Hawai‘i College of Oriental Medicine

Formerly Named "Traditional Chinese Medical College of Hawaii"

What Is Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine


Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities.Very fine disposable needles are placed in specific points along well-defined pathways of the body. Patients may experience a sense of well-being and relaxation during treatment.

Modern research shows that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, serotonins and other neuro-chemicals that promote circulation and hormonal balance as well as reduce pain and inflammation.

One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture is the absence of undesirable side effects. Other techniques may include: Moxibustion (thermal therapy), Acupressure, Cupping (surface vacuum suction for hyperemia), Micro current electrical stimulation and Herbal medicine.

Oriental Medicine

Oriental and Greek medicines developed similar concepts of the fundamental influences on an individual's health - four humors in Greek medicine, five elements in Oriental medicine - and both recognized that harmony and balance among these elements were the key to a healthy life.

Hippocrates, father of Western medicine and the ultimate Greek physician, has been described as the founder of holistic medicine, for his medicine was a medicine of mind, body and spirit. In China, physicians similarly understood the relationship among emotions, spiritual energy, and the health of the body. Both systems recognized the impact of diet and the environment on health.

Oriental and Greek medicine developed similar diagnostic procedures. Newcomers to Oriental medicine are amazed at the diagnostic information Oriental physicians obtain by palpating a patient's pulses. Few are aware that Greek physicians were using and describing the same pulses and their use in diagnosis two thousand years ago.

Western medicine turned away from Hippocrates in the second century AD, primarily due to the influence of the Roman physician, Galen, who sought to identify diseases and their treatment rather than focusing on the patient in his or her entirety. That separation widened when 17th Century mathematician-philosopher René Descartes declared body to be separate from mind and spirit. From that time on, Western medical science has studied the body as a machine.

Medical research has greatly expanded our knowledge of biological mechanisms, and a wealth of medical technology has been developed. The result is a Western scientific medicine that is laboratory based and has a disease orientation. It excels in technology, diagnosis and the management of often life-threatening symptoms of acute illness, but it is limited to alleviating the patient's symptoms in many chronic conditions.

Oriental medicine, in contrast, continued the tradition of observation and the perfection of methods to restore the patient's balance and harmony in all aspects of his or her physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Oriental medicine is patient-oriented rather than disease-oriented.

Oriental medicine detects and treats the imbalances that lead to an illness rather than focusing on the management of a patient's physical symptoms. It is particularly effective in treating chronic illness, often caused by a combination of the environmental, emotional, and dietary influences that Oriental medicine has long studied.

Oriental medicine helps restore balance within the patient's body and life with a variety of treatments: acupuncture, herbs, diet, energy-balancing exercises such as Qi Gong, and bodywork.

Oriental medicine, with a long record of success in treating chronic disease, is also highly effective in treating acute illness. Acupuncture - so useful in pain relief that it has been used for surgical procedures - is also a proven means of treating substance abuse and many other syndromes. With its ability to provide health care at a cost well below that of high-tech Western medicine, Oriental medicine is both a long-proven system of holistic medicine and a major community asset.

Oriental medicine complements Western medicine in many ways. By detecting internal imbalances, then restoring a patient's balance while symptoms are still minor, Oriental medicine can address cause and prevent the development of serious illness. The treatment of choice for many chronic illnesses, Oriental medicine is a low-cost way of treating acute illness as well.

Technically advanced Western medicine and holistic Oriental medicine are complementary medical systems, sharing similar heritages but each focusing on different aspects of medical care. There are emergency situations where there is no substitute for Western medical procedures. For most medical problems, however, Oriental medicine provides an effective first line of defense.

Follow Your Dreams

ALOHA. E Komo Mai (welcome in Hawaiian).

If you're interested in learning more about Chinese medicine and how you can launch a rewarding career as an Acupuncturist, fill out the form below. You'll receive insightful health and career information by email right away.

A knowledgeable HICOM Admissions Advisor will be in touch to answer any questions you may have about our unique program in Hawaii. Your advisor will help you explore if an education through HICOM is the right path for you.

Mahalo Nui Loa.

Connect with us on 

Free Guide

Get Your FREE Starter Guide To A Successful Career As An Acupuncturist!

Click Here For Free Guide

Join HICOM Ohana

Upcoming events



   Administration Office Hours Hilo Campus
   Tues, Wed, Thur  - 9am to 4pm

   Business & Financial Aid Office Hours
   Tues, Wed, Thurs - 10am to 4pm

   Hilo Clinic Hours
   Open: Mon & Fri - 9.30 am to 12.30pm, 2.30pm to 6.30pm.

   Phone Numbers

   Admissions:        (808)981-2790    Fax: (866) 757-2131   

   Administration:   (808)981-2790    Fax: (866) 757-2131

   Hilo Clinic:          (808)933-1369    Fax: (866) 757-2131

College Addresses:            

Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine
180 Kinoole Street, Suite 301
Hilo, HI 96720

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software