Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Conventional Medicine, Health & Fitness.

acupuncture-needleFibromyalgia is a syndrome of unknown cause that affects the body’s muscles and connective tissues, causing pain and fatigue. Currently, the disorder affects as many as 5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It has been reported to be two times as prevalent in veterans. Find out how acupuncture for fibromyalgia, along with other holistic treatments, may help alleviate the symptoms of this disorder.

One veteran’s experience

U.S. Army Brigadier General Becky Halstead, the first female West Point graduate in U.S. history to command at the strategic level in Iraq and Afghanistan, had to retire after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. “Agonizing pain, debilitating fatigue, joint stiffness, and sleep deprivation — you name it and I felt it,” says Halstead. “There I was in Iraq, responsible for over 20,000 military men and women, and I privately struggled to physically keep myself going.”

As part of her initial course of treatment, Halstead was prescribed every drug imaginable. The pills only masked her pain and resulted in a downward spiral of reactions that affected her psychological and physical health. She discovered that chiropractic treatment improved joint motion, reducing — and in some cases eliminating — the pain and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia

In addition to chiropractic treatment, acupuncture offers a viable treatment option for fibromyalgia that also positively impacts a patient’s overall wellness and health. Acupuncture treatment is tailored to an individual’s constitution and fibromyalgia syndrome pattern. The benefits of acupuncture for fibromyalgia and other ailments include:

  • Improves pain and musculoskeletal aches and stiffness
  • Treats fatigue and anxiety
  • Regulates sleep patterns
  • Increases energy

Why alternative medicine helps

Many individuals find that traditional Western medical therapies do not effectively treat the muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia and turn to alternative therapies such as acupuncture. The National Institutes of Health has issued a consensus statement concluding that acupuncture is effective in treating many pain-related conditions, of which fibromyalgia is one.

The Acupuncture and 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 you can email our admissions department.




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Training Options for Holistic Health Careers

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Careers, Massage, Meditation & Yoga.

holistic-health-careersMore than a third of all Americans use holistic therapies outside of traditional Western medicine to maintain their health and well being, according to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health. They also spend about $30 billion annually on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to federal researchers. That breaks down to about $500 per person.

The out-of-pocket spending on treatments that range from acupuncture to yoga to homeopathy — along with the expected growth in demand for services like massage therapy — make it a great time to get into holistic health careers. But how do you get training to practice? The time commitment and educational requirements vary broadly, depending on the career path you choose.

Find out more about some of the many holistic health careers training options below.

Massage Therapist

Training programs in massage therapy range from about 330 to 1,000 hours (or several weeks to two years) of instruction and potentially clinical practice, according to Natural Healers. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) reports that the average number of training hours is 671. Some 11 percent of massage therapists also practice other types of bodywork, according to the AMTA.

Chiropractor

To become a licensed chiropractor typically requires completing a four-year program that has academic and clinical components. You will likely need a bachelors in science to gain admission to a program. A chiropractic education typically includes a rigorous course of studies in various sciences, including chemistry and physiology, in addition to hands-on clinical work.

Yoga Instructor

Training programs to become a yoga instructor vary in terms of time commitment, flexibility of scheduling, cost and even focus on a particular style of practice. Expect a program to to take anywhere between a few months to a year, depending on how much time you have to commit to training. Many training programs offer classes on nights and weekends, for those who want to train while working other jobs. Some styles of yoga you may choose to study include:

  • Ashtanga
  • Bikram
  • Hatha
  • Hot Yoga
  • Restorative
  • Vinyasa

Acupuncturist/Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Expect to spend three to four years completing a degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Degree names may vary, but you’ll likely earn a master’s degree and learn how to stimulate specific points on the body using needles, as well as prescribe therapies using traditional Chinese herbs. In addition to using needles, you may also learn how to manipulate the body’s life force energy (qi) using:

  • Heat
  • Suction
  • Pressure
  • Electromagnetic energy

Tai Chi or Qigong Instructor

It typically takes about 150 hours to become a certified teacher of Tai Chi or Qigong, according to the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association (ATCQA). According to the ATCQA, many students of these ancient practices begin by becoming assistants to their own instructors. They then go on to obtain certification through the association before beginning to offer their own classes.

Some students choose to pursue credentials that allow them to practice multiple holistic health careers. Read about one graduate of the Acupuncture and Massage College who obtained a degree in both massage therapy and Oriental medicine.




