I'm an acupuncturist (OMD) in Taipei


Today I attended a workshop for “Tutoring TCM Physician” in Taichung.「中醫醫療機構負責醫師訓練計畫」指導醫師培訓營
A respectable speaker mentioned that many universities in U.S. have founded their own [color=#0000FF]
integrative medicine centers
Although this is not news for me, somehow I felt very encouraging, dreaming of one day I might be able to practice TCM in one of them.
I hope TCM could be studied and practiced properly so as to benefit more and more people around the world.

Here’s a report from The Bravewell Collaborative


The [color=#0000FF]
2015 TCM licensing exam in Taiwan
will be held in [color=#0000FF]
July 25th -27th
[/color] by the Ministry of Examination.

I will take a 12 days leave from July 16th to 27th[/color]
to do a secret mission. We’ll be locked in a building and be fed with lots of delicious food, four meals a day. Can you imagine a life without internet, modern technology, family and friends for 12 days? This will be an unforgettable experience for me.

I recalled five years ago when I just graduated to take this licensing exam, it took three consecutive days in a hot humid summer (2010.07.30-2010.08.01). We were seated in a classroom of Wu-chuan junior high school near my alma mater, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan without air conditioning. There are six subjects for us, plus Chinese Composition (The link below the subject title are the exact questions for us in 2010, you could take a look if you can read Chinese characters)

Day 1
Fundamental Subject 1: Foundations of TCM, TCM history, Nei-jing and Nan-jing
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107100.pdf

Fundamental Subject 2: Herbal medicine and Formula
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107200.pdf

Clinical Subject 1: Shanghan Lun, Jin Gui Yao Lue, Febrile diseases, TCM Diagnosis
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107300.pdf

Day 2
Clinical Subject 2: TCM internal medicine, TCM gynecology, TCM pediatrics
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107400.pdf

Clinical Subject 3: Surgical Chinese Medicine, TCM traumatology, TCM Otolaryngology, TCM Ophthalmology
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107500.pdf

Clinical Subject 4: Acupuncture
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107600.pdf

Day 3
Chinese (including 60 % Composition)
wwwc.moex.gov.tw/ExamQuesFiles/Q … 107700.pdf

To compare with
[color=#0000FF]NCCAOM exam[/color]
I took four years ago in Madison, WI. The experience was totally different. I went online to choose the day and the place I wanted to take the tests at Pearson Vue center.

The exams were adaptive, which means the computer will choose the next question according to how you answer the previous one. According to the introduction on the internet, computer adaptive tests not only improve exam score reliability, but also further reduces the potential for cheating (memorizing test questions) by minimizing test question exposure since every examinee receives a unique set of examination questions based on the test specification requirements and the tester’s response to each new test item on the exam.

There are four subjects for the candidate of Diplomate of Oriental Medicine:

  1. Biomedicine Exam
  2. Acupuncture with Point Location
  3. Chinese Herbology Exam
  4. Foundations of Oriental Medicine
    Plus Clean Needle Technique test (I drove to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine - Chicago to take this test.)

It was really an unforgettable exam experience. I get to choose the date of each exam. How wonderful is that! It might be the first adaptive exam I’ve ever taken. I felt really excited to answer questions in front of computer, which helped me to get rid of some anxiety. What’s more, you know whether you passed or not right after you answer the last question. This is really an amazing experience for me.

To conclude, I hope the world won’t change too much during the 12 days when I was out of reach. Since there will be lots of free delicious food provided by the minister of examination, I hope I won’t gain too much weight. :slight_smile:


I read an article about placebo effects in the latest NEJM today.
You might learn something new from it. Share with you.

nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NE … ?query=TOC


Two medical students who came from Grenoble, France, are doing their clerkship in our department for this August. It’s very interesting for us to exchange the information about our medical systems in our own countries. These medical students hardly learned anything about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Nevertheless, they choose to come to Chinese Medicine Department in TSGH to see how we practice TCM. It is a good chance to introduce TCM to them, I feel very excited.

I recalled 6 years ago, when I was doing my internship in the Chinese medicine department in TSGH, a medical student came from Austria. I typed with my laptop to translate in English instantly about what the doctor and patients were talking about to make her realize how a TCM doctor take patient’s history. I still feel very excited of doing so.

