What is the difference between an acupuncture program and an Oriental medicine program? Is one preferable over the other?
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs share similar curricula, with one important difference: Oriental medicine programs include the study of Chinese herbal medicine while acupuncture programs do not. This means that acupuncture programs tend to be shorter in terms of credits and hours than Oriental medicine programs, since herbal medicine educational requirements are fairly substantial.Since some state acupuncture licensing boards require training in Chinese herbal medicine, students who are planning to apply for licensure in these states are advised to enroll in an Oriental medicine program. Apart from this important pragmatic consideration, it is not possible to say whether one type of program is preferable to the other. Chinese herbal medicine is an effective and widely practiced Oriental medicine modality; however, some practitioners favor a practice based primarily or entirely on acupuncture. Finally, it should be noted that the educational standards that ACAOM has developed for doctoral level training do require substantial advanced training in Chinese herbal medicine.