Flu shots. Blood work. Often, patients see a physician wielding a needle and brace for a jolt of pain. However, at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, acupuncturists use needles—alongside herbs—to reduce chronic pain, allergies and other ailments, said Dr. Mary Faria, the school’s CEO and acting president.
“AOMA is a wonderful academic environment that’s training people to practice various aspects of Eastern medicine,” she said.
Founded in 1993, AOMA is celebrating 25 years this fall. The mission is twofold—provide holistic, integrated health care and remain a renowned school of Chinese medicine, Faria said. Of the roughly 60 schools of Eastern medicine in the United States, she said AOMA is ranked No. 5. Currently 151 students are enrolled in AOMA’s masters and doctoral programs.
“This medicine has transformed each of our students’ lives in some way,” Faria said. “They want to get involved in practicing this medicine. They want to give back.”
The school has a library, classrooms, a clinic and an herbal dispensary. The dispensary holds over 350 jars of bulk, raw herbs, herbal extracts and blends. All the products are chemical- and pesticide-free, she said.
AOMA has two local clinics—in South Austin on West Gate Boulevard and Anderson Lane in Central Austin. Practitioners—students supervised by faculty and professional acupuncturists—complete around 17,500 appointments a year, Faria said.
The school offers a free community wellness hour, Thursdays at 12:45 p.m., with nada acupuncture—five needles placed around the ears for stress relief—and a guided meditation.
“There’s very little that acupuncture and herbal treatment combined cannot treat,” Faria said. “This medicine has been around for thousands of years.”