Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Herbs & Medicine.

traditional-chinese-medicineEmbarking on a course of study in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers a range of personal and professional benefits. A program in TCM gives students a broad base of knowledge, diagnostic skills and an understanding of the subtleties of therapies used by practitioners of this ancient system of health care.


One of the main elements of an academic program in traditional Chinese medicine is the study of diagnostics. This area focuses on the diagnosis of diseases and syndromes through examination. In a TCM program, diagnostics is taught based on a specific theory and methodology that differs from traditional Western medicine.

Students study diagnostics in the context of the clinical specialties of TCM — acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Tui Na — and learn the theory and methods of these practices. They also learn about pathological conditions and develop the ability to analyze differentiating syndromes in their patients.

Clinical practice

By studying both theory and diagnostics, students then become capable of uniting theory and practice, which becomes the foundation of clinical practice. Along with learning the therapeutic methods of TCM, students gain an extensive background in Western bio-medical sciences.

A degree in TCM will also include study of the traditional Chinese pharmacy and prescriptions, herbs, and commonly used drugs. Students also learn how to treat frequently encountered diseases.

Chinese Herbs have many different healing qualities

Dr. Gordon Xu shows student interns how to check the freshness of Chinese herbs

The specialties of TCM
Based on a foundation of theory and diagnostics, students then study diseases in the context of the medical specialties, including internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, ophthalmology, traumatology and orthopedics. Students also receive in-depth training in the specialties of TCM, including acupuncture and moxibustion, herbal medicine and massage (Tui Na).

A degree program will also include training in how to identify the kinds of diseases suitable for treatment with acupuncture, moxibustion and Tui Na massage, as well as those that respond best to rehabilitation therapy.

A foundation of knowledge

The study of TCM is both challenging and rewarding. As part of their curriculum, some accredited programs offer trips to China, where students can benefit from practicing in hospitals in which TCM is the primary system of medical care.

By the time of graduation from an accredited TCM program, students should have developed a broad base of knowledge in TCM, with core training in the clinical skills needed to perform acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine prescription and Tui Na therapy to effectively treat a wide range of health conditions.

For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.


5 Reasons to Consider a Degree in Acupuncture

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Careers.

degree-in-acupunctureThere are a lot of compelling reasons to consider a degree in acupuncture if you’re looking to continue your education or jumpstart a brand new career. From the flexible degree programs to the benefits of pursuing a career helping people, the field has a lot to offer people looking for a next professional step that’s both achievable and rewarding. Check out just 5 reasons to consider a degree in acupuncture.

1. Growing demand for holistic health care

The spending on holistic health treatments increases with every year, meaning that more practitioners are needed to help fill the demand for services. Consumers spent more than $30 billion on complimentary health treatments, including acupuncture, massage and more, according to a recent federal study. That makes it a great time to complete a degree and become a licensed practitioner of acupuncture.

2. Desire to help people

Do you have a calling to help people achieve their optimal state of health? Acupuncture helps stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities by putting pressure on specific points throughout the body to improve the body’s flow of energy.

Not only does an acupuncturist insert needles into a patient’s body during treatment, but the practitioner asks questions about a patient’s health and conducts a thorough examination. It’s a holistic approach to patient care that’s cost effective and free from the side effects of Western medicine. “Patients are viewed from a holistic perspective, taking into account their physical, mental, and emotional health,” according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. “Practitioners are able to spend time developing a collaborative relationship with patients, assisting them in maintaining their health and promoting a consciousness of wellness.”

3. Job flexibility

After graduating and passing licensing exams, the world will be your proverbial oyster. “Practitioners can create financially supportive careers with flexible work schedules that are rewarding on many levels,” the Council reports. Acupuncturists can work in a variety of settings, from private practices to cancer centers. Many people with acupuncture degrees enjoy the flexibility and self-determination of setting their own schedules and working at the times that work for them — to accommodate a busy family schedule or other life demands.

