Traditional Chinese medicine is a system of medicine based on the concepts of Chinese natural philosophy which has essence and qi as the cornerstone, yin/yang theory as the highest generalisation, five element theory as the theoretical structure for rationalisation, and organ theory as the centre. Chinese medicine encompasses internal medicine, external medicine, gynaecology, paediatrics, dermatology, ophthalmology, mental dysfunction, and gerontology.
Traditional Chinese medicine provides treatment through the modalities of acupuncture and tui na (Chinese physiotherapy ), moxibustion and herbal patent prescriptions, qi gong exercises, and food therapy. Acupuncture is the best known of these modalities; however acupuncture by itself is but a part of Chinese medicine. Within Chinese medicine, herbal medicine forms the core practice and the other modalities act in synergistic support.
At the College of Integrative Acupuncture, Galway, the curriculum prepares graduates to practise the full field of Chinese medicine. The historical development of the college started in September 1984, when the course director Linda Heffernan commenced practise in Galway.
The College of Integrative Acupuncture is a private independent college founded in 1996. Lectures are given in the college premises in Moore Street, Loughrea, which is equipped with teaching rooms and treatment rooms. The third year is clinical practice, where students treat patients under supervision. This takes place in the college director's clinic and teaching rooms in Galway and Loughrea.
The College of Integrative Acupuncture exists to prepare candidates to enter the practice of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, to instil graduates with the theoretical structures and analytical abilities necessary for continued professional learning through their practice, and to provide graduates with an understanding of bioethics and professional responsibilities.
The College of Integrative Acupuncture's aim is the framework for its educational programmes in Chinese medicine. The mission is achieved through a four part programme: (a ) professional education, (b ) clinical practice, (c ) research, and (d ) academic publishing. The college prepares its students within the discipline of Chinese medicine to diagnose, treat, prescribe, and to appropriately refer patients through communication and interaction with other primary health care providers.
The college offers a three year part time professional training programme in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, which is currently run over weekends, commencing on October 17 and including a part-time clinical placement for one year, or part thereof, to include either an in-house clinical and/or placements with suitably qualified and registered acupuncturists.
Linda Heffernan, the course director, is one of the longest practising lecturers of acupuncture in Ireland. She trained in the Royal College of Traditional Acupuncture in Leamington Spa in 1979. She works on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels in her practice and integrates all the different approaches in practice and in the training college. Students speak of the enjoyable and satisfying time they have studying at the college. They are inspired and prepared to become, and have become, excellent practitioners who will help many patients to enjoy better health.