The curriculum

Study is undertaken at three levels (levels 4, 5 and 6), which correspond to each of three years of study.  The course is made up of modules which are linked as six themes (known as programmes) running throughout the course, providing a balance of theoretical and practical skills.  The topics covered within the six course programmes are listed below. More than a third of all contact hours are dedicated to clinical observations and clinical practice.

Chinese medicine level 4

  • History of Chinese medicine
  • Yin/yang
  • Five elements
  • Colour, sound, emotion and odour
  • Functions of the organs/officials: lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidneys, pericardium, triple burner, gall bladder and liver
  • The substances: spirit, qi, jing, blood and body fluids
  • Internal, external and miscellaneous causes of disease
  • Eight principles
  • Types of points
  • Diagnosis of mind, body and spirit
  • Husband-wife imbalance
  • Aggressive energy
  • Syndromes of all yin and yang organs
  • Combined syndromes 

Chinese medicine level 5

Differentiation of common disease patterns from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, including: lower back pain and musculo-skeletal problems, gynaecology (including premenstrual tension, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, infertility, menorrhoea, discharges, late periods, short cycle), diarrhoea and constipation, headaches, post viral syndrome, hypertension, asthma.

  • The jingluo system
  • Phlegm and damp
  • Dietary therapy
  • The function of points of all the organs
  • Seven dragons
  • Entry and exit points
  • Miscellaneous points
  • Windows of the sky points 

Chinese medicine level 6

Differentiation of common disease patterns from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, including: windstroke, skin disease, epilepsy, mental diseases, atrophy syndrome.

  • The treatment in childbirth
  • The treatment of children
  • The treatment of addiction
  • The eight extra channels
  • Overview of complementary therapies
  • Auricular acupuncture
  • Six stages, four levels, three jiao
  • Bereavement and care of the dying
  • Electro-acupuncture
  • Deep pathways of all channels 

Conventional medical science levels 4, 5 and 6

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical medicine
  • Structural diagnosis
  • Conventional clinical skills
  • Resuscitation and basic first aid
  • Energetic interpretation of diseases and drugs
  • Warning features of disease

Point location level 4

  • Introduction to channels, points and point location
  • Location of 'command' points of all yin and yang channels
  • Location of lower sacral, ren points, back shu and du points

Point location level 5

  • Location of body points including: shoulder points, upper jiao points, middle jiao points, lower jiao points, entry and exit points, dragon points, thigh and groin points, head points, windows of the sky and neck points, face points, upper arm points, miscellaneous points
  • Review of all points

Research and reflective practice levels 4, 5 and 6

  • Introduction to reflective practice
  • Introduction to, and exploration of, different paradigms of research in Chinese medicine
  • Clinical observations
  • Clinical audit
  • Proposal for dissertation
  • Tutorials for dissertation

Professional practice levels 4 and 5

  • Patients in class
  • Taking a case history
  • Traditional diagnosis
  • Case history analysis
  • Discussion of diagnosis, treatment strategy and aetiological advice
  • Treatment reactions
  • Ethics and patient management
  • Case histories in class

Professional practice level 6

  • Treating patients under supervision in the student clinic
  • Clinical class discussions
  • Clinical observations
  • Overview of complementary therapies
  • Setting up in practice
  • Deciding who to treat
  • Keeping accounts
  • How to talk to patients
  • Bereavement and care of the dying
  • Promoting your practice
  • Supervision and continuing professional development
  • Patient management and boundaries in the treatment room 

Acupuncture skills and techniques levels 4, 5 and 6 

  • Rapport making skills
  • Structure of the emotions
  • Patient interaction and emotion elicitation
  • Facial characteristics of emotions and observing the face
  • Learning skills and memory aids
  • Colour, sound, emotion and odour exercises
  • Pulse diagnosis
  • Tongue diagnosis
  • Needle technique and clean needling
  • Moxibustion and the use of moxa sticks, moxa cones, moxa boxes, and moxa on a needle
  • Cupping
  • Cutaneous and bleeding needle
  • Introduction to guasha
  • Palpation and needle technique for channel problems
  • Tuina


  • "I wanted to become an acupuncturist because I had experienced its amazing benefits…studying acupuncture at CICM was one of the best decisions in my life.”

    Ehsan Salout

  • "I love the teaching at CICM, it is varied, interesting and extremely inspiring and the teachers all have a wealth of experience to draw on.”

    Keeley Farrington

  • “CICM was suggested by an acupuncturist I know and recommended for its high-quality tuition and professional approach. I knew I wanted to explore a degree course and after my open day experience I knew it had to be CICM.”

    Michelle Patrick

  • "I recently joined CICM and there are so many things I love about the place. The teachers are genuinely helpful and want us to do well. The place has a calm, harmonic feel and studying has already had a tangible benefit to my lifestyle and health."

    Erica Chen

  • "I was an electrician before I started studying acupuncture. It might not seem like it but there are overlaps between them, you look at a circuit and work out where the problem is coming from and then rectify it. The difference is with acupuncture I’ll help people to get better!"

    Jack Keeping

  • "Since embarking on this course, I have been astounded every day by the passion that this subject has sparked in me. I realised very quickly that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. I can only describe it as finally finding my place in the universe and becoming part of something much bigger than myself."

    Sally Connelly

  • "I wanted to become an acupuncturist as I prefer to use natural remedies which are in line with my faith and cultural background. I have witnessed the profound effects treatment can have on patients. CICM has an excellent reputation and I love the whole package here, especially the staff and supportive teachers."

    Bev Holder

  • "I appreciated the integrated style of TCM and the five elements as being the most profound way to reach and help people. This was the best possible start to a long acupuncture career that I could possibly wish for."

    Bethan Morgan

  • "My years at CICM will always hold a special place in my mind. It was like entering Hogwarts. The subjects are mind-expanding, the teachers and tutors really passionate and always keen to answer questions and give guidance. It has transformed me as a person and changed the way I see people, emotions, relationships, disease and health."

    Efthymios Fotenios

  • The teachers are really supportive and make every effort to tailor how they teach to suit the different styles of students. I like to question things and look at things from different angles - and the teachers have always supported me by being there to answer things by email after class, recommend further reading, or even being there to support me when I set up a Chinese medicine society for the college.

    Helen Reid

  • The course covers a huge range of topics, angles and perspectives, and whilst so much of it is new, unfamiliar and challenging at times- especially the 'hands on practical aspects- I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing, or anywhere else I’d rather be doing it. CICM is a hub of connection, commitment and energy, and something I am honoured to be part of.

    Ellie Farnfield

  • All of my teachers are practicing therapists with a library of information and experience to reinforce their words and the lectures. I have gained a lot of insight into myself and I often find myself reflecting on what we learned in class and applying it to life. I am recommending the course to everyone I know!

    Jacob Marley

  • As I was in my late forties I was concerned that I was too old, however the Open Day dispelled any doubts that I had as the age range of students and staff spanned from 18 to 80. The beautiful building was a joy to explore and I felt immersed in the world of Chinese Medicine. It was a cocoon of learning in the heart of Reading and only ten minutes’ walk from the train station.

    Samanthan Roderick