many cases, these requirements include extensive education from an accredited university or college. It is always beneficial to review all curriculum requirements at your choice of Chinese medicine colleges so that you are fully prepared to start your educational passage. In addition, students attending Chinese medicine colleges and who are enrolled in more intricate courses (i.e., doctor of Oriental medicine, etc.) will be expected to pass a series of rigorous examinations along the way. These tests will validate comprehension in fundamental knowledge and critical skills in the practice of Chinese medicine.

While there are several varieties of techniques and methods that are facilitated in Oriental medicine, Chinese medicine colleges may slightly differ in independent teachings and length of study. Depending on which course you elect to enroll, training programs in Chinese medicine colleges may vary from mere months to several years. The prospect for success for graduates of any number of Chinese medicine colleges is virtually unlimited.

Role of Alternative Medicine in Modern Society

Typically, alternative medicine differs from traditional medicine in that alternative medicine is older and what we might call unconventional or non-Western medicine. Alternative medicine does not follow the traditional science and research that current medicines undergo. Alternative medicine could also be termed complementary or traditional medicine or the therapies that can be integrated into current medicine. The staff of the National Library of Medicine of the United States classified alternative medicine under the category of complementary therapies in their Medical Subjects Heading Section. This was done in the year 2002. The definition provided was that alternative medicine therapeutic practices were not considered as an integral part of the traditional allopathic medicine. Therapies like acupuncture, dieting, physical therapy like exercises or yoga, etc. are termed as alternative medicine. These therapies are called complementary when they are used along with conventional treatments. If they are done in place of conventional treatments, they are known as alternative treatments.

In April 1995, the panel of National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, worked on Definition & Description, CAM Research Methodology Conference, Office of Alternative Medicine. The panel defined alternative medicine and complementary medicine as those healing resources that encompass all health systems and practices that are different from the dominant health system of a particular society or culture. Usually, therapies like ayurveda, herbal medicine, folk medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy, diet practices, chiropractic, music therapy, massage, pranic healing, etc. are classified as alternative or complementary medicine. People who do not find a cure, remedy or success in allopathic medicine generally try alternative medicine. Such people generally suffer from cancer, arthritis, acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS), chronic back pain, etc. Therapies included under alternative medicine would cease to be included in that category once their efficacy is proven and they are considered safe and effective. They are then considered as part of traditional medicine. An example would be chiropractors. Twenty years ago insurance would not pay for them as they were considered “alternative and ineffective.” Today thousands of people have been helped by chiropractors and they are now recognized in the medical community. A similar movement is underway in the nutritional supplement and nutraceutical industry.

Over the years, more and more people have been using alternative medicine because traditional medicine is not working for them. The 2004 survey by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine of the United States revealed that approximately 36% of Americans used alternative medicine in 2002. If alternative medicine is used in conjunction with traditional allopathic medicine, an integrative doctor is a person’s best option. Some traditional doctors are adamantly against or simply do not believe in complementary medicine, even though research continues to show the benefits of many compounds. Your doctor should be informed about other approaches you may be using and if they are not comfortable with that then always feel free to choose another doctor. This would enable the doctor to foresee any possible complications or a better time in which to use a complementary therapy. The concern in using alternative medicine stems from the fact that some practitioners of alternative medicine do not have an accredited medical degree and therefore do not have a valid medical license. However, in recent times, many educational institutions and universities have started offering courses in homeopathy, ayurveda, siddha, unani, acupuncture, and naturopathy. The recent growth in this industry is evident by the many people demanding different, and in some cases better, care than what they are receiving in “modern medicine.” They are no longer accepting the fact that they need to suffer with pain or illness because modern pharmacy does not have a magic bullet for them.