School of Biomechanics, Sports and Remedial Therapy

Acupuncture in Sports Medicine

otley cycle race


In sports the majority of injuries occur in the lower limb mainly affecting the knee, ankle  and foot. With regards to soft tissue injuries muscular injuries account for about 30% of injuries in athletes predominantly affecting the quads, hamstrings and calf (Achilles tendon) muscle with hamstring injuries prevalence ranging from 8 to 25 percent, depending upon the sport (greater than 50 percent among elite soccer players). Groin injuries are not as common with an incidence of 0.8–1.3 injuries/1,000 h of athletic activity. However Achilles tendinopathy is relatively common amongst athletes involved in running and jumping activities. Effective management of these injuries are crucial in order to prevent reoccurrence and to enable athletes to return to their activity as quickly as possible.

Course overview

This course will allow students to effectively utilise acupuncture to relieve pain, quickly reduce swelling, hasten resolution of a haematoma, accelerate tissue repair, and restore muscle function and strength.   

The course will allows students to develop their surface anatomy and palpation skills in the location of acupuncture points. It aims to enhance students understanding of commonly used points in addition to the many extra and special point combinations. Student are encourage to locate tender acupuncture points associated with a range of musculoskeletal and associated disorders. Therapeutic effects of each points will be discussed and how they affect the musculoskeletal, circulatory, endocrine, neurological, and cardiovascular systems as well as the mind and the spirit. This allows students to build confidence in their ability to locate and select appropriate points in the management of a range of musculoskeletal disorders.

Western scientific understanding of the effects of acupuncture on wound healing and reduction of inflammation.

With a growing knowledge in the field of acupuncture analgesia this has lead to a better understanding of the physiological effect of acupuncture, which has set the way for evidence-based practice. Scientific explanation of the underlying mechanisms of how acupuncture can be utilised to significantly reduce swelling, enhance wound healing and build muscle strength following injury will be discussed. 

Common conditions will be covered such as Achilles tendonitis, muscle tears (hamstrings and calf), post-operative knee pain, ITB, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and tennis elbow and how dysfunctional biomechanics or trauma generates latent or active trigger points.

Students will also learn how climatic, environmental, insomnia, and emotional factors may generate or exacerbate injuries and methods of treating these conditions utilising western and TCM needling techniques.

Duration of the course

The course is over one day (Saturday or Sunday).

Target Group and Entry Requirements

The Acupuncture in Sports Medicine course is designed for physiotherapists, and registered healthcare professionals involved in treating recreational 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 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.

Study hours and course delivery

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

7 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 £125

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 special point combinations for managing acute and chronic sports injuries.
  3. Have an evidenced based knowledge and understanding of acupuncture point combinations for enhancing soft tissue repair and reducing swelling.
  4. Have knowledge and understanding of acu-point selection to enhance muscle strength in injured and uninjured athletes.

What the candidate must do:

  1. Demonstrate a competency in selecting appropriate acupoints (combinations) in the management of acute and chronic injuries.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the physiological effects of acupuncture on healing and pain management.
  3. Demonstrate a competence in utilising auricular acupuncture in the management of musculoskeletal and associated disorders.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the meridians, their course, diagnosis and injuries associated to each meridian.
  5. 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.