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(6 pages total)

Page 2 - Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium

The intent of acupuncture is to stimulate the body, release energy blocks, and reestablish normal equilibrium, thereby facilitating the body's natural ability to heal itself. In the last 40 years, Chinese and Western studies have suggested that the insertion of needles at acupuncture points helps release some chemical neurotransmitters in the body, including endorphins.

Endorphins are the body's own, extremely powerful, natural pain killers which relieve pain and bring about a sense of well-being. Clinical studies of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of illnesses have also led to acupuncture's acceptance beyond pain control to immune enhancement and increased energy and well being. A study from the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center using a scanning technique called SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography), found that acupuncture increases blood flow to the thalamus of the brain, an area that relays pain and other sensory messages.

Oriental medicine's effects are gentle and free of the side-effects of many drugs used for the same conditions. As a form of primary healthcare, Oriental medicine addresses a broad range of conditions that Western medicine finds difficult to treat such as stress, depression, addiction, chronic pain, allergies, migraines and low back pain. In addition to treating primary health complaints, the benefits of Oriental medicine include pain relief, immune enhancement and increased energy and well-being.

Another Way To Look At "Medical School"

Currently, over 4,000 students are enrolled in acupuncture and Oriental medical colleges in the United States, and the majority of U.S. medical schools now offer courses on complementary medicine. According to the American Association of Oriental Medicine, an estimated 12,000 nationally certified acupuncturists were practicing in the United States in 1998.

In most states, acupuncturists are considered independent or primary care providers. This responsibility requires extensive training. With over forty acupuncture colleges being accredited or in candidacy status in the United States, choosing where to pursue a career in Oriental medicine is becoming more of a challenge. Pacific College, one of the nation's largest and most prominent schools of Oriental medicine, has established a curriculum of over 3,000 hours of training, offering an accredited Master of Science in Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine degree. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, anatomy, Oriental body therapy, biosciences, Qigong and Tai Chi (Taiji) form a curriculum allowing students to learn to view health and disease from both Western and traditional Asian holistic perspectives.

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