The ACAOM program has both regional and programmatic accreditations and was specifically designed for adult learners. A great advantage of our curriculum is the flexibility. Students can switch between full time and part time status throughout their enrollment, and counselors will work with students to ensure that they fulfill their academic requirements in a timely manner. ACAOM has utilized its experienced with its Western medical partners to enhance the current program so that it maximizes student success. Descriptions of each section are listed below.
Fundamentals of TCM
The course presents the theoretical system of Chinese medicine. Theories of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements, the concepts of acupuncture, moxibustion, classification and function of meridians and collaterals, and introduction of Chinese Herbology are discussed. Topics covered include Yin-Yang balance, the Generation and Controlling Cycle, and the Over-Controlling and Counter-Controlling Cycle of Five Elements. Focus is placed on the influence and application of the Yin-Yang philosophy and theory. Both philosophy and theory serve as a foundation for the therapeutic principles and methods used to explain and analyze human physiology, pathology and diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Differences between Western medicine and TCM will be pointed out through comparison of their theories and perspectives on the physiological functions of internal organs, on causes and pathogenesis of diseases, and on diagnosis and modalities of treatment. Assessments will be offered of the strong and weak points of each of these two types of medicine.
Acupuncture & Tai-Chi
Acupuncture is the first of three courses, which presents the distribution function, and pathological signs of the human body’s network of meridians and collaterals. Students will study the classifications, locations and anatomical landmarks of points on the first seven meridians of the circadian cycle: the meridians of the Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine, and Urinary Bladder. Point energetics, functions, indications, contraindications, methods of needling and appropriate use of moxibustion is all presented in this course, as are the clinical applications of each point. Students will also learn about precautionary guidelines of importance to remember when stimulating certain points. The lab portion of this course focuses on practical instruction and hands-on student practice. Needle insertion and manipulation of special points will be demonstrated.
Tai Chi - Through lecture and practice, students will explore the origin, classification and benefits of Tai Chi, an amazing Chinese martial art transformed into health-enhancing exercise. Students will also learn about currently available studies pertaining to Tai Chi’s positive effects on young and old. This course presents 24-form (Yang-style) Tai Chi, both regular and reverse. Warm-up exercises, basic requirements of mind and body, and breathing skills important to Tai Chi practice are included. Students in this course will learn how Tai Chi helps build Qi, helps maintain balance inside the body, and develops mental focus and physical dexterity. Tai-Chi Sword allows students to continue the practice of Tai Chi using ancient Chinese sword techniques. Each of the three courses consists of lecture and practice.
Qi-Gong & Tui Na
Qi-gong is effective in building Qi for personal well-being and for Qi-Gong therapy. In each of these courses, students will learn about the history and development of Qi-Gong, its relationship to the body and the fundamental techniques of both quiet and motion Qi-Gong. Students will gain an understanding of the indications, contraindications, and some of the precautions associated with Qi-Gong practice. This course presents several types of Qi-Gong: Small Heavenly Circle, which is a form of Quiet Qi-Gong; Eight Brocades, a form of Motion Qi-Gong; and Yi Jing Jing, (Bone Marrow Washing Qi-Gong), from Shao Lin Temple – another form of Motion Qi-Gong.
Tui Na- This course covers the foundation of Tui-Na, including the basic theory of Tui-Na according to Chinese medicine, commonly used Tui-Na techniques and related TCM diagnostic tools. Class time will be allotted for thorough hands-on practice of each manipulation
These three non-sequential courses will introduce students to the numerous individual herbs commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each herb will be analyzed and classified by its properties, channels entered, actions, and clinical indications. Dosage and administration, contraindications of each herb will also be studied. The course content includes identification of herbs most commonly used in the clinic.
Biomedical Clinical Science
This course covers the structure of the human body. The content is based on a Western medical approach, but the overall course objective is to provide students with sufficient anatomical knowledge to help locate acupuncture points. Students will concentrate on nomenclature of the bones, muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, and the different organ systems.
