4th Doctoral Year Curriculum Leaked

In the hopes of bringing together a fragmented AOM community, an inside source from a prominent acupuncture college has leaked both portions of the curriculum as well as educational techniques for the fourth year of training in the first professional doctorate program (FPD) in acupuncture.  On conditions of anonymity, the source, calling himself Pla-Qibo, claims that his information comes from being directly involved with the actual training of an experimental class composed of faculty at a well known New York acupuncture college.  He, along with several administrators from this large unnamed New York school that is a allegedly a driving force behind the Council of Colleges and the FPD, worked directly under the schools president, implementing the latest in cutting edge educational techniques designed to make the FPD graduate an asset to any western medical care environment.  Emphasis will be placed on certain core competencies rather than credit hours, as is the case with the existing masters degree.  And while doctoral standards have been debated and written up in the past, the new standards are quite unlike any previously considered.

“We wanted to make sure that the acupuncture students were good boys and girls.  Initially, we had a fear that students might jump up on the M.D.’s if they got too excited or possibly wet themselves”,  Pla-Qibo said in a hushed tone over a long distance line that had its caller ID blocked.   “So we started them off with choke collars and only moved on to a harness when a student was showing proper submissiveness and no longer a threat to a doctor.  Make no mistake, FPD training will be tough, but the trials successfully domesticated the test subjects.  You could say they were hospital-broken.”

The fourth doctoral year will start with students learning basic commands, working in small groups with a real, western medical doctor that is their lead trainer for the year.  The first task for the acupuncture student will involve their medical doctor-trainer holding a mock FPD diploma under the students nose for a moment and then bringing it up under the doctors chin, saying, “Look at me!”  The competency being taught is learning exactly who is in control of healthcare delivery in a western medical environment.   Pla-Qibo commented that, “The acupuncturist needs to be able to focus on the doctors, first and foremost.  They must learn right away who is in charge, who is their master.”  After this basic skill of holding attention is retained, more involved commands will be taught.  The first module of training will be rounded out with the mastering of “Sit”, “Stay” “Down” and “Come”.

Pla-Qibo was quick to mention that the skills will be taught in a way that is fun and humane with no hitting involved.  Shock collars were used with success in the trials and will be  permitted on only the most unruly of students, but it was observed that a steady stream of compliments and play made the training process easier, more enjoyable and extremely effective.  “It was not uncommon to see an acupuncture student on their back with a doctor rubbing their belly after a good job.  You would hear a lot of ‘Good boy!’ and ‘That’s a girl!’  The doctors really had a good time with them.” 

Doctors also seemed to enjoy themselves, discovering that training acupuncturists is an excellent release of personal stress, as well as amusing.  “The doctors would get so much pleasure out of listening to the acupuncture student explain a western medical disease in AOM terms.  They would laugh and laugh and laugh!  The student would just smile dumbly with their tongue hanging out, wagging their tail.  I loved watching a doctor play ‘fetch the patients chart’ with a student that did a good job of something or other.  The doctor would hurl a chart down a hallway.  You wouldn’t believe how fast those students could run, how high they would jump!  It was really heartwarming.  It was nice.”

The second module of training incorporates more involved competencies such as “begging for referrals”, “shake doctors hand” and “medical-Speak!”. Upon graduation, the acupuncture student receives their own collar and ID badge.  The badge is in the shape of a bone. 

“We truly believe that this will be the most forward looking program in Acupuncture Today.  With all graduates learning these basic competencies, we’ll have the insurance companies on their hind legs in no time!” barked Pla-Qibo, confident in the future of the FPD.  And although Pla-Qibo wanted to remain anonymous, he firmly believes that opposition to the FPD will heel if only everyone could come to understand that a well trained and obedient acupuncture practitioner is essential to patient focused integrative care.    And so it appears that finally, acupuncture will get out of the western medical dog-house.   Thatta boy!  Good job, girl!  Fetch!

The Zang Fool
Author: The Zang Fool

<p> This is a satirical blog post by a practitioner that is serious in his attempts to both increase acupunctures accessibility to the public and challenge practitioners preconceived notions of what acupuncture is and how it functions in society. It may make you laugh, but that is just a means to an end. That end is thought and ultimately positive change. This is what all good satire does: prick, prod and provoke thought and positive change within a community. </p> <p> Satire has long been a part of muckraking and this profession is teeming with muck.  So, in the wake of the nonsense spewed from the foul anus of the Acupuncture-Industrial Complex come my musings on life, love and the proposed doctoral program. </p>

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  1. Your sources, ZF

    are so much more FUN than mine. Why is that? (Hey, will Cesar Milan be involved? Because I love Cesar Milan. I want to hear him say “Tsszzt!” to a bunch of acupuncturists.)

