What is (Qi) Chi Energy?

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture.

(Qi)-Chi-EnergyYou may have heard the words “qi” or chi” with regard to acupuncture and alternative medicine. But do you even know how to pronounce it, let alone understand the concept? If you’ve ever wondered: “What is (qi) chi energy?” then read on. Understanding this important concept will help you better comprehend how Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture work.

The basics

Qi or chi — pronounced “chee” — is the energy flow created along the pathways that connect the acupuncture points on the body. The pathways between the points are called meridians, which also connect to internal organs in the body. Using acupuncture needles, pressure or heat to manipulate a point or two separate points on the body can improve a person’s qi — which is also thought of as one’s life force — and relieve the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, digestive issues, respiratory problems and more. This understanding of the human body comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is thousands of years old. It’s a different way of thinking about how the body works than conventional Western medicine.

Diving deeper

Even with a basic definition of the concept, it may still be hard to wrap your head around the idea of chi. Acupuncture Today describes chi as possessing the following characteristics:

  • Vibrations
  • Oscillations of the meridians
  • Carriers of the effect of acupuncture on a pressure point to other parts of the body

Imagine manipulating an acupuncture point, or acupressure point, like strumming a guitar string — plucking one part of it sends vibrations along the length of the string. If plucked with the proper technique, the string will produce a beautiful sound. That’s just one way to visualize how chi flows through the body and effects your health.

Why it works

Acupuncture points are physical places on the body where chi energy can be accessed and manipulated. Acupuncture treatment helps the body’s natural healing process and also serves a preventive function. Energy imbalances or congested energy flow can create or accentuate pain, or impede the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Promoting the unobstructed flow of chi improves health and well-being. Depending on how sensitive a patient is, they may feel the chi as it travels along the meridians during a treatment, others may feel pressure at the acupuncture point and some may feel nothing at all.

Treating different ailments

Qualified acupuncture practitioners know what points to use for treating various medical problems, from pain to anemia to hormonal disorders. Each acupuncture point has certain diseases and conditions associated with it, though sometimes a practitioner will manipulate a combination of points to improve the flow of chi through the pathways and balance a patient’s energy flow. Many people use acupuncture in tandem with other treatments as part of a health regimen that addresses the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

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


How to Get a Job after Acupuncture School

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

job-after-acupuncture-schoolNow is a great time to get into the field of acupuncture. As the demand for alternative medicine and more natural approaches to health care increases, the industry is expected to continue to grow by as much as 32 percent by 2022, according to HealthCareCareers.com. Government legislation and insurance companies have begun recognizing acupuncture as a viable course of treatment for a variety of health issues on a more consistent basis, making the professional outlook rosy. But you may be wondering, once you earn your degree, how to get a job after acupuncture school.

First things first: Licensing

In order to practice, you’ll need to pass the licensing requirements of the state you intend to work in. Research what you need in order to qualify, from academics to training and more. If you haven’t yet embarked on a course of study, make sure that the program you plan to enter is accredited and approved by the licensing board of the state you plan to work in. Once you meet the requirements and pass the appropriate exam, you’ll be eligible to practice. But what practice setting to work in becomes the next question.

Where you’ll work

Many acupuncturists open their own practices, but there are also a variety of other settings where practitioners can find employment: alternative medicine centers, oriental medicine centers, chiropractors’ offices, or cancer centers. Some also partner up with other natural healing professionals like massage therapists and naturopaths. If you’re looking for skills you can apply in a range of settings and flexibility in a career path, acupuncture makes a good bet.

Setting a course

Because a spectrum of settings in which to practice acupuncture exist, it helps to explore the options before you find yourself on the job market. Figure out where acupuncturists practice in your community — in addition to the options mentioned, you might find practitioners in settings like holistic health centers, on military bases and more. Consider making an appointment for treatment at the places that interest you (if possible) and talking to the managers there. Discuss the hiring guidelines, the lifestyle and day-to-day experience of the acupuncturists, and anything else that might influence the career choices you make.

