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Sophia Peng

American College of
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine


The American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is a medical school, teaching clinic, and research institution. The ACAOM clinics provide affordable health care services while also training students in the theoretical, clinical, and technical applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


acupuncture, Chinese medicine, complementary integrative therapies, holistic health, school, college, accredited, acupuncture degree, Houston, TMC

About the ACAOM

With the field of acupuncture projected to grow by 14.5% globally by 2028, degree programs in both acupuncture and Chinese medicine are gaining prominence. Since 1982, approximately 50 institutions in the United States have been accredited by the Department of Education’s Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM) to offer a broad range of programming to prospective students.


Chinese medicine is a pluralistic system of healing; it encompasses several interconnected theoretical and methodological frameworks (Scheid 2002). As such, acupuncture education at one institution can look quite different from that at another – even with the result, a Masters or Doctorate in Acupuncture, being the same. An example is getting a degree at an Integrative Medicine college versus a Five Elements Acupuncture Institution. However, standard metrics do exist. To be licensed, candidates are required in most states to pass the NCCAOM Board Exams – which assess for a core knowledge base and clinical safety skills.


In Houston, there is currently only one accredited Chinese Medicine college: the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Founded in 1991 by Dr. Shen Ping Liang, L.Ac., a practitioner-advocate from Taiwan who spearheaded initiatives to professionalize acupuncture in Texas, the ACAOM lists as their mission to strengthen the role of acupuncture and TCM as a complementary system of healthcare delivery in the United States. 


Since its establishment, the ACAOM has been accredited by the ACAHM and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and boards, approving ACAOM graduates for licensure in Texas, California, and Minnesota. The ACAOM offers five degrees, including doctoral and master’s programs in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Students who enroll are guaranteed 1000+ hours of clinical experience in the ACAOM’s own teaching clinic in Bellaire and/or partnering clinics at Houston Methodist hospitals. The ACAOM also advertises study-abroad opportunities at sister schools in China and Taiwan.


In 2004, the leadership of the college was transferred from Dr. Shen Ping Liang to his son and the current president, Dr. John Paul Liang, Ph.D., L.Ac. Under Dr. Liang, the ACAOM has – in addition to its educational agenda – pursued research partnerships with Baylor College of Medicine to investigate the efficacy of acupuncture for a range of conditions. The college has also been expanding community ties. ACAOM clinicians have attended health fairs to offer free/reduced-price acupuncture and, at one point, worked out of Rice University’s Wellbeing Office to provide acupuncture to students and staff.


As for its clinic, the ACAOM sees patients Monday-Thursday and Saturday from 9 am-3 pm, and offers comprehensive treatments in Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion, tui-na (bodyworks), as well as diet and lifestyle recommendations. Commonly treated conditions include mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, musculoskeletal pain, upper respiratory conditions, and infertility. 

Since 2005, the ACAOM clinic has seen over 135,000 patients, averaging 1000 per month (ACAOM). Its popularity may partly be due to its accessibility: because the ACAOM is a teaching clinic, prices are lower than they might be at private practices. Numerous patients report traveling up to 30-60 minutes weekly to receive care with the ACAOM. The ACAOM draws an incredibly diverse student population. Interns identify with a myriad of cultures, socioeconomic statuses, ages, and experiences, which aid them in connecting with patients.


Scheid, Volker. Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis. Illustrated edition. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2002.

Liang, Shenping


External Links 

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Shen Ping Liang

Dr. Liang (L.AC.) is the founder of the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Houston, TX. He has practiced acupuncture in Taipei, Taiwan and worked as an acupuncturist in São Paulo, Brazil and played an integral role in licensing acupuncturists in Texas and the United States. 

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John Paul Liang

Dr. John Paul Liang is the former President of the Texas Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine and currently the President of the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. He is also the former Chair of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. 

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