While constantly increasing in popularity and use, alternative medicine can still seem like unchartered territory. And alternative medicine careers are often not immediately viewed as viable, professional ways to work in the field of health care.
This is the result of many misperceptions that continue today, despite the wealth of research and studies on the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. The following are five myths about alternative medicine careers, and the facts that many people may not realize.
MYTH: A career in alternative medicine only means being an acupuncturist.
FACT: While it’s often the practice most researched and explored by consumers, acupuncture is only one of the many areas of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine also includes chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, and homeopathy.
MYTH: People with careers in alternative medicine practice only new-age medicine that doesn’t really work.
FACT: Treatment methods in TCM are honed to precisely correct imbalances found in particular individuals. TCM is often effective when traditional treatments are not, and the practice rarely produces negative side effects.
Fifty percent of patients visiting TCM practitioners in the United States seek remediation of drug side effects, enhancement of therapeutic effects of medications, and fortification of the immune system.
One of the reasons for the acceptance of acupuncture is that its underlying mechanisms are defined. Its effects on the nervous system and on the endogenous opioids have been proven to create pain-relieving, biochemical, and systemic changes. Acupuncture is a potent intervention for pain and drug detoxification and other issues that traditional medicine approaches inadequately address.
MYTH: Alternative medicine is not widely accepted as a career.
FACT: TCM, including acupuncture, has been around for over 3,000 years and is recognized by the World Health Organization as a viable medical protocol. The practice is widely used in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Thirty-nine percent of European hospitals have an acupuncture clinic.
MYTH: The field of alternative medicine is fragmented with no real structure.
FACT: TCM is a complete organized medical system -- the second largest in the world. There are over 60 accredited colleges in the country, all approved by the U.S Secretary of Education.
MYTH: People who have alternative medicine careers use a one-size-fits-all approach.
FACT: TCM is a unique system for diagnosing and treating disease throughout the human body. Its approach is uniquely holistic and individualistic, treating each person for his or her distinctive manifestations of illness rather than a pre-defined set of signs and symptoms.
This type of diagnosis is called personal pattern discrimination, and it is the fundamental prescriptive method in TCM. It creates a very specific foundation for each patient from which treatment methods are chosen.
The truth about careers in alternative medicine
Careers in alternative medicine are legitimate and rewarding, with huge growth potential in an increasingly in-demand market. If you’re considering making a switch in your profession, download our free ebook Four Steps to Changing Career Paths.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.