  2. yes!

    Cesar actually trained the doctors to use the “tsszt!” command.  Acupuncturists would be nipping at the docs heels or hanging out under the table waiting for scraps of medical terminology to fall onto the floor and you would hear, “tsszzt!”   

    I guess my sources are more fun than yours because I use a higher quality tin foil than that Great Value crap you use.

    Either that or because yours are actually real and I pull mine out of my ass.

  3. yinyang balance

    As a practioneer of acupuncture and a student of yin yang, I was waiting for someone to put this whole FPD into perspective. Finally we are seeing the other side, the yin of the yang, or is it the yang of the yin, and it dosen’t seem so bad. Does it???

    Or as Confuscious would say, “Down Boy”

  4. worthy of a beating, but cute

    I observed at a doctoral program last year.  I got to sit behind the students as they checked facebook and yahoo throughout the 60 minute interviews with the clients. All 10 or so laptops had 10 or so laptop cords stretched toward the center of the room feeding to a single multi-power outlet.  The long tables were squared off around this spiderweb.  The clients sat right in front of this.

    When they finished the interview, and the client was ushered to the adjacent room for a treatment, the laptops finally snapped shut.

    “I think that he kind of likes his pathologies,” said one student about a client who ambulated himself with a cane and shared his diagnoses of IBS, impotence, Major Depression and a herniated disc. The client was much more able to talk about his problems than the first client, whom this particular student was much more sympathetic to.  The first, a veteran dx with PTSD, didn’t want to talk about much. But I’ll be darned if I didn’t see them pry every bit of info they could out of him.   He’d never had acupuncture and you could feel their eagerness to get their needles into him.  

    And so it went:  I witnessed the slaughtering of the two archetypal clients:  the sympathetic  and the pathetic.  The sympathetic:  Those whom they feel sorry for and give a discount to and write case studies about in textbooks based on their few encounters with a poor wretch and surmise that because the client didn’t come back, they must have cured them.  The pathetic: those whom they despise and hate deep down inside and gossip with their colleagues that if the client only were a better client and submit to the acupuncturist’s diet and life change plan then the acupuncturist would be a better acupuncturist.  

    If it had just been one innocent comment from one student, it would have been one thing.   No, it was the greater than an hour long “doctoral discussions” that ensued were truly worthy of a beating…

    But what the heckle do I know  as a first year acu student?  “I guess this is my future,” I resigned. “making clients jump through hoops for 57 minutes longer than necessary.  And then talking about it for even longer.”  

    But after reading your blog,  I see that the FPD be funner than that.  There’ll be no time for facebook.  These programs will be designed for an actual role to play in health care…and I’ll be the one jumping through hoops…

    We’ll have to watch our mouths for sure.   MD’s also have much shorter attention span for B.S. than the average acupuncturist.  So our esoteric B.S. will have to be short and snappy…and as you add…cute. 


  5. A burlesque show, but not funny

    I just listened to some great clips of old interviews with the late Studs Terkel, and his words were encouraging for us I think.  He spoke about how the term “working class” became alien among neoliberals and democrats, and was replaced the more palatable “middle class”…an interesting side note…

    “It’s a burlesque show, really, but it’s not funny.” He spoke of this pertaining to several tragic events  and figures in the US history.  

    Most of all:

    It’s this prescient minority that always must speak out, no matter what the dues may be.” 

    To our prescient minority in the acupuncture field:  Come out of the closet, students and acupuncturists!  As Studs reminds us, the “sweet chariot” sung about in old slave spirituals was a doublespeak for the underground railroad…the promise of freedom.  So much sweeter than a white coat and  collar.  I swear you can taste the sweet sweetness when you sign the petition against the FDP. 

    Don’t miss this interview:


  6. Hey fool and others

    Hey fool and others posting

    Just because you do not want to get a doctoral degree for whatever reason, give you absolutely no right to attack it and attack the people who desire to get it.

    Are you people even real acupuncturists on this forum? Come on people give me a break.

    A real TCM physician is humble and does not attack others, did you guys and gals even read the classics?

