What Do You Study at Acupuncture School?

acupuncture-schoolAre you considering attending or planning to enroll in acupuncture school? If so, congratulations! You're well on your way to an exciting career helping people live their healthiest and happiest lives. But what exactly does a program at acupuncture school look like? What classes will you take and what will you learn? Each acupuncture school is likely to offer a program that's a little different from the others, but read on to learn about the basics of what you can expect.

The basics

Of course, you will learn the needling techniques needed to perform acupuncture treatment, but there's so much more to learn about this ancient practice. You're likely to cover subjects like: the acupuncture points chart, the fundamentals of traditional Chinese medicine, ethics, anatomy and physiology, and more. Other classes might include:

  • Asian bodywork
  • Biology
  • Introduction to needling
  • Herbal medicine
  • Pathology

Differing philosophies

Like any institution of higher learning, acupuncture schools have many different philosophies that drive their programs. According to Acupuncture.com, there are two main approaches: Traditional Chinese Medicine/Eight Elements School and Five Element School. The Five Element approach is less common.

In addition to those two main philosophies, schools may have other unique approaches. Acupuncture.com cites the following as an example:

"Yo San University in Marina Del Rey, Calif. ... teaches Taoist Classical Medicine, using both the Five Elements and TCM/Eight Elements approaches plus Energetic Systems of Chinese medicine, which are based on the 'Yellow Emperor's Classic' and the I-Ching."

Find out more about the philosophy of a particular school you're considering in order to decide if a program is right for you.

Oriental medicine

Some acupuncture training programs might be part of a more comprehensive degree in Oriental medicine. If so, it will probably take you longer to earn your degree, but you'll also gain additional knowledge. According to Natural Healers, some areas of study this type of program may include are:

  • Zang Fu theory
  • Dietary theory in traditional Chinese medicine
  • A type of massage called Tui Na
  • Herbal medicine

Some programs offer masters degrees and bachelors degrees as part of the same program. Decide what level of education you want to pursue, and how long you wan to be in school when evaluating your options.

Clinical education

Hands-on experience is practical knowledge you can take into the job market. Many acupuncture school degree programs run a clinics where students can gain experience in a real-world environment, and that will be part of your program of study. If your acupuncture school does not run a clinic, you may be working in other environments with professional practitioners to gain clinical experience.

Before you enroll

One of the best ways to get a feel for what it would be like to attend an acupuncture school is to observe a class or classes. Contact any prospective program's admissions department and ask to sit in on a class in session. Talk to students or graduates about what they think of the program, and what their favorite courses are. If that school has a clinic that provides acupuncture services, book a session.

For more information on the Acupuncture & Massage College's degree in Oriental Medicine, contact the admissions department at (305) 595-9500.

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