Besides, thanks to Forumosa.com, I met in person with a California acupuncturist last week. It’s very nice of him to share his experience of learning and practicing TCM with me and I also benefit a lot from the information about the current situation of acupuncture in U.S. I’m truly grateful for his reaching out and I welcome anyone who is interested in TCM (or integrated medicine) or having any question about TCM to meet in person.


Hi Joey,

It’s always interesting reading your posts and thanks for keeping us updated. Now I’ve got a question for you. For about three weeks I’ve been experiencing occasional pain in my left thigh (backside and “behind”). I’d say it’s light to moderate pain but it gets very unpleasant at times, for example when I’m coughing the pain gets more intense. After looking up my symptoms on the internet, I believe (as a layman) it’s probably got to do with an inflamed or squeezed sciatica nerve. I’m getting a bit worried now that this will become a permanent condition if I leave it untreated. Do you think this is something where TCM, in particular acupuncture, can be effective? I’m still undecided if I should go to a regular hospital or a TCM clinic. If you have any related experience, I’d be glad to hear about it. Thanks a lot!


Hi GC Rider,

Thanks for your question. According to your description, there might be some slightly nerve compression (cause? to be determined), since cough could induce your discomfort. Some patients with sciatica came to us for help, some of them are in severe condition but they refuse surgery, some of their symptom are mild. We would take the history, do some physical examination and see if they’ve done any image study, which I would recommend because the image will be helpful to our diagnoses. For treatment, it depends on the diagnosis. And since the effect of acupuncture is shorter, most patients receive both herbal medicine (BID or TID) and acupuncture (once or twice a week). I would also teach some patients to do some simple but useful Tao-yin (導引) to adjust their problem and balance their body imbalance. You could give TCM a try. :slight_smile:


Hi Joey,

Thanks a lot for your professional medical opinion! I really appreciate it. I think it makes a lot of sense to get an image (such as MRI, I suppose) first, as you suggested. Now I have some good news to share. Almost by chance I was able to get rid of the pain. Yesterday I was trying out the vibration plate at the local gym to see what effect this would have on my leg pain. I just stood on it for a couple of minutes. The vibration shook up my bones pretty thoroughly, I guess, and maybe that caused the nerve to be released so it is not compressed anymore. Because after that I was almost instantly relieved from pain. I still feel a little sore when stretching (trying to touch feet with hands while standing), but the pain in the thigh and buttocks that had bothered me for weeks is gone. :slight_smile:

So that means I don’t have a chance to visit your clinic this time, which I was already looking forward to. But I’ll definitely try TCM another day, if needed. Then you can also show me the exercises that you mentioned. Thanks again for answering. :slight_smile:


Hi GC Rider,

I’m glad that your symptom had gone quickly. Since it could simply be released by some vibration effect, the compression of the nerve might be relatively mild. However, you should be careful of your daily activities so as not to trigger the pain again. Maintain a good working posture, exercise regularly, properly stretch and train your muscle of lower back and lower limbs are suggested. If you have any question, fell free to ask me.

Here’s something I quickly googled on the internet about acupuncture treatment. These are not formal medical research publications. However, they give a brief introduction of how acupuncture might be helpful in sciatica.

Acupuncture is a treatment that uses fine needles inserted at specific locations on the skin called acupuncture points. The points are located along meridians, or channels. The channels are thought to conduct qi, which is said to be the energy or vital force of the body. The theory behind using acupuncture is that pain is thought to result from imbalances or blockages of the flow of qi. Acupuncture is supposed to remove those blockages to restore the balance.

One theory is that stimulating these points produces an effect by stimulating the central nervous system. This, in turn, would trigger the release of chemicals that either alter the experience of pain or produce other changes that promote a sense of well-being.

Acupuncture has been approved by the U.S. FDA as a treatment for back pain, and the National Institutes of Health has recognized acupuncture as effective in relieving back pain, including sciatica.