This course covers issues pertaining to patient-centered counseling and communication. Topics include communication skills for various situations (e.g. patient-provider communication; provider-referral communication; provider-caretaker communication; provider-market relations) and counseling techniques for use with patients and their significant others for various stages of illness (acute, chronic, end-of life). Emphasis is placed on the communication process and the impact of culture, ethnicity and spirituality on health-seeking behaviors. Students will be afforded an opportunity to witness and discuss their own verbal and non-verbal behaviors as these relate to their interaction with others.
This course introduces the development of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine from ancient times to the present. Students will study the achievements of prominent doctors of TCM and Western medicine, and will learn about the classical texts of both. The development of TCM is presented in the timeline of sequential Chinese dynasties.
In this course, students observe the clinical intern and faculty or licensed acupuncturists as they interview patients, produce diagnoses, and treat patients with acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion, tui-na and other forms of Oriental Medicine. Additionally, students will learn practical skills of office management, counseling and patient communication skills.
Clinical Internship I students will gain more practical experience through direct contact with patients by initiating patient communication, performing patient examinations, developing diagnoses, inserting needles, prescribing herbal formulas and by performing any other form of necessary treatment, including moxibustion, cupping and tui-na. Clinical Internship I students work together in small groups and under full and close supervision as they treat patients.
Clinical Internship II provides students with their first step towards work independent from the group and closely supervision. The supervisor will gradually give Internship II students more opportunity to independently communicate with patients, to develop diagnoses, to prescribe acupuncture and herbal formulas, and to deliver treatments.
Clinical Internship III is a continuation of Clinical Internship II, but provides students more independence. At this stage, students are expected to work more independently than at the stage of intern II as they perform new-patient intakes, determine diagnoses, develop treatment plans, prescribe acupuncture and herbal formulas, insert and remove needles, and deliver any other needed treatments such as moxibustion or tui-na. The role of the clinical supervisor at this level is to verify students’ diagnoses; to help with development of treatment plans, and to verify students’ proposed acupuncture and herbal formulas.
At the advanced stage of Clinical Internship IV, students are expected to use their prior clinical experience to fully explore the complexities of each case. Clinical Internship IV students will be routinely required to provide complete patient care, independent of the supervisor. Supervisor input will focus on difficult or unusual cases. Clinical Internship IV is designed to train students to become independent practitioners.
Main Campus Clinical Training
A successful career as a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine begins with strong clinical training. In addition to offering a dynamic program and curriculum, ACAOM offers a unique all-inclusive clinical internship that allows students to observe and treat patients with many diverse medical conditions that include pain management, women’s health issues and internal medicine. The College clinic has established itself as one of the most respected clinics of its kind. To complete the internship program the interns shall treat over 350 patient visits and receive a great amount of clinical experience by treating patients with pain, high blood pressure, gynecological disorders, digestive disorders, neurological problems, stress, and many other conditions.
Off-Campus Clinical Training
With one of the top clinical programs in the country, ACAOM has a unique cooperation with many outreach facilities including The Methodist Hospital, University of Houston Clear Lake Health Center and HOPE Clinic.
Specialized Pain Management Training
One of the major conditions treated with acupuncture is related to pain management. Over 50% of the conditions treated at the College clinic are related to pain, and with baby boomers getting older, the numbers are expected to increase. As the first and only Oriental medicine college to have ever been accredited by the American Academy of Pain Management, ACAOM successfully integrates the pain management program into its clinical curriculum. The College is the first and only Oriental medicine institution to successfully integrate the pain management program into its clinical curriculum, and students receive an additional Certificate of Completion for successfully completing didactic courses in pain management in addition to making rounds throughout the clinical semester.
Optional China Training
ACAOM’s clinical practice in China provide students with an opportunity to experience the land and culture from which acupuncture originated while gaining clinical experience with premier acupuncturists of China.
To facilitate training, ACAOM students are approved to study abroad at the following hospitals:
- Dalian Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Affiliated hospital of Liaoning College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of TCM
Affiliated hospital of Zhejiang College of TCM
- First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of TCM
Affiliated hospital of Tianjin University of TCM
Students will have the option to observe/treat patients in various departments, including acupuncture, tui-na, internal medicine, orthopedics and traumatology, gynecology, gastrointestinal disorders, ear, nose, and throat, nephrology, neurology, respiratory disease, surgery, and pediatrics. Opportunities will be based on availability.