Career in alternative medicine - Spotlight




Asian Bodywork in Massage Therapy

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

asian-bodyworkThere are many types of Asian bodywork that have roots in traditional Chinese medicine. Many massage therapists practice Shiatsu therapy, one of the many forms of bodywork recognized by the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). Some of the other forms recognized by the AOBTA include:

  • Acupressure
  • Amma
  • Medical Qigong
  • Nuad Bo’Rarn
  • Five Element Shiatsu
  • Shiatsu Anma Therapy
  • Tui na

Amma massage and tui na massage are commonly used for health and wellness. To learn more about Asian bodywork in massage therapy, read more about the two types of massage practice below. 

Amma massage

From Japanese word meaning “push-pull,” amma is based on the Chinese tradition of massage (anmo). From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), amma massage assesses flow and harmony of the five essential substances:

  1. Qi (energy)
  2. Jing (essence)
  3. Shen (spirit)
  4. Xue (blood)
  5. Jin-ye (body fluids)

Amma massage holistically addresses the whole person through kata (choreographed movement) and pressure techniques. Amma techniques encompass pressing, stroking, stretching and percussive manipulations with thumbs, fingers, arms, elbows, knees and feet. The manipulations target acupressure points along the body’s 14 meridians, or energy channels. The aim of the therapy is to restore and promote health through correction of the imbalances of an individual’s vital energy (qi) or meridian system.

According to AOBTA:

Amma is a specialized form of skilled (somatic) touch therapy that combines deep tissue bodywork with the application of pressure, friction, and touch to specific acu-points, superficial primary and tendino-muscle energy channels, muscles, ligaments and joints.

Amma is a preventive treatment that increases circulation, improves flexibility of joints and soft tissue, circulates and drains lymphatic fluid and strengthens the immune system.

Tui na massage

From the words meaning “push and grasp,” tui na is often used in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese herbalism. Therapeutic massage therapy is an integral part of TCM. Tui na incorporates acupressure to bring the body into balance, remove obstructions in energy pathways and promote an increase in the body’s vital energy.

The AOBTA describes the therapy as follows:

[Tui na] techniques are used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and internal organ disorders by opening stagnant meridian channels and encouraging the flow of qi into deficient areas.

Tui na both treats and prevents disease through eight basic methods:

  1. Palpating (mo)
  2. Rejoining (jie)
  3. Opposing (duan)
  4. Lifting (ti)
  5. Pressing (an)
  6. Kneading (mo)
  7. Pushing (tui)
  8. Holding (na)

Similar to principles of acupuncture, tui na focuses on specific acupressure points, energy trigger points and muscles and joints surrounding the affected area.

Tui na techniques can improve blood circulation, enhance joint mobility and heal soft tissue injuries. It is also effective in nerve regulation.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage therapy is sometimes referred to as Japanese physiotherapy. Shiatsu combines assisted-stretching techniques and acupressure to restore qi energy balance in the body.

Somewhat similar to acupuncture in its focus on meridians and acupoints, Shiatsu therapy treats specific points on the body — but without the use of needles. Regular treatments can increase the body’s range of motion and improve coordination and mobility.

Degree programs in massage

The curricula at different Massage Therapy schools may focus on different types of massage, or focus on a unique combination of techniques. The Acupuncture and Massage College’s Massage Therapy program offers a specialization in Japanese Shiatsu, which enables students to develop experience working with a range of techniques within Asian systems of medicine. Students complete courses in Shiatsu, Swedish and medical massage, as well as the biosciences.

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


Career In Massage




What to Look for in Acupuncture Training Programs

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Education & Research.

acupuncture-training-programsThe process of researching new educational opportunities and considering a new career can be daunting. But what do you need to focus on when evaluating acupuncture schools specifically? A lot of factors might sway your decision on what degree program to pursue, but some important elements to consider include: accreditation status, philosophy, location and more. If you’re researching Oriental Medicine degrees, find out more about what to look for in acupuncture training programs before taking the plunge. 

Accreditation

First make sure to check the status of any school you’re considering with the only organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine — the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). This non-profit organizations ensures that programs meet high standards of quality. More than 60 programs and institutions are accredited by the ACAOM, so you’ll have plenty of options when choosing a school.

Philosophy

Like any traditional college or university, a school of acupuncture may have a specific area of focus. According to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), training programs in the United States have a broad range of curricula that focus on a variety of traditions of Oriental medicine. Traditions that may be emphasized in an acupuncture program include:

  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Five Element
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese

Learn about the different traditions and choose a school that teaches in that vein, or evaluate other aspects of schools that interest you and then find out whether their tradition will make a good fit with your education and career aspirations.

Degree Earned

Find out what kind of degree you would earn in a particular program. As with the variety of traditions that schools may focus on, there are a range of degrees you might receive, depending on the school. They may include a degree in one of the following areas:

  • Master of Acupuncture
  • Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Master of Science in Oriental Medicine
  • Diploma in Acupuncture
  • Master in Traditional Oriental Medicine

While it’s beneficial to know the title of the degree you’d be earning in a particular program, it’s mostly just semantics — the content of the curriculum and other factors are likely to be more important in swaying you decision.