Acupuncture can help relieve back pain and sciatica by:
stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Zhao 2008).
reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.
causing a transient change in sciatic nerve blood flow, including circulation to the cauda equine and nerve root. This response is eliminated or attenuated by administration of atropine, indicating that it occurs mainly via cholinergic nerves (Inoue 2008).
influencing the neurotrophic factor signalling system, which is important in neuropathic pain (Dong 2006).
increasing levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, which can help reduce pain and speed nerve repair (Wang 2005).
improving the conductive parameters of the sciatic nerve (Zhang 2005).
promoting regeneration of the sciatic nerve (La 2005)


Here’s an article I read about TCM today. The author Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Labels Like ‘Alternative Medicine’ Don’t Matter. The Science Does.
nytimes.com/2015/08/11/upsho … abg=1&_r=2

I share this because there are many medical journal links in it. You could take a look one by one when you have some time.
We don’t know everything about human body. Even after 10+ years learning both TCM and modern medicine and practice TCM, I still find it very challenging when it comes to treating patients with all kinds of diseases. It’s a good thing that more and more foreigners are interested in TCM. As long as people keep exploring in it, it will make progress and benefit more and more people. :slight_smile:


Where do you want to practice TCM? If you want to practice in Taiwan, you need to go to School of Chinese medicine. It will take 7-8 years to graduate, including 2-3 years internship. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you could go to School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine. It takes only 5 years, including 2 years internship to graduate. After graduate, you get to take the licensing exam. Then you could practice in Taiwan.

The clinic link you provided is in Canada. I’m not so familiar with their policy. You could contact the acupuncturist or google for licensing administration in Canada. However, I know a little about the academic requirements in U.S. You could browse this site: nccaom.org/

Below is something I found on the internet.

Specific academic requirements and programs may vary from one acupuncture/Oriental medicine (AOM) college to another, but in general, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree (or the equivalent, with 60 semester units from an accredited college or university) is required for admission into an AOM program.

The length of training at most accredited AOM schools is three years for acupuncture and four years for the combination of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The Oriental medicine program includes the study of Chinese herbology.

Over 50 colleges nationwide offer graduate training in AOM at the master’s degree level, which is the entry-level degree for the profession. Specialized clinical training at the doctoral level is also available. There are approximately 8,500 students in U.S. AOM schools and about 2,000 graduates annually. The student bodies are very diverse with a variety of ethnic backgrounds and a high number of women.

Graduates from accredited AOM schools, or schools that are in candidacy status for accreditation, are eligible to take the national certification examinations offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). With the exception of California, NCCAOM’s examinations are accepted or required in the states that license the practice of AOM. Currently, AOM is regulated by a formal practice act in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Licensure is the most common form of practice authorization in these states.

Last but not least, you should glance through some Chinese medicine fundamental theory, acupuncture and herbal medicine materials first. See if you are interested in it, since you’ll need to deal with all the new things you probably never heard before. It’s a long journey. Wish you the best!
Good Luck!


That’s a spammer, Joey. Don’t reply to the spammers, Joey. :2cents:


Thanks, jimipresley. Since I’m here to promote TCM, I’d be glad to share everything I know to answer any questions brought up here by new friends. Even if it’s a spammer, he did ask a practical question. I actually thought about sharing ways to become an acupuncturist in Taiwan and in U.S., since some new friends from Forumosa do message me to inquire about this.

This is the English website of my alma mater. You folks could take a look and see if you’re interested in it. :smiley:


[color=#0000FF]Even my idol receives acupuncture![/color]

pinterest.com/pin/536491374330513798/ Thanks for the pins!

[color=#0000FF]Who’s also going to the concert in Sept. 28th in Taipei?[/color]

Ohhh, if there’s one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain’t gonna do what I don’t want to,
I’m gonna live my life.

2005 Have A Nice Day


They’re getting better at that! It’s like watching evolution in action.


I’d like to introduce you
[color=#0000FF]Orthopedics and Traumatology in TCM (中醫骨傷科學) [/color]
. :bravo:

polyu.edu.hk/uhs/en/ourservi … ne-setting
The practice of Orthopedics and Traumatology in TCM is to prevent and treat osteoarticular and periarticular soft tissue injuries and diseases. It uses various treatment methods, based on TCM theory, such as [color=#008000]manipulation[/color], [color=#008000]acupuncture [/color]and [color=#008000]Chinese herbal medicine[/color], to manage these disorders and to cure the traumata of sinews and bones, meridians and collaterals, Qi and blood. The diseases managed in this field are classified as traumatology and osteopathy, such as [color=#0000FF]fractures, dislocations, injuries of muscle and tendons, internal traumatic syndromes, and osteoarticular bi-syndromes, osteoarticular degenerative diseases[/color], etc.

