Chinese nutrition and Yangsheng

The course is designed to give you a thorough grounding in Chinese nutrition and Yangsheng, enabling you to work with your patients’ dietary needs, habits and lifestyle to improve their health and vitality. The course will be delivered through a mixture of 20% face-to-face lectures, live zoom lectures (also recorded) and online learning. You will be expected to reflect on your own health – preparing food, considering the seasons and elements and exploring your own nutrition and wellbeing. There will be ongoing online class discussion as you try out recipes, share thoughts and explore the course content together.  

There is no end of course exam instead you will be assessed by completing ongoing online quizzes as you work through the course.  This homework will not be marked, but shared amongst your classmates as useful resources.


Acupuncture graduates or current third year clinical students.  Must have training in TCM.  For further information please contact Jo Brown

Dates and cost 2023

To apply for the course please fill in the application form and email to Jo Brown, along with your non refundable application fee of £100, payment link here.  This secures your place on the course and is offset against the fees. 

The course cost is £2,800 and there is an early bird discount of £150 if you pay fees in full by 14th February 2023.  For those who don’t take advantage of the early bird discount, full fees are due by 6 April 2023 or can be paid in instalments by monthly direct debit.

The course runs from 10.00-17.00.  Please note some of the days are face to face and some online, so check the schedule carefully.

Please note that whist this course is predominately online, there are several face to face sessions.

There is an option to complete introductory days 1-3 instead of the year long diploma for £525 as a stand alone CPD course  This gives you a thorough grounding in the basics of nutrition with the option of completing the year long course next year and not repeating these days.  It is not possible to complete the 3 days and then decide to continue with the year long course in the same year due to the interspersed nature of the scheduling. 

Day 1     14 April 2023    Online (Intro day 1)

Day 2     28 April 2023    CICM 

Day 3     12 May 2023     Online (Intro day 2)

Day 4     26 May 2023     Online

Day 5     9 June 2023      Online (Intro day 3)

Day 6     23 June 2023     CICM 

Day 7     14 July 2023      CICM 

Day 8     22 Sept 2023     Online

Day 9     6 Oct 2023        Online

Day 10   27 Oct 2023       Online

Day 11   10 Nov 2023      CICM 

Day 12   24 Nov 2023       Online

Day 13   19 Jan 2024        Online

Day 14   9 Feb 2024         Online

Day 15    23 Feb 2024      Online

Day 16    8 March 2024     Online


The course has four different modules – Chinese nutrition (8 teaching days), Yangsheng (5 teaching days), Western nutrition (3 teaching days) and qigong.  There is lots of crossover and interaction between the different modules to reinforce and enhance your understanding.  The first three days form a foundation level and can be completed on their own. The following thirteen days along with the foundation days form the diploma level.

Module 1 - Chinese nutrition

This will teach the fundamentals of Chinese dietary therapy.  We will look at how to work with overall diet, what a healthy diet might look like for different constitutions, considering proportions, foods to increase or reduce, dietary habits, etc.  We will also look at therapeutic diets for treating specific syndromes and conditions, acute and chronic and finally the medicinal uses of food to target specific health problems. The course will be divided into the following areas:

  • Introduction to Chinese nutrition and Yangsheng: we will explore the history of nutrition and Yangsheng in Chinese Medicine; review the digestive system; consider the microbiome from a TCM perspective; discuss food preparation methods and food energetics; look at the spleen at the centre, and how to return to a balanced diet.
  • General principles of healthy eating: we will discuss how, when and what we eat and how this influences health. 
  • Food energetics: this will start with an in-depth exploration of the flavour, qi/temperature and nature of foods.  We will then introduce the different food type before looking at each of the food types in detail one by one - grains, pulses, vegetables, roots & tubers, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, other animal products, herbs, spices and herbal teas. This will include recipes and meal suggestions for you to cook at home as you explore and experience the ingredients.
  • Herbs for nutrition: this will introduce 80 of the most important and fundamental foods that bridge the gap between food and medicine. These foods, which you are expected to learn, will be considered in a more detailed way with practical uses and recipes along with cards for easy reference.  This includes some of the ‘superfoods’ like ganoderma and chaga mushrooms, tea and honey; some of the important staples like potatoes, lentils, garlic and carrot; some of the Chinese medicinal herbs that are used in cooking like dang gui (angelica root), gou qi zi (goji berries), lian zi (lotus seeds) and huang hua cai (day lily); and many herbal tea ingredients like liquorice, mint, lemon balm and chamomile.
  • The elements & syndromes: here we will work through the elements, looking at how to treat each major syndromes (acute and chronic) integrating nutritional and lifestyle advice.
  • Theory & practice: in this module we look at nutrition in some specific areas – women’s health, mental health, weight loss, immune health, bowel and bladder health. We also explore sleep hygiene & sleep cycles and breathing. We will look at some of the practicalities – how to give successful dietary advice for different sorts of people; thinking patterns and good dietary advice; how making changes to breakfast, lunch and snacks can be powerful; how to use herbs and spices to influence the energetics of a meal; working with different levels of diet, from people whose diet need huge improvements to using specific foods to balance a very healthy diet.
  • Formulae & strategies: We look at some classical herbal formulae, and consider what this teaches us about a TCM diagnosis, and consider how we can use these as blueprints for designing meals. Many of these formulae contain collections of syndromes that we commonly see together in clinic.  For example, Xiao Yao San – Free and Easy Wanderer: to move liver qi, nourish, liver blood, harmonise spleen and liver and support spleen qi.