4. Stability and earning potential

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the current average median income for an acupuncturist (which falls under Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners) is $74,710.

According to, a site dedicated to providing information on students of acupuncture and other holistic health techniques:


“Oriental medicine practitioners, like acupuncturists, have the chance to increase their earning potential in a private practice if they’re good self-marketers. Building a strong clientele will help secure a steady and well-paying salary, but takes time and plenty of networking.”


If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to help people, acupuncture can be a great field in which to build up a business of your own. As noted by, continuing education helps boost your earning potential. Knowing other areas of holistic health practice can also increase the demand for your services.

5. Accessible career path

Many programs for Oriental medicine and acupuncture offer flexible degree programs, including night classes, for students who are working or have other obligations. A master’s degree program takes about three to four years to complete.

For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.


Traditional Chinese Medicine for Eczema

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Herbs & Medicine.

natural-eczema-treatmentPersistent atopic dermatitis — more commonly known as eczema — is a condition that makes your skin itchy and appear red or brownish gray in color. Eczema patches may have small raised bumps on the skin that leak and weep fluid when scratched. A variety of causes and conditions can induce flareups of eczema.

Alternative therapies for treatment

There is no known cure for the condition, so some patients seek traditional Chinese medicine for eczema, especially those who want to avoid the side affects of or have found little relief from more common Western medicine therapies. Research indicates that traditional Chinese medicine can safely and effectively treat the allergic condition and improve a patient’s quality of life.

Some natural methods of treatment include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Chinese herbs
  • Natural therapies
  • Diet
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamins

Research on eczema patients

One study of 14 patients with eczema evaluated the effects of treatment that included acupuncture, topical creams and Erka Shizheng herbal tea. Participants were treated at the Ming Qi Natural Health Center in Manhattan and researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York analyzed and presented study findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. After several months of treatment, the quality of life of the patients improved and the severity of the eczema had declined in the majority of patients.

Treatment with acupuncture resulted in a reduced dependence on the use of antihistamines, antibiotics and steroids after three months of treatment. Findings indicated acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine are safe and effective for individuals with eczema, especially those with a severe case and considerable life quality impairment.

Acupuncture for eczema

While conventional medications for eczema treatment can reduce inflammation and flare-ups, they may cause unwanted side effects including high blood pressure, nausea, headaches, tingling and numbness. On the other hand, acupuncture can bring about relief from skin dryness and itching naturally, and without side effects. Acupuncture reduces allergic responses which can cause eczema and alleviates skin irritation and general discomfort. The treatment decreases stress and improves a patient’s sense of well being, which can help with outbreaks.

Other natural treatments

Herbal medicine treatment include creams applied externally and medicinals taken internally. They can work to cool the body and soothe the tissues locally in order to treat acute flare-ups as well as provide long-term improvements in the condition. Some natural substances that may help include sunflower seed oil and cocounut oil.

For information about the Acupuncture and Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.

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How to Learn the Acupuncture Points Chart

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine.

acupuncture points chartThe acupuncture points chart is a complex map of the human body used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in diagnosing and treating patients. Originally highlighting 365 points — a figure that corresponds to the number of days in a year — acupuncture professionals have since identified many more points and channels between them. Applying a firm pressure to manipulate these points helps stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities to facilitate the flow of qi — or life force energy — throughout the body in order to achieve a healthy and harmonious balance. The condition of the patient and their specific ailments will determine which points the practitioner will focus on during a treatment session.

Schedule an appointment

If you want to learn more about the acupuncture points and have never been treated by a practitioner of Oriental medicine, schedule an appointment for acupressure or acupuncture. Talk to your practitioner about any health issues you have and ask which points will be targeted during treatment to correct imbalances you may be experiencing. Find out how the points connect to the affected organs and system in your body. Obviously, what you learn in a single treatment, or even a handful of treatments, will only be a snapshot of the acupuncture points chart, but it will help you begin to understand both some specific points on the chart along with how treatment works.