Skills you’ll need

In addition to the academic and licensing requirements of practicing, certain aptitudes and personal traits will help you succeed as an acupuncture professional. Consider whether the following attributes apply to you:

  • Compassion
  • A desire to help others
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • High ethical standards
  • Self-motivation
  • Critical thinking skills
  • An abiding interest in health and wellness
  • A supportive and encouraging nature
  • Patience and understanding

If you have what you think it takes to make it in this growing field, you should have no trouble finding a job upon graduation that makes a great fit with your career aspirations. Assuming you attend a reputable, accredited school to earn your degree, that institution will have resources to help you secure a position upon graduation, as well as a network of graduates with whom you can connect to help establish your toehold in the professional world.

To learn more about finding the perfect position after earning your degree in acupuncture, download our free guide.


What You Can Expect from Acupuncture School

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

what you can expect from acupuncture schoolSo, you think you want to go to acupuncture school. You’re excited about the ever-growing opportunities in the field of holistic health and want a career that helps others and offers you flexibility in your schedule and satisfaction in your work. But before diving into a new degree program, you’ll want to know what you can expect from acupuncture school.

A specific philosophy or approach

Just like a traditional college or university, acupuncture school can have a unique area of focus or philosophy that guides the program, according to the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Some possible approaches include: Chinese, Japanese, Five Element, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions. Compare the focus of degree programs that interest you and make sure the ones you apply to have full accreditation status with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which is the only organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that accredits acupuncture and Oriental medicine school. You should also make sure the program is approved by the licensing board of the state where you plan to practice.

Acupuncture schools may require you have anywhere from two years of baccalaureate education or a medical certification up to a Bachelor’s Degree, which exceeds the CCAOM’s minimum standards. Check with the admissions department of schools that interest you to understand the requirements before you apply. Students of acupuncture can qualify for federal financial aid and scholarship opportunities exist, so get in touch with any prospective school’s financial aid office to find out how to best finance your degree.

Types of degree programs

Most students pursue the entry-level requirement of obtaining a Master’s Degree in acupuncture school, the needed qualification to practice. Institutions might have different names from their degrees, including Master of Oriental Medicine, Master of Acupuncture, Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine and so on. Programs usually take three to four years to complete, depending on whether your focus is acupuncture or Oriental medicine. Some schools offer opportunities to go on to pursue a doctorate in the field.

Student life

You might not have to wait until fall to start a degree program — many colleges have programs that begin several times throughout the year, so inquire with admissions departments of prospective colleges as to when they accept new students. If you need to fit school into other demands, like a job or family life, some programs offer night classes. Again, like traditional colleges and universities, each acupuncture school will have a unique culture and vibe, so make campus visits and sit in on classes, if possible. Talk to teachers and students and see if you can imagine yourself fitting into the program.

Additional resources

More than 50 schools in the U.S. offer programs in acupuncture, so finding the right one for you can be daunting. In addition to finding an academic program that’s comprehensive and speaks to your interests, seek out a school that comes with assistance in securing financial aid you need to fund your education and help with passing your licensing exams upon completing your degree. During your research phase, ask what percentage of their graduates pass their licensing exams — this is a great indicator of the quality of the program. Find out whether the school offers professional networking opportunities and help with job placement when you graduate.

Learn more about what to expect from acupuncture school and beyond by downloading our free ebook. Also contact the Acupuncture & Massage College’s Admissions Department at (305) 595-9500 for more specific information about our Oriental medicine program.



Chinese Medicine Helps with Treatment for Eating Disorders

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Food & Nutrition.

acupuncture-treatment-for-eating-disordersNearly 1 million men and women in the United States suffer from eating disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, including the two most common ones — anorexia and bulimia. Both disorders involve a perception distortion of body shape and weight. Anorexia is characterized by extreme weight loss; bulimia is characterized by binge-eating and compensatory factors such as purging and fasting. Conventional therapies for eating disorders include medical and psychological evaluation, medication and nutritional counseling. But if you’re looking for treatment for eating disorders, Chinese medicine and other alternative therapies can help.

Acupuncture can aid in treatment of eating disorders 

One of the most effective healing traditions in the treatment of eating disorders is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and dietary therapy. In addition to allopathic therapies, TCM — especially acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine — can aid in regaining emotional and physical health.