Module 2 - Yangsheng and the seasons

The Yangsheng section of the course will explore our relationship to the seasons in health and disease, looking at the four seasons, the twenty four solar terms, and the hou (or short divisions) of each of the solar terms as we pass through a year. We will not only learn about the seasons, but also try to experience them and how they affect our health and wellbeing. You will also learn to teach yangsheng to patients.

Yangsheng foundations. 

Definitions of Yangsheng from the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic. The four stages (Si Xiang) of the Tai Ji Symbol – Sheng, Zhang, Shou, Cang.

The relationship of the Si Xiang to:

  • The four (five) seasons (and times of day)
  • Physiology and pathology
  • Climatic changes
  • Qigong
  • Flavour and nature – foods and herbs

    1 Yangsheng earth day. Review of Si Xiang (four stages); Si Xiang vs 5 elements; Review of flavour and nature from the Huang Di Nei Jing; spleen, stomach and the middle; The ‘fifth xiang’ – Hua – Transformation; Qing Dan – Maintaining spleen qi; spleen and stomach disorders and their treatment; Si Shen Tang and its variations; 8 principles and the Shang Han Lun

A deep dive into the ‘exterior’

  • Opening and closing of the exterior
  • Exterior physiology and pathology
  • Exterior patterns and their treatment
  • Chinese dietary strategies

A deep dive into the ‘interior’

  • Opening and closing of the interior
  • Interior physiology and pathology
  • Interior patterns and their treatment
  • Chinese dietary strategies
  • Keeping yin and yang qi together throughout the year

    2 Yangsheng spring day:
     Sheng (growth) – Regulating opening and closing of the exterior
  1. Spring yangsheng from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  2. The physiology of ‘Sheng’
  3. A Review of the exterior
  4. Sheng flavour strategies from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  5. Sour spicy soup
  6. Sheng pathologies and their treatments with Chinese dietary therapy
  7. The 3 phases of spring
  8. Physiology and pathology in relation to spring phases and nutritional strategies
  9. Case studies and practice

    3 Yangsheng summer day: Zhang (maturity) – maintaining qi and fluids at the exterior.
  • Summer yangsheng from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • The physiology of ‘Zhang’
  • Zhang, the exterior, performance, expression
  • Heart and small intestine pathologies
  • Zhang flavour strategies from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • Dietary therapy for supporting vigorous exercise
  • Mung bean soup
  • Sheng pathologies and their treatments with Chinese dietary therapy
  • The 3 phases of summer
  • Physiology and pathology in relation to summer phases and nutritional strategies
  • Case studies and practice

    4 Yangsheng autumn day: Shou (gathering) – gathering, holding, securing the exterior.
  • Autumn yangsheng from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • The physiology of ‘Shou’
  • Holding, securing, calming
  • Review of the interior
  • Shou flavour strategies from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • Dietary therapy for preparing the body for cold weather
  • Dietary therapy for bowel disorders – lung and large intestine pathologies
  • Pear and fig soup
  • Shou pathologies and their treatments with Chinese dietary therapy
  • The 3 phases of autumn
  • Physiology and pathology in relation to autumn phases and nutritional strategies
  • Case studies and practice

    5 Yangsheng winter day: Cang (storage) – maintaining the yang fire on the inside
  • Winter yangsheng from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • The physiology of ‘Cang’
  • Cang – The challenge of storage
  • Cang flavour strategies from the Huang Di Nei Jing
  • Dietary therapy for stoking the yang
  • Dietary therapy for excess yang flaring on the interior
  • Chinese hotpot
  • Cang pathologies and their treatments with Chinese dietary therapy
  • The 3 phases of winter
  • Physiology and pathology in relation to winter phases and nutritional strategies
  • Case studies and practice

Module 3 - Western nutrition

In this part of the course we look at the fundamentals of Western nutrition, and particularly how this can help, support and inform our knowledge and practice of Chinese nutrition.  It will take place over three teaching days overall (half or full days).  We will look at how foods have changed over time, and how this affects our health today; how the toxins in our environment impacts our health; the importance of the liver; fermented foods and their benefits; how the GI index really works; myths and truths around macronutrients; the importance of micro-nutrients in our world today. Each of the below represents a half day of leaning. 

