Chinese Medicine FAQs

1. What is the training like for a Chinese Medical Practitioner/Doctor?

  • Chinese Medical school is a rigorous 3-4 year graduate level program that requires a minimum of 4,050 total completed hours. Students must see at least 250-350 patients in their 2nd-4th years and have at least 650 hours of clinical supervision.

  • The curriculum includes both Western and Eastern medicine and requires students to pass two rounds of comprehensive exams in years 2 and 3 which consist of Biomedical Science, Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Law, and Safety, Herbs (for herbal students), and a series of practicals. Students are also required to demonstrate and pass all clean needle technique examinations and multiple board examinations to be licensed and to practice in the state of New York.  

  • Doctoral programs in Chinese Medicine require an additional 1-2 years. The total timeframe of schooling is about 7-10 years (includes a bachelor's degree).

2. How does acupuncture work? 

  • Let's first look at the heart, this is where the "Shen" (spirit) resides. The heart is referred to as the "emperor" in Chinese medicine for good reason! As the first to develop, the heart is the most magnetic and the most powerful organ in the human body! It contains a magnetic field that is 5,000 times stronger than that of the human brain. As the emperor, the heart provides the rhythmic synchronicity for every organ within the body. When we think of it, all organs respond to the heart's emotional state, blood pressure, respiration, rate, and more. The heart thereby provides an orchestrated energy field that synchronizes and directs the physiological effects of the entire body. These electromagnetic emissions may also translate into acupuncture point meridians (energy channels) in which sterile metal needles are inserted to manipulate and move their energy fields. This is why acupuncture is so effective in the promotion of blood circulation and reduction of stagnation throughout the body. Stimulated acupuncture points have also been shown in studies to restore cell receptivity to the heart's electromagnetic signals. This demonstrates how highly effective acupuncture can be at treating root causes at even the smallest cellular level.

  • When it comes to the nervous system, acupuncture can help to modulate the activity between our sympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous systems. When inserted, a metal needle stimulates the surrounding sensory nerves which then sends a signal to the brain. This signal then activates a response and releases a number of hormones such as norepinephrine, endorphins, oxytocin, and enkephalins into the body.  

3. What is the difference between Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

  • There are many schools, styles, and forms of Chinese medicine. The term "Chinese medicine" provides an umbrella term for the vast styles that have been and are currently being practiced today. Traditional Chinese medicine also known as "TCM" is the younger form of Chinese medicine and is most commonly practiced today. After WWII, the People's Republic of China was founded and a period of integration occurred, one being a "Western-Chinese integration", which established present-day TCM. TCM is integrated under Marxist ideology which removed much of the spiritual components of Classical Chinese medicine. It is based on 12 meridians (energy channels) and on pragmatist philosophy (more practical and science-based). It utilizes a more analytical approach and treats the body as an independent source. 

  • Classical Chinese Medicine "CCM", maybe the oldest form of Chinese medicine and was utilized in China thousands of years before the formation of the People's Republic of China. Originally, this medicine was passed down through generations and holds the naturalist philosophy that is based on the science and principles of Daoism and Confucianism. Instead of an analytical approach, CCM utilizes an alchemy (synthetic) approach to explore the complexities of nature alongside the human body. CCM practitioners view the body as a microscosm of the universe and thereby treat it according to universal law (seasons, planet conjunctions, and more). CCM utilizes over 62 meridians and similar to the goal of TCM, works to optimize one's homeostasis and overall health. CCM, however, also focuses on one's spiritual pains and works to alleviate those imbalances.