TCM courses are provided at several Aussie universities. A bachelor degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Accupuncture prepares grads for work in the alternative medicine health care industry and enables you to practice as an Australian certified Acupuncturist, Herbalist or Chinese Medicine Naturopath. TCM is one of many manifestations of Taoist philosophy, a unique Chinese way of thinking that encompasses practical problem solving philosophy, natural science, art and metaphysics. Unlike modern medicine, TCM is holistic in its approach. Herbs and techniques used have been tested over 2,000 years at the very least. Compare this to modern drugs, the testing time is a mere 10 years ( US FDA regulations) before a new drug Eg Viagra or Prozac is released to the public. As recent as 1830’s, blood letting, a barbaric and largely ineffective treatment was still widely practised in Europe. An example of how to cure chronic health issues using TCM principles is found here.
Additional accreditation from ANTA or TCMA or AACMA etc may be necessary to worked as a licensed TCM practitioner in Australia. Unlike western medicine, Chinese medicine addresses health from a prevention and wellness strategy perspective. Even when the disease has advanced beyond prevention to symptom phase, TCM emphasizes food as the main “medicine ” to deal directly with the causes of diseases and maladies. Modern medicine (western) is focussed on treating symptoms instead of causes, which may explain why modern medicine is often not very successful in dealing with chronic illnesses. In the old days in China, rich families would pay a doctor to keep the family healthy and STOP paying the doctor should anyone fall ill. Preventative measures include routine check ups, recommendations to take herbs, acupuncture to clear blocked, stagnant Qi (energy) flow along the meridians, changes to diet and Qigong energetics practice. TCM may also be applied to treat symptoms of disease in similar manner. Chinese Medicine’s pulse diagnosis is unique in that there are some 22 qualities to a pulse, and each quality pertains to specific condition of a specific organ.
As much of the original text is written in Chinese, it is useful to have sufficient command of written / spoken Mandarin. Basic Mandarin is also taught as part of many TCM courses as co-requisite courses. Prospective students are advised that career opportunities in TCM in roles such as Herbalist, Acupuncturist or TCM doctor are not abundant at the present moment. This may change in the future, but at the present moment, it is relatively difficult for grads to find employment solely as a TCM doctor in the Australia. Currently, many practitioners combine their TCM training and practice with massage work, physiotherapy or Chiropractic, and even conventional medicine.
The 4 main branches of TCM are : Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, Tuina massage & Qigong energy practice.
Typical admission requirements for Acupuncture, TCM :
- Biology and/or Chemistry, basic Mandarin proficiency desirable
New South Wales : NSW
- Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Western Sydney University : WSU
- Traditional Chinese medicine degree course at University of Technology, Sydney
- Master of Herbal Medicine degree courses at University of Sydney — discontinued
Victoria : VIC
- Bachelor of Applied Science, Chinese Medicine : TCM and Human Biology course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology : RMIT