Cana­dian Col­lege of Acupunc­ture & Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine

Pass­ing on the knowl­edge and con­tin­u­ing a 5000-year his­tory

The Coast - Career Minded - - NEWS -

It was al­ways a dream for Dr. Diana Li and Dr. Franklyn Chen to take their med­i­cal prac­tise to a higher level by open­ing a col­lege. Af­ter com­plet­ing their PhDs in Acupunc­ture and Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine and work­ing in the field for over 30 years, they knew it was time.

“When you’re prac­tic­ing, you can only treat so many pa­tients. If you have a col­lege, you can train many stu­dents to be qual­i­fied acupunc­ture prac­ti­tion­ers by pass­ing on your knowl­edge to them, so more peo­ple can be helped,” says Dr. Li. She and Dr. Chen opened the Cana­dian Col­lege of Acupunc­ture & Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine (CCATCM) eight years ago, and they are notic­ing a rise in the us­age of acupunc­ture and other TCM prac­tices.

In the last two years they’ve had an in­flux of pa­tients come in ask­ing for na­ture pro­ce­dures like acupunc­ture, Tu­ina, acu­pres­sure mas­sage and fire cup­ping, and cur­rently the in­dus­try in Nova Sco­tia only has about 100 acupunc­tur­ists. There aren’t enough prac­ti­tion­ers for pub­lic de­mand, so CCATCM grad­u­ates help fill that need. Com­ple­men­tary health providers — such as phys­io­ther­a­pists, chi­ro­prac­tors and mas­sage ther­a­pists — are adding acupunc­tur­ists to their teams.

A com­mon mis­con­cep­tion is that acupunc­ture is strictly used for pain, but con­sid­er­ing its 5,000-year his­tory, Dr. Li begs to dif­fer. “We aren’t just treat­ing pain like headaches, whiplash and sci­at­ica. We treat anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, al­ler­gies, strengthen weak im­mune sys­tems, help with chronic is­sues and spe­cial­ize in fe­male con­di­tions. We have a nat­u­ral fer­til­ity pro­gram and have 432 ba­bies as a re­sult from the treat­ments,” she says. Since the new year the prac­tise has had 10 new fer­til­ity pa­tients be­cause of its ef­fec­tive­ness.

Dr. Li is a spokesper­son on be­half of the Cana­dian Acupunc­ture Fed­er­a­tion and is proud of the re­ward­ing life­long ca­reer that she has led. “If I could turn my life back, I would do the same thing over again. We’re help­ing thou­sands of pa­tients, and our pro­gram is one of the best. Our stu­dents not only are able to help ex­ter­nal pa­tients but also their fam­ily, friends and chil­dren. They can give the gift of a healthy life to their fam­i­lies,” she says.

The acupunc­ture pro­gram at CCATCM is a three-year di­ploma, with the first and sec­ond years be­ing in class­room, and the third com­plet­ing 550 hours of hands-on clin­i­cal prac­tice which gives stu­dents in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with hun­dreds of clients. The progam can be com­pleted as a two-year in­ten­sive op­tion with in­takes in Jan­uary, May and Septem­ber. Stu­dents usu­ally have a 2.5day study week, so can go to school while main­tain­ing a part-time job and their per­sonal lives. CCATCM is the only school for acupunc­ture ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Labour and Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, and stu­dents in the full-time pro­gram can ap­ply for stu­dent loans.

The pro­gram sees a va­ri­ety of stu­dents en­ter, from 18-year-olds start­ing their first ca­reer, all the way to peo­ple look­ing for a ful­fill­ing new role at age 59. Dr. Li has seen nat­u­ral medicine pro­fes­sion­als choose the acupunc­ture di­ploma to add on to ex­ist­ing cre­den­tials, and has even trained doc­tors and nurses who nor­mally spe­cial­ize in Western medicine.

Through the lens of tra­di­tional heal­ing, stu­dents also learn TCM di­ag­no­sis, whole health and herbs, anatomy and phys­i­ol­ogy and en­joy classes in self heal­ing like Tai Chi, QiGong and Yoga. “Stu­dents learn a ca­reer they can prac­tice their whole lives,” says Dr. Li, “that in­volves help­ing peo­ple in a more nat­u­ral way.”

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