Dr. Aaron Cashman, DAOM, L.OM., L.Ac, CYT, M.S.
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). Dr. Aaron received his doctoral training in San Francisco, California at the highly esteemed, ACTCM. American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) is widely considered one of the top few TCM schools in the nation and is the oldest TCM graduate school on the West Coast. Dr. Cashman also completed part of his doctoral training at TCM hospitals in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, China. Additional doctoral training included interning with the Director of Acupuncture Services in Brooklyn, NY, where acupuncture is performed alongside allopathy at the NYU Langone hospital.
In the USA, to practice Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, one is required to complete a 3-5 year Master's degree. A Doctorate is not needed, so only a very small fraction of US acupuncturists pursue doctoral-level education.
What is a DAOM?
DAOM refers to "Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine". Many various acronyms can follow an acupuncturist's name, which can be quite confusing. So, it is important to understand the sometimes significant differences between these titles. DAOM is the highest degree earned by a licensed acupuncturist and is a clinical doctorate that includes a significant research focus. Practitioners who hold a DAOM degree have pursued over 7 years of academic Chinese medical study- beyond their undergraduate degree training.
DAOM degrees require a minimum of 1200 hours beyond what is earned in a Master's degree program. By comparison, some other 'transitional' doctoral degrees require only 130 hours of additional training! Thus, a DAOM holder likely has over 1000 hours or more of training than TCM practitioners with transitional doctorates.
Dr. Aaron might be the first and only licensed TCM practitioner in the state of Pennsylvania with a DAOM degree (there are currently no other practitioners in PA with a DAOM degree, to his knowledge).
Dr. Aaron's doctoral research focused on the emerging phenomenon of Integrative Medicine in the US, which includes increased utilization of acupuncture for numerous conditions in hospital settings. Dr. Aaron completed most of his doctoral research at Zhejiang TCM hospital in China and at NYU Langone hospital in Brooklyn, NYC. During his doctoral program, he also completed externship training in Guatemala, where he practiced Pro bono acupuncture and herbalism alongside several very prominent, experienced acupuncturists, many of whom have taught at top TCM schools around the nation.
Master's of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM).
To earn a Master's in TCM, Dr. Aaron attended the highly-respected Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, California. Five Branches University is often considered one of the top 5 TCM universities in the US and recently became the first TCM university in the US to include a hospital residency program for its TCM medical students- at Highland hospital in Oakland, California. Five Branches University is very well-known amongst Oriental Medical Universities for its academic rigor, its very high CA Licensing Exam Pass Rate (often highest in California), its top-notch faculty from Asia, Europe and US...and for its excellent Chinese herbal medicine program. At Five Branches University, Aaron graduated in the top tier of his class.
MSTCM is a 4-5 year Master's degree program that prepares students for both California & National licensing exams. During the 4.5 years of study to receive a Master's of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Aaron successfully completed intensive Medical Internships in hospitals and clinics in both China and Taiwan and received additional certification from Five Branches University in 5-Element Acupuncture.
While attending Five Branches University, Aaron's clinical experience focused on Pain Management, Stress/Anxiety Relief, Chronic Illnesses/Internal Medicine, Women's health and 5-Element Acupuncture (which deals primarily with mental-emotional ailments).
As with doctoral degrees in TCM, at a Master's degree level, there are huge variabilities in the number of hours spent in training within the field of TCM in the US. In California, where Dr. Aaron received both his Master's and doctoral degrees, TCM practitioners licensed there are required to have undergone hundreds of hours of herbal medicine training- unlike in most other states where practitioners are trained in acupuncture but not the entire field of TCM, which includes herbalism. Those who are licensed acupuncturists (LAc) in California, like Dr. Aaron, are also given 'Primary Care Provider' (PCP) status, unlike in most other states. Thus, TCM Master's degree programs from universities in California tend to be longer, with far more hours, than the national average. Many acupuncture students in the nation can graduate with a Master's degree and attain a license in 3 years. However, in Dr. Aaron's Master's degree cohort in Santa Cruz, California, most graduated in 4.5-5 years.
Bachelor's of Psychology (B.A.). Dr. Aaron received a President's Scholarship to attend the liberal arts school, St. John's University, where he primarily studied Psychology and Literature. While at St. John's, Aaron received Acupuncture for the first time and took his first Tai Chi and Zen Meditation courses.
Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT). Dr. Aaron participated in Yoga Teacher Training in India, at the Sivananda Ashram, Madurai, India. As a Yoga Teacher-practitioner and Tai Qi enthusiast, Aaron also likes to incorporate aspects of Yoga/Postural Therapy into his Oriental Medicine practice, when needed. As a meditator who has sat in silent meditation for literally thousands of hours on numerous, intensive 10, 20 and 30-day courses in India, Nepal, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, California and elsewhere, Aaron is truly passionate about bridging the gap between the mind and the body- and helping others to do so as well.
While in my second year of college at age 19- over 20 years ago now- I had a minor hip surgery that left me weak and in pain. My Allopathic Doc (MD) gave me strong pain analgesics (i.e. Codeine) and told me to rest for a few weeks. The problem with resting in bed with painkillers was that I still needed to attend classes, study and take tests. While the strong painkillers helped relieve the pain, they also left me very tired and foggy-headed....not a good recipe for study and test-taking success.
That was when I decided to try Acupuncture for the first time. I was instantly astonished by how well it relieved the pain and greatly sped up the healing process of the hip. And it didn't hurt! Not only did it not hurt, it felt great ! I came out of each treatment feeling incredibly grounded and relaxed. I had repeated treatments while my hip was healing and became more and more fascinated by its efficacy with each treatment.
Before the acupuncture treatments, I thought that I would pursue a career in clinical psychology or writing. However, by the time my hip had healed, I was fully inspired by and immersed in the realm of 'Alternative Healing Modalities'. Subsequently, in an effort to delve deeper, I took numerous intensive Zen, Vipassana and other meditation courses. I read books on Ayurveda, Oriental Medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Yoga, Taoism, etc, and eventually ended up living and studying in India for roughly 2 years (in total).
After having lived, worked and studied in Asia for over 5 years (India, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan primarily), and after numerous Acupuncture/Oriental Herbalism, Ayurvedic, and Homeopathic treatments (to name a few), I decided it was time for me to go to graduate school to pursue my dream of becoming an Oriental Medicine Practitioner (Acupuncturist/Herbalist).
When I'm not biking or jogging around Philly, I can often be found studying Mandarin, reading, meditating, doing yoga or Tai Qi, or spending time with family and friends. I also deeply enjoy travel and learning about new cultures. And ping-pong!
Additional Education & Certifications
* Yoga Teacher Training (Certified through Yoga Alliance), Madurai, India.
* Medical Internship through China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
* Medical Internship through Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.
* Mandarin-language intensive 3-month training at China Cultural University, Taipei, Taiwan.
* Pali-language (a sister of Sanskrit) training (8 months) at Vipassana Research Institute near Mumbai, India.
* Western Herbalism for TCM Practitioners, with Darren Huckle, LAc & Paula Grainger, NIMH in Santa Cruz, CA
* 5-Element Acupuncture Certfication (through Five Branches University) in Santa Cruz, California.
* Trigger Point Acupuncture Workshop with Marketa Bilkova, L.Ac., in Santa Cruz, California.
* Hara Diagnosis Foundational Concepts taught by Master Acupuncturist, Kiiko Matsumoto in Santa Cruz, CA.