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Master of Acupuncture now on offer at Southern Cross University


Zoe Satherley
22 January 2009
A long-time leader in natural and complementary medicine, Southern Cross University is now offering a fully accredited Master of Acupuncture degree. It is the only university in Australia offering the degree by distance education.

The two-year degree is open to existing professionals in the medical and allied health fields, such as doctors, naturopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors and nurses, who want to add traditional Chinese acupuncture to their professional skill set.

Dr Vivien Griffiths, lecturer and course leader for the Master of Acupuncture and Sharon Rallings, the clinical coordinator of the course, said they were delighted that the ambitious and innovative undertaking had recently received full approval from the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

“We are focusing purely on Chinese medicine and are leading the field in this regard. The flexible delivery mode will suit busy working professionals as they will be able to do the theoretical portion of the degree online while still undertaking three residential sessions on campus per year,” said Dr Griffiths, who is also a qualified RN, lecturer and acupuncturist.

“This course is changing the face of acupuncture education. There are only two other universities offering acupuncture courses and no-one else is offering it via flexible delivery mode,” said Sharon Rallings, who has a Master of Health Science and has been an acupuncturist, educator and lecturer for over 17 years.

“Another bonus of the course is the internship in China at a leading Chinese university hospital, learning first hand from doctors of medicine and professors who are master acupuncturists themselves. It will be the experience of a lifetime.”

Lennox Head Master of Acupuncture student Toni Bates, who began the course prior to it receiving ANTA accreditation and who is due to graduate in April, was the first Southern Cross University student to undertake the internship in China.

“It was an extraordinary experience and such a privilege,” Toni said. “I felt like I was returning to the origins of traditional Chinese medicine - going back to the source of this amazing storehouse of knowledge.

“Every morning during my month in China I would go to different Chinese hospitals and outpatient clinics with an interpreter, to learn from and observe Chinese doctors treating their patients. In the afternoons I would attend lectures by professors and doctors on many different aspects of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. They were always happy to address specific topics of interest to the foreign students.

“In China, Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are offered side-by-side in many of the hospitals. Patients and their doctors choose a combination of treatments. I saw patients with all kinds of serious illnesses, like end-stage cancer, heart disease, diabetes and major organ failure come in and choose traditional Chinese medicine with fantastic results. It was such a huge learning curve.

“The Chinese have a completely different paradigm of health to us Westerners. Many Chinese doctors have both Western and traditional Chinese medicine degrees so it was a fantastic learning experience. I have brought home a wealth of knowledge to incorporate into my own clinical practice.”

Sharon Rallings said there were places still available in the Master of Acupuncture degree and urged interested students to ring for more information, as places for this trimester will close in mid February.

For more information or to enrol in the Master of Acupuncture course, contact Viv Griffiths on 6626 9338 or email [email protected].

For general course and enrolment enquiries go to Email your questions to [email protected] or phone 1800 626 481.

Photo: Dr Viv Griffiths (right) and Sharon Rallings treat a patient at the SCU acupuncture clinic. (High resolution picture available on request.)