Studying Chinese Medicine


Does anyone have any experience of, or can point me to any information about studying Chinese Medicine in Taiwan?

Many Thanks

It’s certainly possible. I have heard of a few of people who were doing it or have done it. I imagine there are some reputable, useful courses around as well as quite probably some dodgy ones.

Sorry I can’t be more specific or helpful.

The China Medical University Hospital in Taichung offers various courses: Chinese medicine, acupressure, tui-na etc.

FYI, the CMU is the largest Chinese medicine hospital in Taiwan and it is connected to the largest western medicine hospital in central Taiwan.
They have a groovy new department within the Chinese department: Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine. They do research on ICWM and doctors there are fully qualified in both disciplines.

Spack’s on the money.

I studied Chinese medicine in Australia and China for four years and was hoping for some post-grad stuff at the place in Taichung. Popped in and talked to them. They have the same entry requirements as for any other university and I simply didn’t have the time.

Most Chinese medical folks here reckon the mainland is the place to study Chinese medicine, which surprises me.

But if you wanted to start getting your head around the ideas . . . Medicine in China: A History of Ideas is a great read.


Apparently in Taiwan, Chinese medicine is ‘purer’ becuas practitioners are not allowed to mix it with western medicine. That means a Chiense medicine doctor, can nto prescribe Western medicine. In China the two schools are allowed to mix. Both approaches clearly have some advantages and disadvantages.

I once went to the clinic opposite the Taipower building, The guy there had at least two foreign ‘interns’.


Brian - what are you talking about?
Did you read my post about the INTEGRATED Chinese and Western Medicine Department at the China Medical University Hospital?

Spack, maybe in a hosptial, but am I not right that a liscenced practitioner of Chinese medicine is not allowed to prescribe or sell western medicine (even what can be sold over the counter)?


Yeah, I have also heard that chinese medicine has had some of its traditional elements discarded in China. It’s difficult to know what to believe though. Chinese medicine hasn’t exactly had an easy ride in Taiwan either.

The problem seems to be that there are two approaches to it. The first, that chinese medicine is a self-contained system in its own right, which doesn’t present the need for training in western medicine. The second is that Chinese medicine must justify its existence by demonstrating its ability to be combined with western medicine. The former approach appeals to many of us westerners looking for alternative, wholistic systems, and have no desire to train in western medicine. Unfortunately for those people, chinese medicine in China and Taiwan at least appears to be taking the second approach, so to study it in those countries, you have to some extent accept the way they see things.

Thanks for the info about Taichung, I’d already found them but was hoping they were not they only option. I’m surprised that there seems to be nothing in Taipei except research institutions.

Brian, you are right. It comes down to whether or not a docotr has the appropriate qualification/license to practice.
If a western medicine doctor does not have a Chinese medicine license he can not provide Chinese medicine. Likewise, if you are a Chinese medicine doctor you can’t provide western medicine.
Of course, if you are qualified to do both then there’s no problem. At the ICWM dept. in the China Medical Uni Hospital, the docs there have both.

It makes sense from the point of view of patient safety. I love the idea of ICWM because so many people go to the western medicine doctor without telling him/her what chinese medicines they are taking. That’s not very smart as there may be some kind of interactive effect which may be dangerous. I hope more places in Taiwan offer this kind of integrated approach in the future.

Just a pedantic point. There’s nothing traditional about Chinese medicine. Read Unschuld’s Medicine in China: A History of Ideas and you’ll see why.

I’m qualified in Australia but never bothered to check it out here. The study I did incorporated basically a similar level as a couple of years of western medicine. I’d also been a nurse for around 10 years before I started. I think a fundamental understanding of western medicine is highly necessary for anyone hoping to be a good practitioner.


I think the traditional part refers to the medicines that have supposedly been used for thousands (well at least hundreds, I’m not an expert in this area!) of years. They’re not modern at any rate.

In the literature, don’t they always refer to TCM - traditional Chinese medicine?
Perhaps you’d better inform the experts they’re using the term wrong. :wink:

As I understand it, although the term ‘TCM’ may or may not have originated in China, has been latched onto by the PRC as a catch all term for the kind of chinese medicine it advocates.

So I’m looking at another, what 5 years of study on top of the 4 years of chinese I’ve already done… hmm at 33 I think I may already be too old for that kind of undertaking.

You can still do some basic ‘introductory-type’ courses in TCM (can I use that phrase?)
Plus you can do various other courses like tui-na, acupressure and chiropractice.