    If someone wants a DAOM for personal reasons and more training then no one has the right to put them down.

    What about a person who lost a loved one to cancer and then say decided to pursue the DAOM at Bastyr in order to become more competent? Is that wrong? Is it anyones business?

    I will say this, that when someone thinks they know everything and do not need anymore educations or training, then that person should stop what they are doing and do something else. How can you put 5000 years into 4? The more we learn the better we become.

    I see a DC claiming to be a Acupuncturist (but puts a Certified Acupuncturists) next to their name? Hmmm Talk about a insult, what did they do a 100 hour course? If so then they are not a REAL acupuncturist. If I am wrong and they did the full school then correct me.

    Also to compare Chirorpactic to Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine/TCM is a complete joke, as Chiropractic would not be able to compare in what it can treat (not to take anything away from chiro’s) but there is no comparing it to a medicine that has endured for 5000 years.

    I think everyone here needs to look in the mirror, ask yourself why it is you feel so important to attack people trying to better themselves?

    Maybe what we have here is shen disturbance, GB def, and zhi def (Kid).

    If you have nothing good to say then say nothing at all

  7. Guest

    I hope you will read through the blogs.  The FPD is an important issue that many practitioners don’t understand or are not even aware of.  These blogs are about stopping the idea of creating and requiring a doctorate for ENTRY into the profession which would increase the cost, time, energy, etc… to become an acupuncturist.  It’s also unclear what will happen to the practitioners who have masters degrees if the FPD comes to pass.  I, for one, do not have the time or desire to go back to school.  I run a busy practice where every day is a learning and growing experience.

    If you chose to go for a DAOM, that’s great, it’s your choice (choice, not requirement=big difference) no one is criticizing that, it’s a very different thing than an entry level FPD.  No one here is against learning, that’s ridiculous.

    We can learn from mistakes made in the development of the chiropractic PROFESSION, those discussions have nothing to do with the actual practices of either medicine. 

  8. CAc

    A certified acupuncturist in Wisconsin is what the regulatory provisions allow for, regardless of how much training one did.  Dr. Todd was my colleague at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine for three years.  You stand corrected.

    This raises an excellent point: we are only permitted to call ourselves what our state’s licensing laws permit.  Securing an FPD in any state will not automatically give you the right to call yourself a doctor, unless there are costly legislative debates to get the title changed.

  9. shen disturbances…cigarettes….lava lamps

    For some great drawings of people suffering from different manifestations of “shen disturbance,” I recommend Maciocia’s The Practice Of Chinese Medicine.  Before you slap the ultimate label of TCM on any stranger on the street, check the source text…make sure what you see is what is drawn by his illustrator…

    And if you’re still struggling with understanding just what is the “shen” at this point, I recommend pp. 251, Figure 9.9:  The image of the burning cigarrette, to quote Maciocia:

    “Smoke going up to ‘Heaven’ is Hun”

    “Ashes going down to Earch are Po”

    “Tobacco is the Essence that is used up”

    “Cigarette is Shen”

    (Such a beautiful metaphor for the shen of the FPD)

    If you still haven’t grasped the relationship of the hun and po, check out pp. 271 Figure 9.38: the lava lamp.  In this case, it’s important to differentiate who in the acupuncture field is part of the po…falling…and who is part of the hun….the warm qi rising.  “Choose wisely” (remembering Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)…as has been suggested:  it’s your choice.

    Don’t be confused by the redundancy in his chapters  (i.e. bullets of ideas printed in a box and then copy and pasted and strung into paragraphs).  After all, the real thing to LEARN here is it’s all about the money.  The
    bigger the book, the longer the program, the more money you and I pay.

    I don’t mean to knock your desire for knowledge…I learned a few things from that book.  I share your thirst for knowledge.  I’ve also learned a great deal from reading these blogs…which are cheaper and often more helpful than the bulky and superfluous glossed pages Maciocia’s  text or my MAcOM curriculum.



  10. Guest, one of the biggest, if not

    the biggest problem w/ the FPD is, if it were to pass,  to be able to start practicing acupuncture, one would have to get a Doctorate. There are already schools, I believe 5, that offer Doctorates. So, as it is now, anyone wanting to pursue that degree, can already get it. It is just plain wrong to require a doctorate to stick needles in people. 

