Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM Program | Kootenay Columbia College

Chinese Medicine Program Canada

Kootenay Columbia College of Integrative Health Sciences (formerly ACOS) currently offers four diploma programs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and an introductory distance learning course. These are:



With a written history of over 2500 years, Chinese medicine encompasses a truly vast field of knowledge. Those individuals who choose to study Chinese medicine will find that their study will last an entire lifetime and, even then, seems not yet fully complete.

The Chinese medicine program of study has been designed, to as large a degree as possible, to match similar programs of study at Chinese medicine universities in the People’s Republic of China. These PRC university programs are generally 5 or 6 years in length and extremely comprehensive, encompassing not only all modalities of Chinese medicine: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tui-na massage, qi-gong therapy, diet therapy, but also related Western medicine topics.

In tailoring such programs to suit the North American post-secondary education system, a major obstacle has obviously been condensing a large amount of teaching into an appropriate program length. In remaining true to our commitment to the fidelity of Chinese medicine in its tradition, KCCIHS determined that in order to maintain a program length equivalent to other North American colleges of Chinese medicine, it was necessary to include a total number of teaching hours far in excess of those offered at most of these North American schools.

We feel it is a grave error to compromise the tradition of Chinese medicine in the name of economy: either financial economy or economy of effort. Our program is comprehensive, rigorous and challenging. Our goal is to produce TCM doctors of worth. As such, we require the student who not only seeks excellence, but also is serious, committed and diligent.

KCCIHS Chinese Medicine Program Objectives

  • To present comprehensive three, four and five year programs that encompass the five modalities of traditional Chinese medicine, including the requisite Western Biomedical Sciences as well as other required subjects
  • To assist students in attaining an understanding of the principles of Chinese medicine and see the function of the paradigm in everyday life
  • To prepare students to meet all of the qualifying examinations and regulations concerning acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, as such regulations and licensing come into force
  • To prepare students to become responsible health care providers and able practitioners
  • To offer a curriculum that meets or exceeds all academic and clinical requirements, as required by the profession’s regulating bodies

The KCCIHS Difference

At KCCIHS we believe that the aim of TCM studies is not simply to be a well-rounded TCM doctor, but a healer; one who assists in making whole. TCM provides the framework for our holistic approach to developing the highest caliber healers.

TCM is ancient medicine. Through its long evolution, TCM has developed many different approaches to health and the treatment of disease, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui-na massage, qi-gong, exercise therapy and diet therapy. Competent TCM doctors must have a correspondingly extensive amount of knowledge. The programs at KCCIHS provide the most intensive curriculum in TCM in North America. Our programs include all components of traditional Chinese medicine and students typically undertake 20% to 40% more instruction time than at other institutions.

TCM is a self-reflective medicine. This requires that TCM doctors not only have knowledge of physiology and pathology, but also of the influences of diet, exercise, work, emotional state, social interaction, and the myriad other factors affecting human health. In the authoritative classical source of TCM, the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Canon, as a main characteristic of the highest-level physician, the Yellow Emperor describes our motto in Chinese “yi wo zhi bi”; through oneself know others. It is only through the process of introspection, self-exploration and self-cultivation that the subtle aspects of health and disease can be perceived and that true compassion can be realized. Our students embrace the challenges of this inner journey, integrated within and facilitated by our programs.

TCM is practical medicine. Founded on Daoist and pre-Daoist philosophies, TCM has always been more practical than mystical. Our programs include extensive hands-on instruction aimed at developing essential clinical skills and abilities. Students integrate intellectual knowledge and intuitive sensing with practical training.

TCM is traditional medicine. The Chinese sense of tradition entails Qi, which is to say that a tradition is passed from person to person, and not from an inanimate book. KCCIHS ensures transmission of the tradition of TCM through small class size and exceptional instructors. This allows the wealth of knowledge and practical expertise of our instructors to be transferred to students one-on-one. Students enjoy personal and supportive interaction with all of their instructors, in a mentorship style.

TCM is natural medicine. TCM has its roots in the cycles of nature – true health is a state of harmony between the natural cycles of the environment and those within the self, on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Our location in Nelson, nestled in the Selkirk Mountains on the edge of pristine Kootenay Lake, allows our students intimate contact with the five seasons and the Yin-yang of nature. Students have the benefits of clean water, fresh air, lush forests and contact with nature on skis, by boat, bike or on foot.

In summary, the KCCIHS educational experience encompasses all the components necessary to produce high-caliber TCM doctors and effective healers. Our graduates are head-and-shoulders above others in the field with respect to their skills as TCM doctors.