Acupuncture Courses

About CNM’s Acupuncture Course

What is Acupuncture?

The power of acupuncture to restore the health of body and mind is increasingly recognised throughout the western world. Acupuncture has an extraordinary ability to change people’s lives.

Acupuncture works on a deep level to help patients recover their physical and mental harmony. Acupuncture is becoming ever more popular in the UK, and opportunities for both independent practice and within the NHS are growing all the time. Acupuncture is viewed very positively by the House of Lords Committee, the British Medical Association, and the World Health Organisation.

Acupuncture study with CNM?

CNM’s Diploma Acupuncture Course provides high quality acupuncture training that equips graduates to build highly successful practices. CNM’s Acupuncture course is carefully structured so each study unit builds on the previous one. This allows students to develop their confidence and acupuncture skills – including 400 clinical hours – and reach their full potential as professional acupuncturists. Students are strongly encouraged to develop their own unique style of consultation and application.

Acupuncture Course Prerequisites

5 GCSEs or 2 A Levels, or equivalent academic and/or work experience.

If you are able to demonstrate previous study or work experience you may apply to gain exemptions from some units. Please contact us for more information and to see if you qualify for direct enrolment.

Course Syllabus

Part 1 (Biomedicine, Naturopathy Study, Acupuncture I)

Duration – 1 – 3 years


Duration – 1 year

  • Anatomy, physiology, pathology
  • Infectious diseases, oncology
  • Clinical diagnostic, differential diagnosis
  • Examination methods
  • Laboratory, pharmacology
  • Red flag symptoms
  • Drug interactions

Naturopathy Study

Duration – 1 year

  • Naturopathy
  • TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) 1
    • Chinese diagnostic, face, tongue, pulse, nail, abdominal diagnostics
  • Naturopathic Nutrition
  • First Aid Homeopathy
  • Introduction to Herbal Medicine
  • Naturopathy Clinics (Iridology)
    • History of Iridology
    • Technique of Examination
    • Topography of the Iris
    • Constitution, Disposition and Diathesis
    • Pupil Phenomena
    • Study of the signs
    • Study of pigments
    • Clinical application

Acupuncture year 1

Duration – 1 year

TCM Theory

This Unit gives an understanding of the basic concepts of Chinese medicine, including yin/ yang, qi, five elements, causes of illness (including diet, emotions, stress, climate). It gives a fresh and revealing insight into the forces which shape our lives.

Point Location 1

This Unit allows students to begin to locate acupuncture points with ease and confidence. At CNM we encourage students to “tune in” to the points, to feel the quality of energy in them. This helps refine the diagnosis. Students also learn key therapeutic functions of the points, and the profound effect each one has on the human person.

Practitioner Development and Ethics

This Unit helps students focus on setting up and maintain a thriving practice. It helps CNM graduates to build the support systems they need to reach their full potential as acupuncturists, and keeps them abreast of regulatory developments in the acupuncture world.

Part 2 (Naturopathic Principles and Acupuncture II)

Duration – 1 year

Naturopathic Principles

Duration – 1 year

  • Naturopathy & Detoxification
  • Bach Flower Therapy
  • Tissue Salts

Acupuncture year 2

Duration – 1 year

Practical Acupuncture techniques

As well as becoming confident in acupuncture, students learn other related techniques, such as moxibustion (burning a herb over certain points), vacuum cupping (to release toxins) and electro acupuncture.

TCM Pathology

In Chinese medicine there is a saying “one disease, many patterns”. This means that everyone who comes in is seen as an individual, with a unique pattern of imbalance. For any one disease, there are usually a number of different causes. For example, asthma may be due to a kidney weakness, a lung weakness, or “phlegm”. This Unit allows students to differentiate the causes of a wide variety of common diseases seen in clinic, including digestive problems, gynaecology, nervous system disorders, musculo – skeletal problems, breathing problems, and mental – emotional problems.

Point Location 2

This Unit refines and deepens the knowledge gained in “point location 1”. Students learn to locate acupuncture points with increasing ease and confidence, and gain the ability to select the right points for a variety of illnesses.

Clinical Observation

There is one unit of clinical observation, and three units of clinical practice, which together provide 400 hours of clinical experience. On completion of these hours, students should be confident to take control of treatments of a very wide range of disorders. The clinical observation unit is the start of the process, where students get the opportunity to see how acupuncture works, and the profound effects it can have on healing a wide variety of disorders.

