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JUN 3, 2015

     They’ve had success in life. Long careers full of laudable accomplishments at the top of their fields. Engineers who successfully rose with the tech surge of Silicon Valley. Product Managers who keenly oversaw the development of their creations. Marketing Directors who effectively differentiated their product from all other brands. They are women and men who have worked tirelessly to keep up with cutting-edge technology throughout their profession so that their families may live comfortable lives. They’re practical people who have relied on quantitative data, science and technology, and proper planning to meet their end goals in life.

     And then they decide to become acupuncturists. At first, I could not understand why such a surprising amount of the student body at the University of East-West Medicine comes from corporate America. It seemed almost ironic to me that people who have spent their lives relying on up-to-date quantitative data would then choose to pursue a second career grounded in tradition and intuition. The majority of these students wouldn’t bother using an operating system that is 20 years old (think Windows ’95), so why would they use a medicinal system that is over 5,000 years old? While the answer isn’t the exact same for every person, I have found a few common themes running throughout people’s responses. They are as follows:

  1. Practical concern for the own health
  2.      This may sound confusing to many. After all, can’t these working professionals afford a doctor’s appointment with their high salaries and comprehensive insurance policies?
    While most can indeed afford a visit to a Western medical doctor, they are also aware of the shortcoming of Western Medicine. Namely, the lack of preventative measures taken by the American healthcare system. With old age approaching, these prudent professionals understand that the best way to cut back on medical costs, lessen the burden they place on their families, and live a higher quality of life while aging is simply by not needing medical attention in the first place.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine specializes in instructing students how to cultivate their internal energy (Qi) to promote the body’s natural healing mechanisms. As any successful business person will readily tell you- taking preventative measures to avoid problems is generally much less costly than having to fix the problems after they arrive.
    “...the best way to cut back on medical costs, lessen the burden they place on their families, and live a higher quality of life while aging is simply by not needing medical attention in the first place.

  3. Acupuncture requires logic to solve patient’s problems.
  4.       A key trait of many working professionals in Silicon Valley is their “logical” thinking. They enjoy identifying problems, analyzing them, and using a mixture of deductive and inductive reasoning to solve these conundrums. Acupuncture is similar in the sense that practitioners are constantly faced with identifying the underlying causes of illness, and then using all available information to help alleviate these illnesses. Engineers, in particular, seem intrigued by this process.

  5. It is a career that they can perform well into their old age.
  6. Applying to an engineering job at the age of 60 isn’t easy. As many find in Silicon Valley, popular fields of work are heavily saturated by young employees. Here is a complaint that I often hear: “(Insert Large Company Name Here) won’t hire anyone over the age of 30.”
    Not being the types to merely retire and watch daytime television, these working professionals are preparing for a life after their first careers. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a field in which knowledge is accrued and instinct is refined throughout a lifetime of practice. Indeed, no one ever complains that their acupuncturist is too old and wise. Since the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine don’t rapidly change year after year, acupuncture is a career that practitioners can comfortably perform well into their old age.



“Since the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine don’t rapidly change year after year, acupuncture is a career that practitioners can comfortably perform well into their old age.”