School of Biomechanics, Sports and Remedial Therapy

Acupuncture to Enhance Sports performance

Acupuncutre to Enhance Sports Performance

Acupuncture already have a long history of helping athletes (particularly in the Beijing and the 2012 London UK Olympics) reach the best possible condition pre-Olympic and pre-event, as well as helping them recover faster and feel better following rugged competition. 

This course is designed to allow physiotherapists and sports therapists to advance their knowledge in the use of acupuncture to enhance sports performance (cardiorespiratory, muscle strength, anaerobic and aerobic capacity, and recovery of DOMS) in recreational and elite athletes. It will enhance your understanding of treatment dose, needling techniques to influence the sympathetic nervous system, which is required for enhancing sport performance and the parasympathetic nervous system which is required for pain management and the recovery heart rate following intense training sessions.

Course overview

Exercise science and the use of acupuncture to enhance sports performance

Fiona hughes treadmill test

cycling performance

The course will present evidence based practice from current research, some of which has been undertaken by the tutors. During the workshops theory is linked to practice, providing a deeper understanding and reinforcement of previous work through lectures and mastering practical skills based on what you have already learned. Students will have the opportunity to gets hands on clinical experience through assessing colleagues utilising key equipment to perform fitness assessments in order to assess VO2max, Lactate pre-post exercise, and changes in muscle strength following acupuncture treatment. 

Psychological effect of acupuncture on athletes

Anxiety and worry is a common emotion that athletes at all levels experience to various degrees before competition. Whether it is anxiety due to performing in front of large audiences, worry of not meeting expectations or simply competing in an unfamiliar environment, worry can prevent athletes from achieving that competitive and intuitive state. This state, often referred to as “the zone” or “tunnel vision”, allows the mind and body to act in complete unison in which the athlete can bypass the higher functions of cognitive thought and react in a faster, more instinctive state. When in stressful and anxiety-provoking circumstances, some athletes have been observed to experience deficits in performance, even to the point of “choking.” Thus, the relationship between anxiety and athletic performance has received considerable attention from researchers in the field of sport psychology.

On the second day of the course you will learn how anxiety affect athletes and  how acupuncture can be used effectively to relieve anxiety and nervousness by relaxing the athlete and increasing circulation throughout the body.

Duration of the course

The is over 2 days (Saturday/Sunday).

Target Group and Entry Requirements

The Acupuncture to enhance sports performance course is designed for registered healthcare professionals physiotherapists and podiatrists, osteopaths, who are involved in treating competitive and elite athletes. To get full benefit from the course therapists will need to be in a position where they are regularly treating recreational/competitive athletes. Therapist will need to have completed a recognised foundation course in acupuncture and hold the relevant insurance to practice acupuncture. Candidates must hold a current malpractice or professional liability insurance policy, which covers them for the of acupuncture. candidates must be in good health, since the course involves a practical component. Note: This course is not suitable for pregnant students as the health and safety of the mother and foetus is paramount.


During the course students will have the opportunity to undertake short experimental procedure to demonstrate the effect of acupuncture on enhancing muscle strength and circulation. Exercise science will be discussed and how acupuncture can affect various parameters of human performance. 

Study hours and course delivery

In order to achieve the learning objectives set out in this course the following teaching methods will be employed. 

14 hours face-to-face teaching consisting of: 

  • Lectures, demonstration, and working in groups of 3-4 to develop clinical reasoning.
  • Supervised practical skill sessions in small groups


The total course fees are £235

Payments can be made by cheque/cash. If you have a sponsor or source of funding to help you finance the course we will do what we can to help with the necessary documentation etc. Sessions missed by students still have to be paid for. In the event of withdraw from the class without at least fourteen clear day’s notice of inability to attend, or non-attendance at the class, the full fee shall be considered forfeit and non-transferable.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the acupuncture to enhance sports performance course successful students will:

  1. Have knowledge and understanding of the effects of treatment does and frequencies of manual and electro-acupuncture.
  2. Have knowledge and understanding of local, segmental, central and physiological effect of acupuncture in exercise and enhancement of sports performance.
  3. Have knowledge and understanding of how to deliver evidence of clinical reasoning and reflective learning, based on one’s own clinical practice. 
  4. Have an evidenced based knowledge and understanding of acupuncture point combinations for enhancing sports performance.
  5. Have knowledge and understanding of acu-point selection to enhance muscle strength in injured and uninjured athletes.

What the candidate must do:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the physiological effects of acupuncture on enhancing sports performance.
  2. Demonstrate a competence in utilising auricular acupuncture to enhance sports performance.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of health and safety and contra-indication of acupuncture.


 Principle tutor

Steve Bailey MSc, PGCE, MChS, MCSP,  

Physiotherapist, Podiatrist, and Acupuncture Practitioner (Musculoskeletal and Biomechanical Specialist)


Steve Bailey is the principal of The School of Biomechanics, Sports and Remedial Therapies and the managing director of BP Orthotics Ltd.  He is an active sportsman, and practising Podiatrist, Sports Therapist, Acupuncture Practitioner and Physiotherapist with two successful clinics. Steve started his career in the armed forces as a physical training instructor before training as a physiotherapist. Over the past 20 years he has treated, coached and trained various teams and individual athletes up to national and international standards, which includes member of the British Judo Squad, Nottingham Forest Football Club, Coventry City Football Club, Sheffield United Football Club, and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. Steve has completed an MSc in lower limb biomechanics and an MSc in acupuncture and has been practicing both Western and Traditional Chinese acupuncture for over 10 years. He specialises in the treatment of sports injuries and utilise acupuncture to enhance sports performance in many of his patients. Steve has published a number of research articles concerning acupuncture in the management of musculoskeletal disorders, and has spoken at a number of conferences on this subject. He is a guest lecture at Coventry University on the MSc in physiotherapy.