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Five Branches University

The Five Branches

Five Branches University derives its name from the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine which maintain and restore an individual’s harmony with nature: Acupuncture, Herbology, Tuina Massage, Energetics, and Chinese Dietary Medicine.


Acupuncture uses very fine needles to regulate Qi (Yang) and Blood (Yin), produced by the internal organs, which flow in the regular channels and extra meridians that course throughout the body. According to TCM theory, all human physical disorders or diseases are related to the dysfunction of Qi and Blood. By inserting acupuncture needles in correct points, we tonify Qi and Blood deficiencies or invigorate their stagnation, resulting in improved mental and physical health.


Herbology is the preparation and use of plants and minerals as prescription medicine. Chinese herbology is found in many forms, including powder, pills, teas, and creams. These herbs treat disorders and diseases through internal or external absorption. Since Chinese herbs have different tastes, properties, natures and functions, and because they enter various channels, the herbs affect the flow of Qi and Blood, as well as the body’s balance of Yin and Yang.

Tuina Massage

Tuina Massage refers to the use of traditional Chinese massage to treat injuries of tendons and muscles, and organ disorders. Tuina applies pressure on the points, as well as applying specific movements along the meridians, to regulate and harmonize the flow of Qi and Blood.


Energetics are exercises that heal through rhythmic breathing and body movements. Energetics includes internal healing arts, such as the Five-Animal Exercise developed by Hua Tuo, meditation, Medical Qigong and various styles of Taijiquan, an internal martial art practiced worldwide.

Chinese Dietary Medicine

Chinese Dietary Medicine is a highly effective method of self-treatment handed down in China over thousands of years. Like all agricultural societies, China understands the vital connection between food and health. Thus, TCM doctors prescribe energetically balanced diets to treat disharmonies in the Qi, Blood, and organ functions, using the energetic profile of foods.

At Five Branches, we believe TCM education provides a profound view of the human relationship to nature—a philosophical view at the heart of all great human civilizations. We wish to perpetuate this inherent TCM wisdom.

MTCM Program

The Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) program is a four-year graduate professional degree program comprising 3208 hours in length and a total of 170.5 units. The program, taught on a semester basis, is presented in English at our Santa Cruz campus, and in English, Chinese and Korean at our San Jose campus. The English and Chinese Master’s are available in a daytime program while the Korean Master’s program is offered in the evening and on Saturdays. You can obtain a Master’s degree in four years or enroll in classes during the summer term to accelerate the program and finish your degree early. Enrollment on a part-time basis is available based on consideration and approval by the Academic Dean and Admissions Director.

MAc Program

The Master of Acupuncture (MAc) program is specifically designed for the following individuals:

Students who wish to practice outside California

Students interested in developing a practice emphasizing acupuncture, including MDs and other licensed Western medical practitioners authorized to use acupuncture needles in the State of California.

The MAc program is offered in English only at our Santa Cruz and San Jose campuses. The program includes both academic and clinical training, with a focus on practicing acupuncture in an integrative medical environment.

Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM)

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program is designed for licensed acupuncturists interested in developing advanced TCM knowledge and skills, achieving a medical specialization, and gaining valuable experience in research and teaching.

As a DAOM student you will:
• Expand and refine your knowledge and expertise in TCM patient care
• Gain the clinical treatment skills needed to work in an integrative medical setting
• Build professional relationships with TCM clinicians and other healthcare providers
• Develop yourself as a leader in the field of TCM as a practitioner, teacher or researcher

Massage Certification

Five Branches University offers massage and bodywork professional certificate programs based on Asian bodywork therapies including Acupressure, Shiatsu, Tuina, and Qigong, preparing you to obtain a California massage license and to receive national massage certification.

Medical Qigong

Five Branches University is the first accredited acupuncture school in the U.S to pioneer a comprehensive Medical Qigong Certificate Program. We offer three Medical Qigong Certificates: Self-Cultivation, Medical Qigong Practitioner and Medical Qigong Therapist.

Mind-Body Medicine

The Mind-Body Medicine Department offers certificate programs, continuing education courses, lectures by leading mind-body experts, and community classes to enhance your well-being.

Continuing Education

Extend your education and fulfill your licensure requirements through our Continuing Education courses. Five Branches University offers board-approved CEU’s for L.Ac, RN, MFT, LCSW, LEP, and LPCC.

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