The medical complications of eating disorders can affect multiple body systems, including the digestive, endocrine and cardiac systems. The digestive system often proves to be one of the most affected systems of the body in those suffering from eating disorders. Depending on the specific eating disorder, symptoms may include acid reflux, abdominal bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), nausea, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

How acupuncture helps in related conditions 

Acupuncture can help address general health complaints that arise with eating disorders, such as dry skin, fatigue, concentration difficulties, anemia, muscle cramps, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety and low energy. As either a primary or adjunct therapy as part of treatment for eating disorders, acupuncture speeds recovery of the affected body systems and aids in stress reduction through the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

Auricular (ear) acupuncture points are also effective in harmonizing digestion, absorption and metabolism. Acupuncture body points selected can tonify — or increase the energy of — Chi and circulate oxygen and blood with an emphasis on the stomach. By restoring Chi energetic balance, acupuncture can manage uncontrollable appetite and reduce cravings.

Combination of holistic modalities 

Acupuncture treatment can correct the energy imbalances that often are underlying factors in eating disorders. Acupuncture nourishes related organs and can contribute to the healthy functioning of the digestive system. TCM for eating disorders uses a combination of holistic modalities to regain health, including acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and dietary therapy. The fact that TCM focuses on holistic health offers some advantages in treating these complex and dangerous ailments, which may involve coordinating with multiple providers to get the patient on a successful path of recovery.

To learn more about how practitioners of holistic medicine can help people manage and overcome a broad spectrum of health problems, download our eBook Everything You Need To Know About A Career in Acupunture today.


Acupressure Points: How Do They Work in Massage?

Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Massage.


acupressure pointsAcupressure is a massage therapy technique based on the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses finger pressure to mobilize chi — or life force energy — at specific spots on the body called acupressure points, which are also known as acupuncture points or acupoints. These acupressure points are physical locations where chi can be accessed to release blocked or congested energy centers in the body, promoting unobstructed chi flow for health and well-being.

Different styles of acupressure massage therapy rely on varying rhythms, pressure and techniques. Shiatsu, a Japanese massage therapy form based on ancient Chinese principles, is the most well known style of acupressure massage training. Literally translated as “finger pressure,” this technique can be quite vigorous in practice, as the therapist applies firm pressure applied to acupressure points. Shiatsu massage therapy programs at schools like the Acupuncture and Massage College typically include comprehensive training in traditional Asian bodywork. Treatment may also combine massage therapy stretching, special breathing techniques and meditation.

Oftentimes, Shiatsu massage therapy practitioners can detect energy imbalances in the body before any negative health symptoms appear in a patient. Firm pressure, kneading, brisk rubbing and tapping are fundamental techniques incorporated into the curriculum of many massage therapy training schools and programs.

Acupressure massage therapy stimulates and activates the body’s own healing energies to prevent illness. Acupressure massage therapy practitioners will press on specific points to promote energy flow to a part of the body that is experiencing disease or discomfort, enabling it to heal more quickly.

Acupressure massage therapy training and massage therapy schools cover the two ways acupressure points work in treatment.

  • Local Points: Acupressure points that target the area of the body where the patient is experiencing pain or tension, which the therapist stimulates to relieve the discomfort.
  • Trigger Points: Acupressure points that the therapist stimulates to relieve pain, tension or other problems in another part of the body, which is sometimes far from the area the practitioner is touching.

Training for massage therapists explores the triggering mechanism of acupoints and how the mechanism works through human energy channels called meridians. The meridians are pathways that connect the acupressure points to each other as well as to internal organs. A comprehensive acupressure massage therapy program at many massage schools, such at the Acupuncture and Massage College, will cover massage training in the meridian system as well as the location of acupressure points.

Acupressure massage therapy is often used as a complementary treatment along with other health care modalities. It can also be an effective adjunct to chiropractic treatment, which is why many chiropractors also offer massage therapy in their offices. Acupressure massage therapy benefits a wide range of health conditions, including pain, headaches, insomnia, poor circulation, sinus problems, arthritis, shoulder and neck tension. It is also effective in preventative health care maintenance.

To find out more about how massage therapists help patients using acupressure points, and how to pursue a career helping others, download our eBook today.

Four Steps to Changing Career Paths