Here’s a more detailed content: tcmdiscovery.com/Orthopedics/

Here’s a video I found on Youtube about “Relieving tendon and muscle” manipulation: youtube.com/watch?v=MJk2POWnNrk
Here’s one on treating lumbar spinal transverse process: youtube.com/watch?v=zWnBNEc8NzY
Here’s the other one: youtube.com/watch?v=dlsPHcURFBc

Orthopedics and Traumatology in TCM has a lot to do with human anatomy and physical examination (all kinds of muscle, joint, nerve tests). Some patient underwent image studies and found nothing wrong or there’s nothing else modern medicine could do and they turn to TCM Traumatology doctors for help. When injured, most Taiwanese just know when to see a TCM Traumatology doctor and when to see a western medicine doctor (Rehabilitation, orthopedics and neurology doctors).


Just a notice: If you came without making an appointment, make sure you [color=#0000BF]
came no later than 30 minutes before the section end
. One of the registration rule of our hospital is: You could make an appointment without doctor’s agreement at the counter at anytime no later than 1 hour before each section ends. However, if you came after 11:00 am or 4:00 pm without making an appointment, the counter will call us and ask the nurse whether we could accept the patient or not. We would consider the time needed for the the rest of the patients as well as our schedule. If you are a new patient, which usually takes longer time to take history, we would recommend you to come no later than 30 minutes before the section end, or we might not have enough time to see you. [color=#0000FF]You know, sometimes it’s hard for us to control the time.[/color] It’s not easy to balance between the time spend on each patient and their families. Some might need more time, some might not. Some wait outside for too long, some just came at the right time and get in right away. I hope I can make most of my patients satisfied. Bring something to read just in case you need to wait.

Just an FYI: I will be having a clinic section in Neihu on next Saturday morning, Sept. 5th, since my colleague will take a leave. If you have any health issue, feel free to come.


A famous professor, [color=#0000FF]
John P.A. Ioannidis
[/color], was invited to deliver a speech in Taiwan in recent days. med.stanford.edu/profiles/john-ioannidis

Prof. Ioannidis is famous for the article “
[color=#00BF00]Why Most Published Research Findings Are False[/color]
” published on PLoS Medicine in 2005.
journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/a … ed.0020124

If the original article is too long for you, you could take a look at these media coverage:
plosmedicine.org/article/rel … ed.0020124

And here’s another one of his research on “[color=#00BF00]
How to Make More Published Research True
[/color]” published in 2014.
journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/a … ed.1001747

The media coverage of Prof. Ioannidis’ visiting Taiwan is here:
udn.com/news/story/9/1199252-80% … 7%E5%A4%A7

My point of view:
Don’t jump into conclusion too soon. Be humble and open minded.



[color=#FF0000]Tri-Service General Hospital now offers Herbal medicine service in Tingchou branch.[/color]

However, since the real TCM pharmacy in Tingchou branch will not open until 2016, [color=#0000FF]
you’ll need to go to Neihu branch to get herbal medicine no later than three days.
We could now prescribe herbal medicine here in Tingchou branch, which benefits some patients because they don’t need to go to Neihu main facility only during my clinic hours. They can received acupuncture treatment in Tingchou branch and take the free shuttle bus to Neihu to get herbal medicine whenever they want. This week is the first week for this service and I’m glad that 3-4 patients ,out of 14 patients came yesterday in the afternoon, are willing to do so. Their family can also go to Neihu to help them get the herbs. This new service seems to be beneficial to our patients.

Here’s a brief introduction video of the new herbal medicine supplier in Tri-Service General Hospital.

↑ TSHG TIngchou branch, some scene of the movie Lucy (2014) is filmed here. TSGH main facility moved from here to Neihu in 2000.


There is a newly printed manual introducing all departments in Tri-service General Hospital.
Here’s the page of our Chinese Medical Department. I took all these photos and do the translation.
Hope you’ll know more about us after reading this:


Thanks for a good thread!