  11. Doctoral

    Can anyone tell me if a Licensed Acupuncturists who obtains their DAOM degree from a accredited AOM college can advertise themselves as doctor. A previous post brought this up concerning the laws that would need to be changed in the event we go with a entry level doctoral program. I know states like RI/FL/NM/AK/NV allow for title of doctor or physician.

    But what about a person with a DAOM who decides to practice in a state that does not, say in CT or Mass or NH. Will they be able to advertise themselves as a Licensed Acupuncturists with a DAOM degree and call themselves doctors with patients? If anyone could provide feedback I would be grateful.

    This is an important question esp for new DAOM grads.

    I myself cannot see how on would not be able to call themselves doctor if they indeed did get the DAOM in their own field.

    Hey for the DC that did the 3 year AOM program great job!

  12. DAOM

    Regarding the DAOM degree and being able to call yourself doctor, no one could tell you that you cannot. If the DAOM is accredited by ACAOM. If a state board ruled otherwise, you would be entitled to a civil lawsuit. Which would provide compensation for damages either psychological or monetary. But the doctoral degree would need to be one that is approved by the profession as is 3 currently approvded by ACAOM.

    That is a good question as it brings to the table some seriouis questions about the doctoral in our profession.

    But you would not be able to advertised that you are a licensed DAOM, but instead a licensed acupuncturist with a DAOM and you can call youself doctor because in fact you are a doctor.

    Anyone else please correct me if I am incorrect about this.

    Also it is pretty sad that we are in a profession were this would even be a question.

  13. State-by-State

    I can’t speak for every state.  I hope others from different parts of the country will chime-in here.  I do know (from Emily Konstan — BIG THANK YOU FOR THIS INFO!) that in Masachusetts, acupuncturists are specifically excluded from using the word “doctor” unless they have an MD.   Massachusetts regulations do not recognize the DAOM and there is no guarantee that they would recognize the FPD.  Here is the excerpt: “Use of the Title “Doctor” As noted above, the COA has not yet recognized any doctoral programs in acupuncture or Oriental medicine as meeting the requirements of the COA. Until such time as doctoral programs meet these requirements, an acupuncturist may not in advertising or other materials visible to the public use the title “doctor.”  A licensee who has obtained a medical degree but is not licensed as a licensed physician in Massachusetts should not, under any circumstances, use the title “Doctor” in any advertising or other materials visible to the public pertaining to the licensee’s acupuncture practice.Use of the title “OMD”  To date there are no Oriental Medical Doctor programs which meet these requirements. Therefore, please be advised that you cannot advertise that you hold an O.M.D. degree in your Massachusetts acupuncture practice.”  These regulations were updated in 2009. 

  14. DAOM

    If that is the case in Mass, then that is VERY BIG issue. So what is the Mass COA acupuncture board def of standards for a doctoral in the AOM profession? I thought it was the ACAOM who made the standards for the DAOM in our profession. I would remind those in Mass on the board that their masters is also approved by the ACAOM. So for them to come out and make a statement about the DAOM not meeting the Mass board of Acu requirements is a little suspicious. This needs to come out on the national level as if a acupuncturists who obtains a DAOM degree from one of the accredited DAOM programs by ACAOM, that they cannot even call themselves a Doctor of AOM in their own field? Then why in the hell would anyone ever get a DAOM degree.

    There def is a legal issue at stack and I mean possible lawsuit, as we have the ACAOM saying that the DAOM is accredited then you have some rogue state acu board run by acupuncturists saying that it is not accredited and does not meet their standards? Hmmmm sounds very suspicious indeed.

    Also Mass law does not only allow a MD to call themselves a Doctor, as a DO can and a DPT, and a DC and a Clinical Psy can also, no, this is something made up from the Board of Acupuncture in Mass that is run by Acupuncturists in Mass.

    Also how does Mass board of Acu accredit a DAOM program?

    I am going to alert the ACAOM about this because this is completely crazy.

    Is Mass the only state like this? Can anyone in Connecticut comment on the same issue?

    Thanks guys/gals

  15. So basically the way the law

    So basically the way the law is in Mass is that if a licensed acupuncturist gets a DAOM degree through hard work and study, that they cannot even hand the degree on the wall? WOW, but tell me is that not really nutz?

    I know in states like FL and CA and WA/OR if a acupuncturist get a DAOM they can call themselves a DAOM, it not rocket science is it?

    I’m sorry but this just blows my mind also something ACAOM should address