School of Biomechanics, Sports and Remedial Therapy

Medical Acupuncture and Dry Needling Course Level 1

needling shoulder

Medical Acupuncture and Dry Needling 

Download your application Form for Nottingham Level 1 HERE 

Level 1 Foundation

There are many different styles of acupuncture that are practiced today. While Acupuncture originated in China approximately 3,000 years ago, the practice spread over the Asian continent and developed its own regional adaptations. Several modern styles of acupuncture have been developed, incorporating western medical knowledge, to form hybrid systems of acupuncture. The term used to describe this practice of acupuncture is classified as western medical or dry needling. It is defined as the “insertion of acupuncture needles into muscles at specific locations”. In addition western medical acupuncture looks at the physiological response, such as the specific biomedical mechanisms involved when a needle is inserted into the skin, such as, the dermatomes, myotomes, spinal segments, neural pathway involvement and neuro-hormonal chemical stimulation.


The course will present evidence based research in Acupuncture to support its teaching. There is a strong emphasis on health and safety, needling techniques, contraindications and the importance in the selection of specific classical acupuncture and or myofascial trigger point in the management of common musculoskeletal conditions. This allows students to develop confidence and experience in the use of acupuncture. Students are encourage to critically evaluate and reflect on their own clinical practice and where applicable, challenge the existing evidence base.

The program will provide the required knowledge and understanding in the physiological effects of acupuncture on pain management and the healing process.

Study method

The Medical Acupuncture course is based on a spiral curriculum, which, allow an interactive revisiting of topics, subject or themes through out the course. The revisit of the topic/subject facilitates a deepening of your understanding with each revisit, which, should build on the previous encounter.

There two pre-course modules to prepare you for the practical components of the workshop, providing you with a basic understanding of traditional Chinese and scientific mechanism of acupuncture for the management of musculoskeletal and associated disorders. The self-directed home study module start by introducing you to the history of acupuncture, and the health and safety of acupuncture to prepare you for a practical and written assessment.

Study hours and course delivery

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

30 hours (minimum) face-to-face teaching consisting of:

  • Lectures, demonstration, and working in groups of 3-4 to develop clinical reasoning.
  • 4 webinar presentations
  • Supervised practical skill sessions in small groups.
  • Presentation skills (presentation of a case study to peers).
  • Reflective practice

 50 hours (minimum) self- directed home study consisting of:

  • Completion of 3 modules 
  • Prepare case studies reflecting own clinical practice
  • Production of an acupuncture policy

Power point presentation and a paper copy of the presentation for note taking support the lectures. A copy of the power point presentation can be forward to students on request. Students are advised that the power point presentations are protected by copyright © and should only be used by students on the course.


Assessment methods

Throughout each module a range of assessment procedures have been produced to assess the learning outcomes set out in the curriculum. The assessments consist of a combination of continuous and summative assessments.

The course is assessed via:

  • On-going practical assessments and oral questioning
  • Health and safety test (summative)
  • Practical assessments (needling) (summative)
  • Home study course work (formative)
  • Acupuncture case study (2000 words) (summative)
  • Short reflective case study to be presented to peers (10 minute


Continuous assessment consists of:
Observational practical skills (needling technique and point location), which prepares the student for objective structure practical examination and assesses the students psychomotor and communication skills.

Summative assessments consist of:

  • Practical needling test (>60% to pass and will account for 20% of overall grade).
  • Case studies (>40% to pass and will account for 30% of overall grade) Health and safety test (>60% to pass and will account for 25% of overall grade)
  • The application of acupuncture in the management of musculoskeletal disorders (>60% to pass and will account for 25% of overall grade)

            These test aim to assess students’ competency in applying acupuncture and their knowledge and understanding of the health and safety issues in acupuncture and allow the tutor to determine whether a student is competent enough to practice. The case studies assess students critical and higher order thinking, problem solving abilities, application of knowledge and decision making skills and provides reflective learning.