Read and do research

Plenty of resources exist online, in bookstores and at the library to introduce you to the acupuncture points chart. Avail yourself of available resources to familiarize yourself with the chart and identify the points used for treating common ailments. Here are six points that are frequently used by practitioners and some common ailments they treat:

1. Gallbladder 20 (GB20): Feng Chi

Headaches, eye bluriness, cold/flu symptoms

2. Large Intestine 4 (L14): He Gu

Stress, toothaches, facial and neck pain

3. Liver 3 (LV3): Tai Chong

Stress, low back pain, high blood pressure, insomnia

4. Pericardium 6 (P6): Nei Guan

Nausea, anxiety, carpal tunnel syndrome

5. Spleen 6 (SP6): San Yin Jiao

Urological and pelvic disorders, fatigue, insomnia

6. Stomach 36 (ST36): Zu San Li

Depression, knee pain, gastrointestinal issues

The above is, of course, only a small sampling of points found on the human body and the health problems they can help alleviate.

Go to school for acupuncture

The best and most thorough way to learn the acupuncture points chart is by entering an accredited program at an institution of higher learning that teaches traditional Chinese medicine. There you’ll be immersed in classes that include human anatomy, physiology and acupuncture taught by experts in the field. Your training will not only give you a deep understanding of the chart, but how to identify the points on the human body and how they work in the treatment of a broad range of health issues.

For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.  Download our free ebook to learn more about what to expect from a career in the exciting and growing field of alternative medicine.


The Chinese Four Pillars of Diagnosis Used in Acupuncture

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine.

chinese-four-pillarsChinese medicine has a different approach to diagnosing patients than you will typically find in a Western medical health care setting. Looking, listening, touching, asking — these important components make up the Chinese four pillars of diagnosis used in acupuncture. The four pillars are also referred to as the four examinations. Each pillar provides information that adds up to a holistic view of the patient and any health issues that can be alleviated through acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Read on to learn more about the each pillar.


A lot can be gleaned from a patient during an examination through observation. As part of a diagnosis, the practitioner will likely note the color and luster of the face and skin throughout the body. Different features of the body, including the eyes and ears, also convey information about underlying imbalances. The acupuncturist will also likely examine the tongue, which may indicate the state of a patient’s health by characteristics like its shape, texture and coating or moisture level. Other aspects of a patient that might be observed include their movements and their mannerisms.


The sound of someone’s voice provides a window into their health. Practitioners generally classify the voice into these five types:

  • Shout
  • Laugh
  • Sing
  • Weep
  • Groan

Each type connects to different organs and provides information about which systems of the body may have ailments.


This pillar is commonly called palpation. During this part of the examination, the practitioner feels various pulse points, including along the radial artery, to ascertain the state of the pulse — be it choppy, rapid, strong or possessing any number of other characteristics. These classifications offer deep insight into both the physical and mental state of the patient. The practitioner may also palpate the abdomen or specific acupuncture points to glean additional diagnostic information.

During the touching or palpation portion of the exam, the acupuncturist is looking for areas that are:

  • Tender or painful
  • Hot or cold
  • Swollen
  • Sweaty
  • Discolored


The final pillar involves a process of inquiries starting with the specific or main complaint, if any, and then branching out from there. A traditional Chinese medical diagnosis may involve ten questions, which range in subject from the patient’s sleeping habits to their appetite to the characteristics of the pain they have. Additional related questions may follow these main areas of inquiry.

A practitioner may also include smelling and tasting as part of the diagnostic process by inquiring about any body odors or tastes experienced by the patient. Smelling and tasting are less used by practitioners today than they were in the past.

All of the external symptoms communicate the condition of a patient’s interior organs and systems. The information gathered during an exam using the four pillars of diagnosis allows the practitioner to understand the patient as an individual and come up with a treatment plan that addresses and imbalances they have with their qi — or life force energy.

To learn more about pursuing a degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine or massage therapy, download our free guide that breaks down how to change careers into four easy steps.

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