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October 5, 2018

Eight things I learned about Qigong: Continued from August 13th blog post*

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*See August 13th blog post I practiced Qigong for two months. Here are eight things I learned. for the four previous things I learned about this practice.

5. Prepare to let go
2017 was a tough one. It marked the end of a relationship, the second year of a move and finally admitting to myself that I wasn’t happy working behind a desk. Then, during the last few months of the year, a blow of chronic illness quite literally brought me to my knees. For a couple long months I cobbled together all that I could to get through each day, and at night, I fell apart again and again and again. Cutting my losses, I filed for disability, packed my bags and booked a plane …

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September 20, 2018

AIMC Doctoral Program Begins Classes

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Students from AIMC Berkeley’s newly launched 30 week doctorate program began classes this week. The 13 student cohort consists of educators, practitioners, and other licensed professionals seeking a specialized curriculum and advanced training in integrative medicine.

In addition to celebrating the start of the Professional Doctorate program this week, AIMC is also looking forward to the formation of the first cohort in its 4 year DAIM (Doctorate in Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine) program. This program provides individuals the option of obtaining a Masters degree and possibly becoming licensed before continuing on to advanced doctoral-level studies.

Visit the AIMC website to learn more about our Doctorate and Masters Programs

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August 29, 2018

Laugh So You May Flourish

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Fellow students, acupuncturists, and health enthusiasts: I have one question for you, when was the last time that you laughed? I don’t mean the respectful chuckle you show your boss, or the polite giggle offered to strangers in conversation. I mean knee slapping, gut clenching, tear-jerking laughter that takes physical resistance to be held back. If the last time you remember such a guffaw is childhood, I encourage you to incorporate laughter into your daily routine. The health benefits are immense and it’s truly one of the most satisfying expressions of emotion a person can feel!

Laughter may appear to be a cause and effect phenomenon. First comes the happy or funny event, and then a smile or laugh follows. However, the “Facial-Feedback Hypothesis”, a long-held …

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August 13, 2018

I practiced Qigong for two months. Here are eight things I learned.

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My introduction to Qigong

My practice began in the classroom where we were asked to establish a daily practice and jot down our reactions in a journal. Initially, I had no intention to share these written reflections, but the idea of incorporating these into this blog post popped into my head about midway through the assignment. At first, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. As you’ll read shortly, I found it tough to simultaneously cultivate a meditation practice and blog about it. But the truth is, Qigong surprised me in more ways than one and I’m excited to share what I discovered.

A brief disclaimer: The perils of writing for public review

In the beginning, I’d find myself midway through a sequence trying to relax, while at …

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August 7, 2018

The Delightful Importance of a Chinese Herb Garden

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Purple Perilla (Shiso) Leaf (Zi Su Ye or Zi Su Zi), in the AIMC Student Garden

As acupuncturists and herbalists in training, the students of AIMC learn hundreds of herbs, sometimes up to 20 new herbs per week. This is a huge task for anyone! And though we often have the opportunity to touch and smell the dried herbs in our classes, it is so much more fresh and immediate to witness their growth. It is wonderful that while located in a dense urban environment, AIMC has a small Chinese herb garden right outside our door.

Some may wonder, what is the purpose of growing Chinese herbs outside of Asia?

This medicine after all, was developed over 1,000’s of years in China and surrounding countries. …

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June 22, 2018

What is Qi?

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Qi is fundamental to Chinese Medicine. It moves with the blood through the meridian channels, and its flow can be influenced by stimulating various acupuncture points. Qi can flow smoothly or it can become deficient, stagnant or even rebellious. If you’ve ever felt under the weather in any way shape or form, chances are your qi fell into one of said pathological states. But what exactly is qi? And more importantly, how does it manifest in our everyday lives?

When acupuncture school first piqued my interest, I pretty quickly realized how little I knew about qi. Sure, I’d heard qi tossed around before; someone emerging from a yoga class, glowing, raving about the qi of the instructor. But if you’d asked me to define it, I …

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May 11, 2018

What is Moxibustion?

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What is Moxibustion?
By: Katie Scarlett

Knowledge and acceptance of acupuncture is on the rise, but few people know that the Chinese term for acupuncture includes moxibustion. The word is “Zhen Jiu” (針灸) meaning “acupuncture-moxibustion”.

Moxa is made from ground mugwort, artemesia argyi, which is can be rolled into a stick or cone, and burned above or directly on the skin to stimulate and warm the acupuncture points and meridians. Mugwort is an excellent material for lighting on fire. It burns cleanly and slowly, allowing the heat to evenly penetrate the muscles and tendons thereby increasing blood circulation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), moxibustion is an especially important modality for treating cold and deficient conditions. (Chen, 2001).

“Mugwort is an excellent material for lighting on fire. It burns …

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January 24, 2018

On Peak Eating and Pleasure Superheroes

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Nishanga Bliss, MS, Ph.D. L.Ac., is the author of Real Food All Year and has been a practitioner in the holistic health field for over 20 years. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, integrative nutritionist, and professor of Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, where she grows, cooks, ferments, teaches, and writes about sustainable food.

On a recent sunny spring afternoon, Nishanga met with Kimber Simpkins, a yoga instructor, positive body image teacher, and author of Full and 52 Ways to Love Your Body. The venue was Sanctuary Bistro in West Berkeley. Along with Cheryl Angelina Koehler, editor of Edible East Bay, who joined them to photograph, they enjoyed BLTs and citrus trifle as they discussed the topic of pleasure in relation …

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January 16, 2018

A Brief History of Japanese Acupuncture & How it’s Different from Chinese Acupuncture

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It is widely agreed that acupuncture originated from China more than 2000 years ago. However, for thousands of years acupuncture had been practiced in other Asian countries as well.

In Japan, acupuncture has been an important part of their medical practice and system for over 1400 years. However, it was in fact, a Chinese monk-physician named Chiso that brought acupuncture along with other medical techniques to Japan in the 6th century. During this time, China was far more advanced in the practice of acupuncture than Japan but since then acupuncture in Japan has evolved in its own very unique way.

Between 1868 and 1988, approximately 4000 medical books were imported from Japan to China. Many of these were Chinese medicine texts which were re-imported …

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November 28, 2017

Acupuncture: An Alternative to Drug Therapy and overuse of Opioids

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Every day over 140 Americans die from accidental drug overdose. Alarmingly, 65% of those deaths are from an opioid drug overdose. In 2016 alone, the annual death toll due to an opioid overdose was 64,000. This is a 22 increase from the previous year. The overuse of opioids to treat pain has become so dangerous that on October 26th, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency (Department of Health and Human Services, 2017).

As a result, the opioid addiction epidemic has increased awareness and interest in alternative pain management care such as acupuncture. Today, it’s estimated that more than “700 addiction centers offer acupuncture as an alternative and/or adjudicative therapy” (Esmaeili, Motlagh & Ibrahim et …

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