            All assessments need to be completed successfully by each student in order to pass the foundation in acupuncture course. If a student fails an assessment, he/she will have the opportunity to retake the assessment. Following each assessment/examination students will receive constructive feedback and where needed additional support and supervision will be provided from their course tutor.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the Medical Acupuncture Course successful students will:

    1.     Have knowledge of the indications and contra-indications of manual.

    2.     Have an understanding of myofascial pain and its management.

    3.     Have a theoretical understanding of the history of acupuncture,
meridians, classical five-element theory.

    4.     Have an understanding of local, segmental, central and physiological effect of acupuncture in pain management.

    5.     Have an understanding of the meridians, their course, diagnosis and pathology relating to each meridian.

    6.     Have an understanding of point selection in the management of musculoskeletal disorders

    7.     Have knowledge and understanding of how to deliver evidence of clinical reasoning and reflective learning, based on one’s own clinical practice.

    8.     Have an understanding of how to critically appraise research in acupuncture and relate the finding to improve own practice.

    9.     Have knowledge and understanding of how to practice in a safe and prudent manner, and to recognise emergency conditions and other circumstances that may necessitate referral to, or consultation with, their health care providers.

To ensure students achieve a range of academic skills the learning outcomes for this course are based on Bloom’s six level of learning outcomes (knowledge, comprehension, application of knowledge, analysis, synthesis and evaluate) as follows: Knowledge, comprehension and application of knowledge (1-9), analysis, synthesis and evaluate (4, 6, 7, 8) psychomotor skills (2, 9).

What the candidate must do:

    1.     Demonstrate a competency in applying manual acupuncture in the treatment of common disorders.

    2.     Demonstrate a competency in selecting appropriate acupoints (combinations) in the management of acute and chronic injuries.

    3.     Demonstrate an understanding of the physiological effects of acupuncture on healing and pain management.

    5.     Demonstrate an understanding of the meridians, their course, diagnosis and pathology relating to each meridian.

    6.     Demonstrate an understanding of myofascial pain and its management.

    7.     Demonstrate an understanding of health and safety and contra- indication of acupuncture


Duration of the course


There are three self-directed home study modules, four webinars and three workshops to attend.

Target Group and Entry Requirements

The Medical Acupuncture course is designed for physiotherapists, podiatrists osteopaths, chiropractors, nurses, midwives, and registered healthcare professionals. Candidates must hold a current malpractice or professional liability insurance policy, which covers them for the use 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.

Number of student per course

The numbers of places available is limited to 15 (depending on location) to ensure a low student to clinician ratio. Therefore, please note that applications will be accepted on a “first come first served” basis.


The aim of the Medical Acupuncture Course is to provide therapists with a sound knowledge and to develop their clinical skills and clinical reasoning in the use of Western and traditional acupuncture techniques in the management of musculoskeletal disorders.




The tutors on the course will provide supervision and guidance throughout your study. If you have any concerns or there is anything you don’t understand discuss this with your course tutor. Before or during the breaks of the workshops students can arrange to have a one-to-one tutoring to discuss matter that may be of concern. If you have any requirement (such as assistance with visual or hearing facilities) please inform your tutor or SOBSART on commencement of the course so that we may provide the required provisions.

Feedback from coursework and assessments

Following enrolment on the acupuncture courses we try to build a relationship with you to help remove any trepidation you may have before arriving at the first weekend workshop. We achieve this through providing immediate constructive feedback from the home-study course work and directing you to further reading so that you can gain a greater understanding of the subject in areas you may be weak. The feedback throughout the course will assist you in monitoring your performance and progress.

Giving formative feedback forms an integral part of our training and enables you to reflect on your own learning thus permitting you to find gaps in your skills and knowledge. With support in reflecting on skills gaps and then helping you set objectives to fill gaps, will allow you to keep on track.

A number of feedback methods are used on our courses to help students improve their learning experience; these are self, peer and spoof assessment, which ensures feedback after or during activity.





The total course fees are £495

All modules and workshops must be paid in advance. The Home Study Modules are payable on enrolment. £195 is payable on application for the home study modules. The full balance of the workshops will be paid at least 3 weeks prior to the start date.

Payments can be made by cheque/cash or debit/credit card. 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.

The recommended guided learning hours for this course is approximately 80 hours. The practical components of the course will be completed over 3 days.

