Teaching Chinese Medicine in America

In the mid-1950′s, the first modern universities of TCM were founded in China. The mission of these schools was to take the theory and clinical practices of Chinese medicine, apply a scientific approach, and develop a modern educational system. This educational model became the Chinese standard for TCM education. The original curriculum in the Midwest College’s programs closely followed those standards. Over the last ten years, the college has refined the content and sequence of curricular components to broaden the depth of teaching in all eight branches of classical Chinese medicine.

The Core Teaching Sections Are:

• Yin Yang • The Five Phases • The Five Zang Organs • The Six Fu Organs • The Extraordinary Fu Organs • Qi • Blood • Body Fluid • The Relationship between Qi, Blood, and Body Fluid • Basic Concept of the Meridians • Twelve Regular Meridians • Eight Extra Meridians • Classification and Nomenclature of Acupoints • Methods of Locating Points • Therapeutic Properties of the Points of the Twelve Meridians and Eight Extra Meridians • Diagnostic Methods • Looking • Listening • Smelling • Inquiry • Palpation • Principles of Treatment Strategy • Therapeutic Methods • Basic Principles for Prescription and Selection of Points • The Basic Principles for Selection and Prescription of Herbs and Formulas • Diseases categorized by the Body Systems • Traumatology

Zang fu organ and meridian theory, the basis of Chinese medicine, are a clinical model of the physiological function and pathological changes that affect health and disease in the human body. The essential functions of the meridian system are to transport Qi and blood and to resist the invasion of exogenous pathogenic factors.

This theory has been the guiding principle for clinical practice in TCM in both ancient and modern times. By combining meridian theory with the principles of the zang fu organs, the pathology of disease and corresponding therapeutic principles can be explained in great detail. In this manner, a theoretical basis for the principle of clinical treatment in accordance with the differentiation of signs and symptoms was established.

The Midwest College follows a modern educational model in both classroom and clinic; creating learning experiences that build critical thinking skills based upon classic TCM theory. Educational objectives have been developed, textbooks have been chosen, and workbooks created to best teach the classic academic theory and contemporary clinical practice of Oriental Medicine to today’s student in America.

Our Vision of Chinese Medicine

The practice of traditional Chinese medicine has been described as having three pillars; the institution/clinic, the TCM practitioner and home remedies or self-care. At the Midwest College there is attention to health promoting techniques that have been neglected in modern Chinese medicine. With a return to older traditions, patients are expected to take more responsibility for their own well-being as they are guided toward a healthier lifestyle.

In Classic Chinese medicine, a preventive approach to care leads to the highest level of health a person can attain. The goal is to have the patient become so internally strong and adaptive to stress that they are capable of preventing many health problems before they occur, or resolving them at the earliest onset. Resilience is a significant aspect of vibrant health that can be promoted through the use of traditional Chinese medicine, modern nutraceutical supplements, and lifestyle counseling.

Programs at the Midwest College return to a focus on the “root,” so that future diseases can be prevented and current problems do not become critical. This means a classical style practice where the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine practitioner is a lifestyle counselor affecting the spirit and emotions to improve a patient’s sense of well-being; is an “ally” in the patient’s fight against disease and finally a “guide” helping the patient to make healthy choices to prevent complications and future problems.

Student interns learn to view physical symptoms and signs as relatively superficial manifestations indicating the underlying energetic root. The sages of Chinese philosophy pointed out that human life must ultimately follow the flow of the Tao, our journey from birth to death. Students at the Midwest College provide comprehensive TCM care across the stages of life. They treat the presenting complaint while adjusting the underlying energetic flow to build health and improve the quality of life.

