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The term "alternative medicine" is used to explain curative treatments that are not part of conventional medical training as acupuncture, massage therapy, or herbal medicine. Patients in Western countries are becoming more interested to trying alternative techniques, and have been asking for them. Many patients and health care providers work with alternative treatments mutually with conventional therapies.
Both alternative and complementary medicines use the equal kinds of remedies to treat a health condition. Conventional medicine is chosen in the treatment of trauma and emergencies while alternative medicine surpasses in the treatment of chronic disease, although homeopathy can also be very efficient as a first-aid.
Conventional medicine concentrates on the relief of symptoms and infrequently places emphasis on prevention or the treatment of the cause of a disorder. Conventional medicine is organ particular, hence ophthalmologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, neurologists, etc. Prerequisites for alternative medicine programs vary widely, but admissions requirements for undergraduate degree programs typically include a high school diploma or GED, a minimum required GPA, and the completion of prerequisite courses in subjects like English, psychology, algebra, speech communication, biology, and chemistry. Graduate degree programs in alternative medicine generally require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum required GPA, and the completion of required coursework in areas like biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics.
Many alternative health degree programs are comprehensive in that they cover a variety of alternative treatments. If you have a deep interest in holistic health and enjoy the natural healing arts, a career in alternative medicine may be right for you. Massage Therapy Schools: A Helping Hand for Wellbeing In the past, massage was viewed merely as luxurious pampering. In order to obtain the best possible education in alternative medicine, it is important to seek out a high quality school. Located in Kenmore, Washington, Bastyr University is the West Coast’s premier natural health school. The University of Arizona offers the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and provides students with the option for participating in the Fellowship. The National College of Natural Medicine, located in Portland, is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical college in North America.
The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences located in Tempe, Arizona offers up the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program. A 2010 telephone survey performed jointly by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the American Association of Retired Persons showed that over half of all people 50 years of age and older have used complementary and alternative medicine.
Because of acupuncture’s increasing popularity, the number of acupuncture schools has grown over the years.
Prospective students may begin their search with schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).
The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine as well as the American Association of Oriental Medicine established ACAOM in 1982 as a not-for-profit organization. ACAOM has more than 60 schools and colleges with accreditation or candidacy status. All of the schools we selected for our list have received accreditation from the ACAOM.
Topping our list is the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, which offers both a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program and a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program. The programs provide a solid foundation in acupuncture, therapeutic massage, Chinese herbal medicine, and Qi cultivation. Students in the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program receive thorough training and practical experience in all aspects of traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition, Qi cultivation, and therapeutic message. The program also covers Western medical approaches and other subjects. Students obtain hands-on experience helping patients in the college’s community clinics. The two-year Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program emphasizes proficiency and performance.
Admissions requirements: Applicants to the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program are required to complete at least three years of college at an accredited institution (a minimum of 135 quarter credits, or 90 semester credits). Applicants to the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program are required to document a master’s level of training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (or its equivalent). Pacific College of Oriental Medicine reports it received research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The curriculum integrates biomedicine with classical and modern application of Chinese medicine. The Master of Science in Acupuncture program trains practitioners of acupuncture to perform as primary independent healthcare providers, focusing on acupuncture and related modalities of Oriental medicine.
The Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine degree program provides students the knowledge and skills to function as a primary, independent healthcare-provider, and to become a part of the modern healthcare system. The school provides thorough training in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, grounded in biomedicine.
Students in both master’s degree programs complete a core curriculum based on medical theory and diagnostic and treatment skills of traditional Chinese medicine.
NESA also provides a combined master’s degree with Tufts University School of Medicine. Bastyr University provides undergraduate and graduate degrees with a multidisciplinary curriculum in science-based natural medicine.
The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), established in 1980, offers a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine program and a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program. The Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine program trains students to become an independent healthcare provider as an individual practitioner or as part of a medicine team. Students complete their internships in the ACTCM community clinics, local hospitals, and outpatient clinics, as well as with private practitioners. Applicants to the Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program are required to graduate from a candidate or an accredited program in Oriental Medicine or the foreign equivalent.