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 Physiotherapist, Podiatrist, Sports Therapist, and Acupuncture Practitioner 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 12 years. He specialises in the treatment of sports injuries and utilise acupuncture in the treatment of sports injuries and 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. His first book “Western Medical and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture” is due to be published early 2017.


Foundation Certificate in Acupuncture Coursework


The course consists of a total of 80 hours. There are approximately 30 hours of supervised practical and theoretical training, which takes place online (webinars), within classroom and clinical settings. The remaining 50 hours are calculated as follows:

Background reading of research articles and general anatomy revision


Prior to attending the course you will need to revise your surface anatomy.

2 hours

Complete module 1-3 of the home study course work prior to attending the first weekend of the practical workshop.



Revision for a written safety test on part one day 2

15 hours




2 hours



Preparation of one detailed case study for 10 minute presentations.



Revision for practical assessment

-           Location and function of selected points


Review and write short notes on local NHS primary care trusts or private practice policy for acupuncture. To be discussed on day three

15 hours

Complete a detailed (2000 words) case study and two additional short case studies.


You have up to ten weeks following the course to complete and submit these case studies

17 hours


Part One



Day One


08.45 am


9.00 am



Health and safety assessment

11.00 am

Tea Break

11.15 am



locating and needling points along the:

-           Liver meridian

-           Gall Bladder meridian

1.00 pm


1.30 pm

Locating and needling points along the:


-           Kidney meridian

-           Urinary Bladder meridian

3.00 pm

Tea Break

3.15 pm

Locating and needling points along the:


-           Spleen meridian

-           Stomach meridian

5.00 pm



Part One



Day two


08.45 am


9.00 am


Point selection in the management of

−         Knee pain

−         Ankle pain


Practical group session

11.00 am

Tea Break

11.15 am



Locating and needling points along the

−         Small intestine meridian

−         Ren Mai

−         Du Mai

1.00 pm


1.30 pm

Myofascial trigger points continue


Practical group session

3.00 pm

Tea Break

3.15 pm

Practical needling and health and safety assessment

5.00 pm





Part Two



Day three


9.15 am


9.30 am

Acupuncture and Trigger Points in the management of

−         Neck pain

−         Shoulder pain

10.30 am

Tea Break

11.00 am

Locating and needling points along the

−         Lung meridian

−         Large intestine meridian

−         Heart, Pericardium meridian

−         Triple Energizer meridian

12.30 pm


1.30 pm

Acupuncture in the management of:

-           Hip Pain

-           Lower back pain


Practical group session

3.00 pm

Tea Break

3.30 pm

Practical session revision


Summarise the day

4.30 pm






I t is recommended that you obtain a copy of the required books below. Before attending the

 workshop please ensure you have a copy of A Practical guide to Acu-points as it highly referenced during the workshop.

Required Book

Chris Jarmey and Ilaira Bouratnos, A Practical guide to Acu-points. Lotus Publishing, 2008. ISBN 9780954318840. £24.99

Recommended Reading

Mike Cumming, Adrian White and Jacqueline Filshie, An Introduction to Western Medical Acupuncture. Churchill Livingstone. 2008. ISBN 13: 978-0-443-07177-5.

Gabriel Stux, Brian Berman and Bruce Pomeranz. Basics of Acupuncture. Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K. 2003.ISBN 3540442731

Hans-Ulrich Hecker, A. Steveling, E. Peuker, et al. Color Atlas of Acupuncture. Thieme Publishing Group. 2001. ISBN 3131252219

Peter Deadman, and Mazin Al-Khafaji with Kevin Baker. A Manual of Acupuncture. Second ed 2007, reprinted 2008. ISBN 9780951054659.

Nadia Ellis. Acupuncture in Clinical Practice - A guide for health professionals: A Guide for Health Professionals (Therapy in Practise). Nelson Thornes. 1999. ISBN 0748753133

Harris Gellman. Acupuncture Treatment for Musculoskeletal Pain: A Textbook for Orthopaedics, Anesthesia and Rehabilitation. Harwood Academic (Medical, Reference and Social Sc. 2001. ISBN 9057025167

Val Hopwood. Acupuncture in Physiotherapy: Key Concepts and Evidence- Based Practice. Butterworth-Heinemann. 2004. ISBN 0750653280