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School Yourself on Wellness Training, From Massage Schools to Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Massage Therapy Training
- What should you look for in a massage therapy training program? Most important, say experts, is attending an accredited massage school. Agencies such as the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCST), Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as specialized accrediting agency for bodywork programs.

- Accredited massage schools are usually eligible for federal financial aid, including loans and grants. The average tuition for massage school is $9-$10 per credit hour. If you are in an unlicensed state, you may be able to complete a short program that will get you 100 hours of training for under $1,000. States that require licensing however, typically require 500 hours of training, with tuition ranging anywhere from $5,000-$9,000. If the school you plan to attend does not supply you with a massage table, plan on spending an additional $500.

All About Acupuncture Courses
- Millions of people turn to acupuncture when traditional medical treatment isn't resolving the problem, is too expensive, or has significant side effects associated with it. Some conditions recommended for acupuncture by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) include a variety of ailments from bronchial asthma and gingivitis, to rheumatoid arthritis and migraines.

- The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the sole accrediting agency for acupuncture courses and Oriental medical education recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation to accredit professional programs in the field.

- Several medical schools now include Acupuncture courses. There are currently over 22,671 licensed acupuncture practitioners in the US. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia either license, certify, or register practitioners, thus statutorily recognizing the practice of acupuncture. In the remaining seven states, acupuncture is either unregulated, no determination has been made, or it is determined to be the practice of medicine.

What's the Oriental Medicine hype?
- Health care providers without an education and licensing in Oriental Medicine are not necessarily qualified to practice Chinese Herbology or may be practicing herbal medicine from a different viewpoint. The requirements vary from state to state. In California, Texas, Nevada, and New Mexico, for example, the state exam tests acupuncturists on proper prescribing of Chinese herbs. In other states, however, herbal certification is voluntary. Ask if your acupuncturist has passed the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine herbal exam.

- Few studies in western journals have measured the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine, but you're likely to get better results by going to an experienced herbalist. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now sponsoring research on Chinese herbs and other TCM techniques for treating conditions ranging from depression to cancer.

Disclaimer: This site is not connected with any government agency or the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office. If you would like to find more information about government funding please visit: http://www.studentaid.ed.gov