What is tuina?

Tuina can be used as a standalone treatment or integrated with acupuncture or Chinese herbs. This potent therapeutic massage system can increase the effectiveness of your treatment by:

  • adding a thorough hands-on palpation-based approach to your skills set with diagnosing specific muscular-skeletal injuries
  • improving your palpation abilities to strengthen your acupuncture
  • providing you with a deeply calming and relaxing treatment with yields powerful results
  • allowing you to apply pressure and stimulation to acupuncture points for needle phobic patients
  • combining with acupuncture to strengthen your treatments, speeding up the healing process
  • allowing you to confirm your diagnosis and treatment through the use of your hands and your enhanced ability to feel the body’s qi and blood imbalances


Course overview

This one-year practical course will equip you to use tuina as a stand-alone therapy or as an adjunct to your acupuncture practice.  The course is presented by Alexander Evans.  He will be joined by Rebecca Avern, Mandy Barter, James Unsworth and Kevin Young.

As a practical course, there is a focus on developing the practical skills and techniques needed to become a competent tuina practitioner.

The teaching team have a broad range of specialisms which are combined with their passion for tuina.


Module 1 Diagnosis and Techniques.

Introduces the 16 most common techniques used in clinical practice.  This module will teach you to:

  • be able to use structural analysis and channel palpation skills
  • be able to diagnose and differentiate various pathologies by practicing on each other
  • match techniques with diagnosis
  • Protect yourself using qigong


Module 2 Specialist and compound techniques.

Building on the techniques already taught and assessed, students will learn and demonstrate specialist techniques of reflexology, facial treatments, paediatric tuina and the most commonly used sinew stretches.  Compound tuina techniques will demonstrated as well as how to combine acupuncture and tuina modalities.


Module 3 Treatment planning and clinic preparation.   

Prior to clinic, students will:

  • understand optimum patient positioning
  • identify red flags and blocks to treatment

The learning will be brought together with patient in class.  You will devise a treatment plan and be able to demonstrate this on a classmate.


Module 4 Clinic.

This takes place in the college clinic under supervision and will be assessed on an ongoing basis.  In addition to clinic, there will be class discussions on patients and lectures on various topics ranging including standard treatments for common ailments, treating chronic conditions and the use of balms and oils.

Entry requirements

Qualified acupuncturists and 3rd year acupuncture students are eligible.  Students are assessed on a regular basis and will need to complete both training and clinical assessment workbooks in order to successfully complete the course.  

Overview and dates

Phase 1: Diagnostics and Techniques


Phase 2 Specialist Combined Techniques & Practice


Phase 3: Pre Clinic


Phase 4: Clinic


Phase definition:

Phase 1: Diagnostics and Techniques

Phase 2: Specialist Combined Techniques & Practice

Phase 3: Pre Clinic Prep

Phase 4: Clinic



How to apply 

Download an application here and email to Jo Vinall, Registrar. To pay the £100 application fee please click here.



Alex Evans (course director and principal teacher)

Alex's first degree is in electronic engineering where he forged a successful career in the software industry, working in silicon valley companies as an executive vice president.  He is a graduate of CICM and has diplomas in tuina and Chinese herbal medicine.  Alex studied Chinese herbal medicine in Beijing with Dr Suzanne Robidoux and Dr Feng Shi Lun.  He runs a thriving mulitbed clinic and our tuina clinic.  He works with patients living with Cancer at the RBH with the charity My Cancer my Choices.

Rebecca Avern

Rebecca is a senior lecturer, clinical supervisor and teaching clinic director at CICM.  Soon after qualifying in 2001, she spent 4 years working alongside and assisting Giovanni Maciocia in the writing of Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine.  In 2012, she founded an acupuncture centre for the treatment of children in Oxford – the Panda clinic.  She teaches paediatrics at undergraduate and post-graduate level, most notably a year-long paediatric course at CICM.  She is the author of the textbook Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers, which was published by Singing Dragon in 2018.

Mandy Barter

Mandy qualified as an acupuncturist in 2007 and completed the tuina course shortly after.  She uses tuina in everyday practice and brings her skills as a reflexologist also in her lectures.  In 2015, she co-founded My Cancer My Choices, a charity which provides complementary therapy to people diagnosed with cancer right at the start of diagnosis.  The charity has supported over 700 people with cancer and provided over 3,000 treatments including acupuncture and reflexology.

James Unsworth

James originally trained at CICM and has been practising acupuncture for many years and teaching for the last 17.  He studied tuina at Westminster university and has taught on our course for the past 8 years.  James has much experience with channel palpation with Dr Wang Ju-Yi in Beijing and continues to explore this in his current practice.  He has a special interest in the historical development of Chinese medicine and exploring modern interpretations of traditional Chinese medical theory.

Kevin Young

Kevin studied acupuncture and tuina at Westminster University.  He is a state registered, chartered physiotherapist and has qualified in sports therapy and sports massage, specialising in the treatment of sports injuries with acupuncture.  Additionally, he has an MSc in lower limb musculo-skeletal studies from Cardiff University.  Kevin lectures in anatomy, structural diagnosis, sports taping, tuina and lower limb and running mechanics on degree and master’s programmes.  He has a special interest in lower-limb injuries and treating tendinopathies with acupuncture and tuina.