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Acupuncture Student – Tobias Donaker

intern tobias donaker white coatToby earned his undergraduate degree in anthropology from Southern Illinois University, attended a police academy and worked as a police officer before deciding to pursue an advanced degree in acupuncture.

“I studied anthropology because I always enjoyed different cultures and the different ways people perceive life in general,” Toby said. This is one of the many reasons acupuncture appealed to him.

“The biggest difference between eastern and western medicine is that eastern medicine doesn’t differentiate between mind and body, whereas western medicine does,” Toby explains. “Eastern medicine doesn’t separate structure and function, such as what is going on in our organs, whereas western medicine does. Eastern medicine tries to deal with the system as a whole to rectify a spectrum of conditions that are presented in the patient. On the other hand, western medicine is looking for the root cause and how we can affect a positive change in the patient. They both have their place, and I think you have to use both of them together to be an effective clinician.”

intern tobias donaker white coat aom dispensaryToby served as the president of the acupuncture and oriental medicine club on campus. “We meet every week and provide an environment for newer students to review and practice point location and point energetics with senior students. We also raise money to attend the national acupuncture conference in Chicago, as well as other local events.”

What does Toby think of the acupuncture program at NUHS? “It’s growing in a positive way. I think the program is really well laid out right now. It’s tough but it’s rewarding.” His favorite class? Diagnosis.

“If you’re going to do it, jump in head first. Don’t bring any preconceptions you might have about our own culture’s health care being the only correct medicine; be open to everything you’re taught. You may feel like a fish out of water for the first two trimesters, but afterwards it will start making sense,” says Toby.

He also says, “Make sure that you choose a school where the faculty are behind you 100 percent with the intent of making you the best practitioner you can be. Look for professors that are really intense about what they do and cling to them. Make them your mentors.”

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