Location

Obviously, you want to go a school in a place you want to live while pursuing your degree. Choosing a school where you want to practice may make sense since you will likely be taking certification courses after graduation in the state where you want to practice. You may also be mid-career and want to choose a local school you can attend while otherwise employed or juggling other responsibilities. Many acupuncture training programs offer start times throughout the year and night classes for students with those constraints.

Resources

Different schools are likely to have variable resources available to prospective and matriculating students. Beforehand, find out whether you can attend a class at a school you’re considering, and talk to faculty or graduates who can speak to their academic and professional experiences. How to finance your degree may be of interest to you, so see if you can talk to a school’s financial aid department. Some schools also run clinics to give their students hands-on experience treating patients before graduating. If real-world experience is something you’re looking for, find a program that runs a clinic and book and even book an appointment to check it out!

Placement

Find out what percentage of students at a school you’re considering find employment upon graduation and how long it takes. Ask if the program has placement assistance and resources. Again, talking to graduates of an acupuncture training program will give you a good sense of your own career options. 

Download our free guide to learn more about how to pursue a career in the exciting world of acupuncture.



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Top 5 Holistic Health Careers

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Careers, Massage.

holistic-health-careersAre you looking for a new career that combines your love of helping others with stability and great earning potential? Now is the time to jump into the exciting field of holistic health careers because the demand for natural alternatives to conventional medicine continues to grow.

A recent study found that 60 million Americans spent money on complementary treatments and spending topped $30 billion a year, or an average of $500 per person. Treatments used by people in the study ranged from acupuncture to massage to homeopathy. If you have a calling to help people and want to change your professional path, consider these top 5 holistic health careers.

Massage therapist

What better way to help people than through the power of a healing touch? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed massage therapists was expected to rise at a higher rate than that of other fields — a whopping 22 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Besides growing opportunities for employment, pursuing a career in massage therapy has many other attractive qualities: Earning a degree can take less than a year, flexible work environment options and scheduling upon graduation, an active and healthy career.

Acupuncturist or doctor of traditional Chinese medicine

Like massage therapy, a degree in acupuncture will allow you flexibility in your work life upon graduation from school. Most acupuncture and Oriental medicine degrees take three to four years to complete. You’ll be qualified to diagnose and treat a variety of ailments using a philosophy of health care that’s thousands of years old. In addition to stimulating specific points on the body using needles, you may also learn how to employ heat, suction, pressure or electromagnetic energy to treat imbalances in the qi life force energy.

Reiki pracitioner or energy healer

Energy healing comprises several disciplines that may be pursued on their own or as part of another holistic health degree program, such as massage. Obtaining the proper education int energy healing may take as long as a few weekends or months, depending on whether a program is part of another degree. Training and practice may focus on one of several types of therapy, such as:

  • Healing touch
  • Reiki
  • Qi gong
  • Polarity therapy

These modalities aim to channel healing energy into a patient and facilitate energy balance. Like acupuncture and massage, energy healers help people with a wide variety of health issues, and practitioners may work alongside other providers of complementary medicine.

Kinesiologist or movement therapist

Kinesiology is the study of how muscles and movement affect your overall health. Kinesiologists who work in the area of complementary medicine use muscle testing to to determine energy imbalances that may be affecting a patient’s health. Based on the findings, the practitioner then determines the herbal treatments, diet modifications and other therapies needed to address the health issues. Kinesiology can also help with preventive care and improving general wellbeing.

Certification in the field requires about 300 hours of training, and many practitioners of other health care disciplines seek training to augment their own practices in fields like massage therapy or chiropractic care. Another benefit to pursuing kinesiology is that practitioners work in a variety of capacities in the conventional and complementary health care fields, opening up a multitude of employment options.

Yoga Teacher

Another way to leave behind the world of 9 to 5 desk jobs is to become a yoga instructor. If you love practicing this mental and physical discipline that focuses on breathing and specific body postures, you might decide to spread your love to other people by getting a certification to teach, which can take anywhere from a few months to years. It seems yoga is everywhere these days, with classes popping up that allow you to do yoga with animals.

Additional benefits of teaching yoga: It’s a global career that allows you to set your own schedule and create a work-life balance that works for you. You might find yourself working in a variety of settings, from your own private studio to a spa or gym to a business that offers yoga to its employees.

For more information on careers in alternative medicine, download our free ebook. Contact our admissions department for more information on degrees in Massage Therapy and Oriental Medicine at the Acupuncture and Massage College at (305) 595-9500.



Career in alternative medicine - Spotlight