Introduction to acupuncture

Our introduction to acupuncture course offers a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how acupuncturists apply Chinese medicine theory to diagnose and treat patients.  

Course overview

This online course is designed to introduce you to the key concepts of acupuncture applied to two real-life examples discussed throughout.  The self-review questions help you to clarify your understanding as you work through the course.  It is anticipated to take 16 hours to complete.

The course follows two patients with very different complaints commonly seen in a treatment room. New concepts are introduced to you to learn more about the patients and how best to treat them.

This course is suitable for you if you are:

  • Interested in studying on our degree course and want an introduction to Chinese medicine
  • A practitioner of a different discipline and would like to understand acupuncture
  • Interested to know more about acupuncture, but don't want to study for a degree

This course is not suitable to you if you want to diagnose and treat patients.  To be able to do that, you will need to complete our degree course.

Course outline

The course is divided into seven sections covering:

Lesson 1: Qi and yin and yang. Learn about these underlying principles of Chinese medicine philosophy and how these principles can be applied to us all.

Lesson 2: Full/empty and hot/cold.  These are four categories of the '8 principles' and provide a framework for diagnosing any condition.

Lesson 3: Tongue and pulse diagnosis.  Using photos of tongues, you will be introduced to the variety of tongue coatings, colours, sizes and shapes and the significance of these in diagnosing patients.  You will also gain an appreciation of what an acupuncturist feels when taking a pulse and what this indicates about a patient's health.

Lesson 4:  Channels of qi.  Learn the difference between yin and yang channels and map the channels relevant to the two case histories presented throughout this course.  Learn how palpating channels can be a source of diagnosis.

Lesson 5:  Causes of disease.  These are categorised into three: internal, external and miscellaneous.  An appreciation of these helps to find out why a patient has become ill and can therefore help them to gain more control of their health and wellbeing.

Lesson 6: Traditional Chinese medicine.  

Lesson 7: Five elements. 

Our unique degree course integrates these two schools of acupuncture, TCM and five elements.  TCM diagnoses by identifying patterns of disease, called syndromes, which are made up of presenting signs and symptoms.  Symptoms are what the patients might complain about, for example feeling angry or having a headache, whereas a sign is something that can be palpated or observed, for example a red face or a certain voice tone. 

Five element acupuncture treats at a constitutional level, with the understanding that we are all born with a predisposition to certain illnesses according to our 'constitutional type'.  Diagnosing this type is achieved through observing subtle shades of colour on someone's face, the tone of their voice, their odour and most importantly their emotional state.

Both schools of acupuncture (Five element and TCM) can be used independently of one another to diagnose and treat, but when combined, they can have an immediate and profound benefit to health and recovery.  The two case histories used throughout the course will show the difference between these two methods and highlight how they can be combined for greater effect.



Assessment is entirely through review questions.   There are no written exams or assessments.

Dates and cost

The course runs continuously.

The course is £75.

If you wish to study on the degree course, the introduction to acupuncture course fees can be offset against the BSc acupuncture fees. 

Entry Requirements

There are no entry requirements.

How to apply

Pay below. You will receive your course login details via email.

If you have any further questions please email Jo Brown


Please note that we can only ship items within the UK.