"THE PG DIPLOMA IN ACUPUNCTURE AT IGNOU, IS THE FIRST MEDICAL COURSE OFFERED ONLINE"
August 2010

“THE PG DIPLOMA IN ACUPUNCTURE AT IGNOU, IS THE FIRST MEDICAL COURSE OFFERED ONLINE”

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DR. RAMAN KAPUR

Chairman, Institute of Acupuncture and Natural Medicines

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has taken a pioneering step by developing the first online PG Diploma course in Acupuncture. Aimed at popularising this traditional form of medicine among doctors, who can further utilise it in curing several diseases, the course is open for all medical graduates in the traditional forms of medicine. 

Divya Chawla from eHEALTH caught up with Dr. Raman Kapur, Chairperson & Co-ordinator of Acupuncture, IGNOU, to get an overview of the Acupuncture technique and insights into the online course on Acupuncture being offered at IGNOU. Dr. Kapur is one of the most renowned experts in the fi eld of Acupuncture, who has also been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in the fi eld of medical Acupuncture for his tremendous work.

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE AND WHAT ARE ITS POTENTIAL BENEFITS? 

Acupuncture is a traditional form of oriental medicine, which originated in China and is being practiced by therapists all  over the world now. Acupuncture treatment consists of inserting very fi ne needles at specifi c points on the skin, which are located near nerve endings. Th is has two eff ects – fi rstly, it stimulates specifi c nerves, which transmit electrical impulses via the spinal cord and brain, to  the diseased area. Secondly, it stimulates  elease of chemical  substances like  endorphins and encephalins from the brain centres to form the body’s own  mechanism for treatment and pain relief.

HOW IS IT USEFUL IN TREATING  VARIOUS DISORDERS?

The efficacy of acupuncture has been scientifi cally proved. Aft er a lot of research in China, America, Canada, Germany, etc, following eff ects of acupuncture have been found in treating various disorders:

> Analgesia and Anaesthesia: When acupuncture is done, morphine like  substances (Endorphins) are released which bind on opiate receptors of brain cells and bring pain relief.
> Homeostasis: Encephalins and serotonin balance body functions,  maintain heart rate and blood pressure.
> Motor recovery: Hastens recovery from paralysis.
> Psychological eff ects: Sedation, calming, tranquilising eff ect treats  stress-related diseases.   Immune enhancing effects: Increases immunity of the body.

PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACUPUNCTURE COURSE AT IGNOU? HOW IS IT UNIQUE AND BENEFICIAL FOR THE STUDENTS?

IGNOU offers a post graduate diploma in Acupuncture. It shall help graduates of diff erent systems of medicine to learn a new modality of therapy and utilise it for patients’ benefi t in treating acute and chronic diseases. This is the first medical programme, which is offered online. The programme is offered in English. Eligibility The programme is available to Medical graduates (Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Naturopathy).  Duration The programme can be completed in a minimum period of 1 year and a maximum period of 3 years.

Special Features of the Programme The special feature of the programme is its excellent study material developed not only by specialists and experienced Acupuncturists (Dr. Raman Kapur and Dr. Sunita Kapur), but also specialists in  computer, communication and media technologies.

This is the first medical programme which is being off ered online. Th is is an initiative of IGNOU to develop in-house learning and content management system for imparting online education. It is a complete virtual learning environment covering all activities from registration to  certifi cation. Th e following features are available in PG Diploma in Acupuncture online programme:
> Registration: Registration forms have been specially designed for online registration with the facility of uploading scanned certifi cates, other required documents and photograph. Facility for online payment is available  through the payment gateway of AXIS Bank.

> Integrated multimedia courseware: Once registered, learners are given a password to have access to personalised learning space (My Page). Th is includes self instructional material.

> Online counseling and mentoring: Web cast based counseling integrated with text based chatting facility is used for counseling purposes.

> 24×7 learner support: Asynchronous and synchronous modes of interaction are used to provide just in time support to  learners (content specifi c queries can be sent to sunita@ icanm.com).

> Continuous evaluation: This programme adopts continuous evaluation system through assignments, practical work, web conferencing and term-end  examination.

> Contact sessions: Th ere are 4 contact sessions in each academic yea have been specially designed for  online registration with the facility of uploading scanned certifi cates, other required documents and photograph.  Facility for online payment is available through the payment gateway of AXIS  Bank.

> Integrated multimedia courseware: Once registered, learners are given a password to have access to personalised learning space (My Page). Th is includes self instructional  material.

> Online counseling and mentoring: Web cast based counseling integrated with text based chatting facility is used for counseling purposes.

> 24×7 learner support: Asynchronous and synchronous modes of interaction are used to provide just in time support to learners (content specifi c queries can be sent to sunita@ icanm.com).

> Continuous evaluation: Th is programme adopts continuous evaluation system through assignments, practical work, web conferencing and term-end examination.

> Contact sessions: Th ere are 4 contact sessions in each academic year  Duration of each contact session is 10 days. Th e contact sessions are held at the Programme Study Centres. Normally one contact session is held in each quarter of the  year, the dates of which are fi nalised by the Programmein- Charge in consultation with the students.

> E-tutor based practical: Online instructions and e-tutorials for hands on practice of Acupuncture needling methods and Moxibustion are used for the practical sessions. Multimedia  manuals for self learning are provided online.

>Group based online seminar: Blogs, chat rooms, discussion forums and web conferencing facility are used for  group based seminars.

>Term-end Examinations: Th e theory term-end examination are conducted by IGNOU at the identifi ed examination  centres. Practical examination is conducted at identifi ed PSCs.

>Last date for registration is 31st December, 2010.  Advantages of Learning Acupuncture for Medical Professionals

>Use it as a fi rst line of treatment for the patients, who are willing, as it does not have any side eff ects.

>Use it as second line of treatment for the patients, who are not responding to routine medical treatment.

>Use it as an adjuvant therapy along with medicines, physiotherapy, homeopathy, etc.

>Useful for all specialists including family physicians, ENT specialists, Orthopaedicians, Dermatologists, Opthalmologists, Dentist, Gynaecologists, Cardiologist, Neurologists, Anaesthetist, Gastroentrologists, Paediatricians and Psychiatrists.

HOW IS THE COURSE STRUCTURED TO INCLUDE BOTH THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL ASPECTS?

Credit System Th is progrmme is of 32 credits. Th e programme will have six theory and four practical components. Programme Structure The PG Diploma in Acupuncture programme consists of 10 courses. Th e 32 credit programme, comprises 6 theory courses and 4 practical  courses. Th e courses are designed  on the basis of learning hours required by an average student. As mentioned, one credit represents 32 hours of learning.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE PROGRESSION OF THIS COURSE?

Our main aim is to popularise this eff ective modality of treatment amongst all medical doctors so that, it becomes available to patients of all acute and chronic diseases. Our main endeavour is to increase the strengths of students as much as possible. For this, we are  delivering promotional lectures at all medical colleges.

We would also like to set up study centres for this course in every city of India, so that student learning becomes easier.

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