This course is a practical study of the internal and external causes of disease within the Eastern medical model. A clear understanding of 'TCM pathologies' is needed in order to apply the sophisticated system of Oriental Medicine based on sign and symptom patterns.
This course consists of procedures of physical and neurological examination; providing an understanding of the methods used in making physical diagnosis.
Courses begin with a review of the normal physiological  processes and then discuss how these are altered by disease.  Students will be able to recognize pathological indicators and biochemical pathways to better correlate the basic science of pathology with physical diagnosis and disorders related to nutrition.
This course is a review of the basic sciences focusing on chemistry, microbiology and human biology. Includes an overview of the basic structures of organic molecules sufficient to understand the structure of chemical compounds studied in human chemistry. This course prepares students for courses in physiology, pathology and other western clinical sciences.
This directed learning paper develops additional competencies in basic sciences. Five pathological disorders from different systems are assigned.
This class concentrates on the processes involved with taking in and utilizing food substances by which growth, repair and maintenance of activities in the body as a whole or in any of its parts are accomplished. This includes ingestion, digestion, absorption and metabolism, as well as, basic nutritional needs and the use of vitamins, minerals and supplements.
This class includes topics in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Mechanisms of the nervous system are covered as related to the scientific basis of Acupuncture and its application to the treatment of disease. Students in this class gain the ability to explain the mechanisms of Acupuncture in modern medical terms. Communication skills between Acupuncturists and Medical professionals are stressed.
Students continue to practice needle insertion with combinations of points that would be used in treatment.  There is emphasis on safety with difficult points and more complex point prescriptions.
Students review the anatomical structures through which needles pass at progressive depths of the body.  This includes proper insertion, angle, depth, duration and withdrawl of needles.
At the beginning of the second year, students begin developing needle insertion skills. Students receive intensive instruction in techniques of clean needle insertion as approved by current national standards.
This course helps students develop their skills in organization and analysis of presenting symptoms.  The clinic review class includes evaluation of the physical and psychological components of an illness and specific treatment strategies.
This class covers the basis of treatment using the eight principle and secondary vessel pathology. Students learn to formulate a treatment using the information gathered from pulse and tongue diagnosis. Practical use of classical point categories such as antique points, influential points and windows of the sky points in the treatment of eight principle disease patterns will be covered.
It is in this class that the prior three quarter of TCM theory begin to flower and faculty can see the "light bulb go on", as students get a sense of how well the TCM theory fits together.  At this point, students are beginning their next phase of clinic and now have responsibility of using this information in a clinical setting.
A continuation of Anatomy 1, this course is an in-depth study of visceral structure and physiologic function of the human body.
This course is an in-depth study of the somatic structure of the human body: skeletal, muscular, ligamentous, and an introduction to the peripheral nerves. There is attention given to the palpatory anatomy that will be needed for Point Location and Needle Technique classes.
In this course, students are oriented to the procedures and protocol needed to successfully complete internship. Physical assessment skills needed in the practice of Oriental Medicine are covered including: vital signs, temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. Standards of history taking, SOAP noting and unique documentation found in TCM clinical records are part of this course.
This course includes discussion that brings up pertinent issues in healthcare practice and examines the approach taken by a counselor. It focuses on ethical decision-making and the patient practitioner relationship.
The directed learning paper traces the development of Chinese medicine including: the classics, historical figures and periods, and a discussion of important theoretical developments. It gives students a respect for the ancient traditions from which the modern, clinical practice of TCM developed.
The moral and ethical principles that are the core of the teachings of Confucius and Lao Tzu are taught in a manner that can be applied in present day. The influence of these schools on the development of Chinese medicine is stressed in this course.
This course continues massage techniques to regions of the body for local and systemic problem. Good Tui Na technique combined with accessory techniques is an important adjunct to an acupuncture practice.
Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage that includes different hand techniques applied to specific areas of the body. Students will gain proficiency in manipulation skill and sensitivity to energy balancing as they practice techniques in class and apply them in clinic.
Students will attend lectures, demonstrate and practice in the traditional and modern accessory techniques of Oriental Medicine: moxibustion, magnets, guasha, cupping and auricular techniques.
In this course, students will use charts, models and their fellow students as subjects to locate and mark the most important acupuncture points. Students will spend six quarters developing the sensitivity needed to achieve the Qi sensation required for effective treatment.
In this course, students will use charts, models and their fellow students as subjects to locate and mark the most important acupuncture points. Students will spend six quarters developing the sensitivity needed to achieve the Qi sensation required for effective treatment.
This course further studies the eight principle theory as it applies to the pathology of the five phases, the Zang Fu organs and the triple burner.
The rigorous clinic –based educational experience is designed to take classroom learning and first year theory so have students see the clinical application of concepts during their internship activities and experiences.
This is the first class in Chinese medical theory and introduces students to the language and refinement found in Midwest’s academic program. This class will also establish the foundation from which student’s understandings will grow.