Southwest Acupuncture College, a classical school of Oriental medicine established in 1980, provides a four-year, full-time Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program. Students spend more than one-third of their hours of study in the college clinic treating people under the supervision of expert American and Asian practitioners. Admissions requirements: Applicants are required to have at least two years (60 semester credits, or 90 quarter credits) of general education (including three semester credits of biology) at the baccalaureate level from an accredited college.
The college reports most students have diverse degrees in liberal arts and many students have an advanced degree; however, no preference is provided to students with a major or concentration in any particular field. The American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), a post-baccalaureate institution, promotes the incorporation of Traditional Chinese Medicine into mainstream biomedicine. The college seeks to strengthen the role of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in providing complementary healthcare in the United States. The Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program includes courses in acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Students concentrate on didactic courses the first few years, then focus on practical training during their last year in the program. Due to its sister status with the Taipei Medical University and its China Hospital agreements, students in the Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program have the opportunity to study abroad. Graduates of the program work in cooperative practice with healthcare professionals, in private practice, research, and academic and clinical teaching.
The AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, established in 1993, offers both master’s and doctoral degrees in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The program includes classroom theory and more than 900 hours of hands-on clinical training. AOMA reports to be one of the very few acupuncture schools which allow students to begin clinical education in their first term. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the national board examinations provided by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. AOMA is also regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
As an adjunct to the clinical training part of the program, students are required every year to attend two Grand Rounds conducted by NYCTCM faculty members. Admissions requirements: Applicants are required to have 60 undergraduate credits from an accredited institution. The Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences (ACCHS) offers a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine program. But until recently, most Western hospitals didn't offer any alternative treatments and Western medical schools didn't prepare them.
As a result, many Western medical schools are becoming to teach these medicine techniques and theories. The difference is that alternative medicine is frequently used instead of conventional medical techniques. All alternative systems, on the other hand, strive to discover and treat the cause of a disorder and frown on covering up the symptoms.
Alternative medicine, without exception, considers each person as a exceptional individual and uses a holistic approach in treatment.
Alternative medicine schools prepare students for a wide range of careers in holistic healing. More patients are seeking alternative treatments to supplement or prevent the need for conventional medicine. For example, massage therapists will typically enrol in a certificate or associate’s degree programs, where in contrast, naturopathic physicians typically must earn a doctoral degree.
Associate’s and master’s degrees take about two years to complete, and bachelor’s and doctoral degrees take about four years to complete.
Some schools offer online degrees, enabling students to achieve their holistic health career goals online. There are not national licensing standards for holistic healers like there are for conventional doctors in the United States. Important qualities for holistic health practitioners to have are communication skills, empathy, physical stamina and strength, and decision-making skills.
There are several excellent choices all over the country, so it is important to research each one fully and determine which is best to suit your needs. Accredited by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, this school offers both four and five year courses that allow students to seek a Naturopathic Doctor Degree. This 1,000 hour program will help traditional medical students learn the benefits of alternative medicine and focuses on nutrition, lifestyle changes, mind-body medicine, herbal medicines and supplements. They offer several graduate programs in naturopathic and Chinese medicine with courses in acupuncture, midwifery, integrative medicine, oriental medicine and naturopathic medicine. This program is a 4-year program that teaches students to integrate natural medicine into traditional medicinal programs.
However, because courses are different and each school offers a different type of program, it is important to look closely at the benefits each school offers before choosing one.
Originating in China, acupuncture has a long history of helping people balance the body, improve health, and reduce pain. With numerous institutions offering acupuncture programs, it’s not easy selecting a school.
The program covers the most advanced levels of theory and practice in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The program includes a concentration in Japanese acupuncture styles, including Shakuju Therapy. Students in the Pain Management track have an opportunity to obtain dual master’s degrees from NESA and Tufts University School of Medicine.


Clinical internships are provided by biomedical partner facilities in the greater Boston areas and in NESA’s clinic. Students are prepared to work in collaboration with practitioners of conventional Western medicine. Students perform the majority of their clinical work in the university’s teaching clinic, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health.
Students also have an optional internship in China and internship opportunities in specialized clinics throughout San Francisco. The capstone projects help students improve their knowledge and skills in these specialty areas. Students have the opportunity to complete some of their externship at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The college reports to have a high passage rate on all national and state exams and a high level of graduate satisfaction and success. The campuses include clinical facilities with numerous treatment rooms, herbal pharmacies, and consultation areas. Students in the program learn about the uses of Oriental and Western medical models of the human body and clinical application of acupuncture and Chines herbal medicine. Students have the opportunity to learn about specialized subjects, such as internal medicine, gynecology, dermatology, and pediatrics. Students gain experience working with patients at the college’s acupuncture clinic in Houston.
After students complete core classes, clinical observation, and an exam, they become interns and treat patients under the direct supervision of acupuncturists. AOMA students perform exceptionally well on the national board exams, consistently outperforming the national pass rates. During the sessions, faculty members review difficult or interesting cases and demonstrate treatment techniques. Some hospitals and doctors are complementing their regular medical care with alternative techniques.
Some career paths that are open to alternative medicine degree holders include acupuncturist, massage therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, chiropractor, naturopathic physician, and doctor of oriental medicine. Degrees in alternative medicine are typically available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. Some holistic healers may also elect to combine study in both traditional and alternative medicine in order to increase their career prospects, as well as provide well-rounded support to their patients.
However, most states require alternative medicine practitioners to be certified, licensed, or registered to practice. Begin your journey to helping others achieve health and wellness by enrolling in an alternative medicine school today. Some of the courses available include acupuncture, herbal science, nutrition, midwifery and permaculture. They offer a Physiology degree with coursework in herbal medicine, nutrition, mind-body medicine and medical ethics. Medical students have applied the Fellowship’s training to many traditional practices from cardiology and oncology to obstetrics and rheumatology. With the School of Naturopathic Medicine and the School of Classic Chinese Medicine, this is a wonderful opportunity for students who want to integrate natural healing programs in with traditional medicine. Coursework includes naturopathic modalities, nutrition, Oriental medicine, homeopathy, mind-body medicine and much more.
By the time they matriculate, candidates are required to have completed such college-level courses as general biology, chemistry, and psychology. The program includes courses such as Acupuncture Points, Needle Techniques, Auricular Acupuncture, Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease, and Tui Na Hand and Structural Techniques. Students must complete an additional 15 units of general education before Term 5 of the master’s degree program. The program also provides additional skills and practical knowledge in other specific areas commonly found in practice. The program also includes a subspecialty in traditional and modern Japanese acupuncture and a broad spectrum of relevant Western sciences. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exam. Students are also required to complete at least 10 units of the science course prerequisites.
Explore alternative medicine programs now if you would like to build a career as a natural healer. For example, in 2012, massage therapists earned a median annual wage of $35,970 per year, while chiropractors earned $66,160. In 2010, Georgetown’s medical program was featured in US News & World Report, ranked as the 79th top medical program. Individuals can learn more about the programs and coursework offered by visiting Bastyr.edu.
This is a perfect choice for students who are already studying traditional medicine and want to incorporate alternative medicine.



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