Why study a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture)?
It seems that as a society we are currently obsessed with ‘wellness.’ But what does that even mean? Well if you Google it, you will find that the definition of wellness is “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” So while a majority of the population is actively pursuing a state of wellness, you could be actively pursuing a career that caters to this demand by enrolling in a course such as a Bachelor of Health Science offered by Endeavour, College of Natural Health. The Bachelor of Health Science draws from the skills and knowledge of Chinese Medical practitioners that have been passed down from generation to generation. The five keystones of the course include acupuncture, Chinese exercise therapy (Qi Gong and Tai Chi), Chinese herbs, Chinese dietary therapy and massage (Tui Na). These five areas of natural remedies have been combined to offer individuals optimal health or dare we say… wellness.
The ancient tradition of acupuncture, which involves placing a needle along an individual’s energy lines, has been practiced for thousands of years. Evidence, such as sharpened stones and bones found in China, suggest people were practicing acupuncture as early as 6000BC. These days acupuncturists use sterile, single-use needles to balance a person’s energy which involves the balancing of the Yin and Yang inside the body. Acupuncture can also relieve pain and help treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and depression. While Western medical practitioners still consider acupuncture a controversial technique there have been various studies conducted revealing the merits of the practice. Conditions such as depression can lead to other more serious medical conditions, such as stroke. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders has revealed that those who chose to treat their depression with acupuncture effectively reduced their risk of developing a stroke. Acupuncture may be used in isolation, however, is more effective when used in combination with other natural remedies such as Qi Gong.
Like acupuncture, Qi Gong and Tai Chi also focuses on the body’s energy lines, also known are meridians. These two forms of exercise incorporate thousands of body poses and movements, to be executed at a slow pace to allow for meditation and a focus on deep breathing. Qi Gong and Tai Chi can also be used as a foundation for martial arts training. Overall, these exercises were created as a means to achieving physical, emotional and spiritual health, through the generation of Chi, or vital energy, necessary for an individual to operate at their full potential. In more severe medical cases where exercise is not enough to heal a patient, Chinese herbs may be used.
Chinese herbal therapy involves the prescription of individual herbs or a concoction of herbs based on a patient’s diagnosis. Chinese medicinal herbs may be administered as pastes, powders, lotions or tablets and can be either sweet, bitter, salty, sour or pungent. Each herb has a specific function and will work to balance out the Yin or Yang of an individual. Diet changes may also need to be made to achieve a harmonious balance of Yin and Yang and often include a reduction in alcohol or spicy foods. While taking herbs may sound harmless, some of the prescribed herbs are quite potent and are as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs, with some herbs being toxic in high doses. This is why it is essential for Chinese Medical practitioners to be trained appropriately. As a further safeguard, practitioners must be accredited by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia before using any formal medical titles. Conditions that can be treated via Chinese herbal therapy include cold and flu, decreased energy levels, menopause, troubled sleep, poor digestion, irregular breathing, and infertility. If Chinese herbs do not lead to satisfying results, a patient’s entire diet may need analyzing.
Chinese dietary therapy involves assessing an individual’s diet for any foods that may be harming the balance of energy. Food can be categorized as either hot or cold and affect the body accordingly. Certain foods possess medicinal or energetic characteristics. However, some foods can possess detrimental characteristics. To ensure a right balance of beneficial foods, a diet designed specifically for an individual may be prescribed along with recipes and cooking methods to help bring the Yin and Yang back into balance. Chinese dietary therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as massage, to improve overall health.
Chinese massage, known as Tui Na, translating to ‘pinch and pull,’ is a form of Chinese remedial massage that is used to help treat conditions such as circulatory disorders, stress, insomnia, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues as well as acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. A Tui Na practitioner will ask to look at a patient’s tongue to give a full diagnosis. The massage is conducted on a fully clothed patient and is one of the least invasive forms of medication- the only tool used in Tui Na is the practitioner’s hands. Pressure may be applied gently or much more firmly depending on a patient’s diagnosis. Although not designed for relaxation purposes, Tui Na can be a relaxing experience, with results noticeable after just one session, particularly when used to rub out tight muscles.
These five areas of health can all be used together to create authentic ‘wellness’ for an individual. As the wellness trend continues to grow, the demand for such services is only going to increase. By studying the Bachelor of Health (Acupuncture) at Endeavour, you can harness the knowledge and learn the skills necessary to become an accredited Chinese Medical practitioner and be the person others look to in their pursuit of wellness. There has never been a better time to forge a career in complementary health particularly as an acupuncturist as the practice has been becoming more mainstream. There are different career paths for acupuncturists including positions in the media. See the accompanying infographic for four popular career choices for acupuncturists.