Practitioner Development and Ethics 2

Part 3 (Acupuncture III and Dissertation)

Duration – 1 year

Acupuncture year 3

Clinical practice one, two and three.

In these units, students will be guided step by step towards becoming effective acupuncturists. They will be given ever increasing levels of responsibility as they go, until they are ready to become fully autonomous practitioners, able to treat a wide variety of disorders with confidence.

Practitioner Development and Ethics 3


This Unit will teach research methods, so students can identify best practice, and most effective techniques.


Students will be supported in writing a dissertation.

Summary of key subjects in the curriculum:

  • Introduction
  • Yin Yang theory
  • Causes of diseases
  • Five elements
  • Eight Principals
  • Meridians
  • Pathology Diagnostic
  • Differential Diagnostic
  • Pulse Diagnostic
  • Tongue Diagnostic
  • Case taking and follow up
  • Point location
  • Needle techniques
  • Cupping
  • Moxabustion
  • Bodywork techniques
  • Qi Kung
  • Respiratory System
  • Urogenital System
  • Digestive System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Pain, Headaches
  • Skin problems
  • Practice management


  • CNM Diploma in Acupuncture
  • CNM Diploma in Naturopathy

Course Overview

The Acupuncture course consists of  3 parts

Part 1 Biomedicine, 1 year, 10 weekends or 20 weekdays
Naturopathy Study, 1 year, 10 weekends or 20 weekdays
Acupuncture I, 1 year, 11 weekends or 22 weekdays

Part 2 Naturopathic Principles, 5 weekends or 10 weekdays
Acupuncture II, 1 year, 22 weekends or 43 weekdays

Part 3 Acupuncture III, 1 year. 21 weekends or 41 weekdays

Study Programme and Locations


  • Part time, weekends (London and Bristol)
  • Biomedicine modules are available in all UK Colleges including London, Manchester, Brighton, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol

Intake Dates

Typically, students enrol for the Autumn (Oct) and Spring (Feb) semesters. However, since our Biomedicine and Naturopathy courses are built around a modular system, new students can join a course throughout the year. Depending on your study schedule, the diploma courses can be completed in 3, 4 or 5 years.

Full time study

  • Year 1: (Part 1) Biomedicine, Naturopathy Study and Acupuncture year 1
  • Year 2: (Part 2) Naturopathic Principles and Acupuncture year 2
  • Year 3: (Part 3) Acupuncture Year 3 and Dissertation

Part time study

  • Year 1: (Part 1) Biomedicine
  • Year 2: (Part 1) Naturopathy Study
  • Year 3: (Part 1) Acupuncture year 1
  • Year 4: (Part 2) Acupuncture year 2 and Naturopathic Principles
  • Year 5: (Part 3) Acupuncture year 3 and Dissertation

Our course advisors are here to help you create a schedule that suits your needs – contact us for information.


Please contact our registration advisors for exact course pricing, discounts, and financing options.


Acupuncture Training

CNM Students are eligible to join the ANP (Association of Naturopathic Practitioners) and receive the following benefits:

  • Access to various databases for further research
  • Discounted indemnity insurance for clinical practice
  • Discounts from various companies
  • Reduced fees for special seminars, lectures, master classes, workshops
  • Free training to set up your business
  • Free mentoring for new graduates
atcm-logo ATCM (Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Naturopathy Training

CNM’s Acupuncture training is based on Naturopathic Principles. It covers additional Naturopathic topics which gives the CNM trained Acupuncturist a wider spectrum of therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

general-naturopathic-council-logo GNC (General Naturopathic Council). Graduates are eligible to apply for GNC registration.
ANP (Association of Naturopathic Practitioners) is a member of the GNC (General Naturopathic Council) which is the professions council for Naturopathy in the UK.

How to Apply

We advise you to first contact us and discuss your personal needs and goals. We can then assist you in tailoring a study schedule that suits your lifestyle and commitments. Our course advisors are knowledgable, friendly, and deal with students from all walks of life – please call us at +44 (0)1342 410 505, use our contact form, or email

Admissions Contact

Unit 1, Bulrushes Farm, Coombe Hill Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 4LZ
T: +44 (0)1342 410 505 F: (+44) 1342 410 90

Continuing Study Options

Further Study with the CNM

Students who have completed the Biomedicine, Naturopathy Study, and Naturopathic Practical study Units may opt to study the other specialist diploma courses, Homeopathy, Herbal Medicine, and Naturopathic Nutrition.