  • Introduction to macro/micro nutrients and the microbiome. Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, minerals and vitamins; health problems linked to inappropriate intake of these nutrients; differences between primary/secondary metabolites; plants as foods and medicines; introduction to metabolism, catabolism and anabolism; current terms used in Western dietetics and nutrition.
  • Dietary assessment methods, an overview of current options in the field. Popular diets. Effects of activity levels, age, environment and gender on nutrient requirements.
  • Plants as foods and medicines. Health & safety considerations.
  • A closer look at gut health. Primary functions of the liver; sluggish liver syndrome; common gut conditions explained; the liver & emotional wellbeing; the importance of cleansing.
  • Treatment of specific conditions. Autoimmunity & the autoimmune conditions; the adrenals & adrenal fatigue; women’s health.
  • The environment, food & our health. Health fads & trends. Lifestyle choices, tradition v health. The role of the therapist.

 Module 4 - Qigong

This part of the course happens during the first hour of most days of the course (9.00-9.50am) and is where we can focus on our own health and wellbeing.  Some of this information will also be useful for you to teach your patients.  This will include some simple exercises, stretches, breathing exercises, self-massage and meditation.

We will look at some of the following: 

  • Swinging arms qigong
  • Qi percolation exercises
  • Baduanjin - eight strands of the brocade - and some of the traditional qigong sets
  • Zhanzhuang (post standing) standing meditation (5 postures)
  • The Makka Ho channel stretches
  • Buddhist and Taoist breathing techniques
  • Liu zi jue - six healing sounds
  • Self-massage for eyes, hands, etc
  • Theory: three regulations, three treasures, three dantian and meditation


Danny has had a lifelong fascination with yangsheng and food, both as amateur cook, scholar and practitioner. He believes there is nothing finer under heaven than a healthy home cooked meal shared in good company. Since studying acupuncture and Chinese herbal Medicine in 1995 at CICM he has completed post-graduate diplomas in Chinese/Mandarin, academic practice, paediatric acupuncture and classical medical Chinese. He continues his studies with Nicolaas Herman Oving translating classical Chinese medical and philosophical texts. He has studied at Guangdong Second Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital, improved his clinical TCM  skills with Ken Lloyd over a seven year period, and has taught acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutrition at CICM, conferences and local acupuncture groups since 2001. He co-authored Chinese Dietary Wisdom with Greg Lampert.  Danny has also studied tai chi, qigong, and internal martial arts since 1990, embracing many aspects of yangsheng, and is currently a level 7 instructor (fortitude master) of practical tai chi, and senior instructor with the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain


Alex Jacobs is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and tuina practitioner with over 10 years of experience. He also teaches tai chi, qigong, Chinese dietary therapy and Yangsheng to the public. He first became interested in Chinese medicine while studying Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan in the early 2000s. After achieving fluency, written and spoken in both modern and ancient Chinese, he returned to the UK and gained a degree in acupuncture from the LCTA, a diploma in tuina from Asante college and a Masters degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine from the University of Westminster.  Following this he has undertaken extensive cpd with Andrew Nugent-Head in advanced bodywork and acupuncture, Frances Turner in the Shang Han Lun Jing Fang herbal style and Volker Scheid in advanced herbal medicine.  In 2017 he qualified as an Infinite tai chi and qigong teacher, and he is currently president of the RCHM.  


Rebecca O’Reilly is a certified holistic nutritionist and naturopath. She has been studying food, natural medicine and spiritual healing over many years and combines her background in science and natural medicine to empower people to overcome chronic and mystery illness and heal naturally, using food as medicine. Since early childhood, Rebecca was drawn to food, plants and nature, which she later turned to in search for answers to her own health symptoms. Through her healing journey and work with clients, she has gained a deep understanding of the body and the ways in which we can best reclaim our health and vitality.  Her greatest passion is teaching people how to use food as medicine in daily life and connect to the deep inner wisdom of food and nature.  Rebecca holds an Msc in Public Health Nutrition from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a diploma in Nutrition and Naturopathy from the College of Natural Medicine, London.


Daverick Leggett is a nutrition specialist and author of seminal works Recipes for Self-Healing and Helping Ourselves. He teaches in the UK and abroad. He first came to Chinese medicine via shiatsu and has taught the Zhixing Wang style of qigong for 25 years.

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