Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Physical Therapy


Jeffrey Rothman

Subject Categories

Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Medical Education | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Traditional Chinese Medicine, physical therapist education


The objective of this study is to assess the current level of inclusion of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Doctor of Physical Therapy curricula in the United States. This survey provides self-reported data regarding the challenges associated with incorporating TCM into the curriculum. All 228 CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education) accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs were included in this survey instrument. A College of Staten Island (CSI) Human & Animal Protection Office (HARPPO) approved survey was e-mailed to the chairperson of each DPT program and respondent data was stored via a secure Survey Monkey® online database. Returned surveys were analyzed descriptively to characterize tendencies and variability. Data were summarized in a frequency distribution for each category. A qualitative analysis was completed for any explanatory data. Ninety DPT programs (39%) responded to the survey instrument. Findings suggest that 58% of responding programs expose their students to TCM. Most commonly included TCM techniques were: tai chi (54%), acupuncture (45%), and acupressure (44%). Forty-nine percent of respondents claim that time restrictions act as the greatest barrier to the incorporation of TCM in the curriculum. These findings suggest that the majority of physical therapy students are exposed to TCM, in one form or another. Program chairpersons and faculty believe the inclusion of TCM can assist their students in treating patients with a variety of diagnoses and conditions. Thirty-eight percent of respondents agree that TCM can/does positively contribute to their DPT curriculum and to the overall education of their students. It is suggested that more time is dedicated to introducing TCM topics in order for students to have the ability to communicate with other disciplines and patients about such treatment techniques. Students should also have a greater knowledge base such that they are able to utilize a greater variety of evidence-based techniques in clinical practice.