CNM graduates are fully equipped to become successful therapists. Statistics have shown that more than 80% of CNM graduates are practising. To advance therapeutic skills, CNM offers post-graduate courses and additional training. CNM graduates are eligible to enrol on BSc or MSc programmes at various universities. CNM is happy to guide its students in choosing the best programme for their individual needs.

What is Naturopathic Acupuncture?

by Henry McGrath (MA, MBAcC, MRCHM)

Rather than teaching acupuncture as a stand-alone technique, CNM has blended it with naturopathy. Henry McGrath, CNM’s Academic Director and Acupuncture Course Director, explains…

Acupuncture is part of a holistic approach

Right from the very time of its origins, around 2500 years ago in China, acupuncture has always been part of a whole package of healthy living. Rather than just focussing on the symptoms of disease, the acupuncturist would always try to find out the cause. In the famous book “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic”, the Emperor asks his Minister why people are not as healthy as they used to be, and why life expectancy is falling. The Minister explains that people’s lifestyles are less healthy than they used to be: in the past people ate properly, and tried to live a natural lifestyle, in harmony with the natural environment. Nowadays, however, people eat too much rich food, and don’t rest properly. One wonders what the Minister would make of our modern lifestyle, with its hectic pace, fast food and environmental pollution.

The Minister was clear that acupuncture must be supported by changes in lifestyle, or it would only be limited in its effectiveness. However, in the West acupuncture is all too often practiced outside this context, as a stand – alone technique, performed without any supporting advice on lifestyle and other supporting therapies.

This is why CNM has developed “Naturopathic Acupuncture”. Our students are taught from the very start to consider the causes of disease, and to educate patients in developing more healthy, sustainable lifestyles.

Traditional acupuncturists placed great emphasis on the body’s own healing power. Rather than forcing out illness using strong drugs, Chinese doctors tried to stimulate the body’s own innate healing power. This approach is always followed by naturopaths too.

All CNM acupuncture students are educated about the importance of nutrition. Acupuncture works by treating the “qi”, or “vital force”. However, as the Yellow Emperor explains, qi is produced by the food one eats. If the diet is poor, the acupuncturist has much less qi to work with. We find in the CNM acupuncture student clinic that patients who follow our dietary advice tend to get well really quickly, whereas those who ignore it get better more slowly. In fact, those who do not change their diets often hit a kind of ceiling on their wellness: they cannot get beyond a certain point without dietary changes. A good diet is one of the fundamental aspects of the Naturopathic approach.

Illness and wellness

Another key strand of Naturopathic Acupuncture is the promotion of wellness, not just the elimination of symptoms. All too often health is defined merely as an absence of disease. One feels unwell, goes to the doctor, and has a variety of blood tests and scans. The results come back showing no abnormalities: the patient is told they have nothing wrong with them. If the patient still complains of feeling unwell they are dismissed as a hypochondriac or a neurotic: perhaps the doctor will refer them for therapy or counselling.

On the other hand, according to the Naturopathic understanding, if a person does not feel well, then indeed they are not fully healthy. Illness is not something to be suppressed, it is the body giving a signal that something needs to change. This is why we focus on promoting maximum health, rather than just on preventing symptoms. Naturopathic acupuncture promotes wellness, rather than just on removing illness. Health is a journey, and with the Naturopathic approach we are always growing in wellness.

Naturopathic Acupuncture and the Environment

model-fullThe Yellow Emperor talks of living in harmony with our environment, a message our modern world needs to hear. Our lives are intimately bound up with the ecosystem which supports us. If we do not look after our planet, we will eventually become sick ourselves. By eating organic, naturally produce food, we are minimising our impact on the environment, and at the same time making ourselves more healthy. By cultivating a more balanced approach to life we heal ourselves and the planet together. For example, by walking or cycling instead of driving, we become fitter, and reduce pollution. By choosing recreations such as walking, instead of just watching television all the time, we do the same. It is a sad reflection on the modern approach to health that there is an epidemic of obesity among our children: this is no surprise given the amount of time many of them spend sitting in front of the television eating junk food. How can children expect to be healthy if they do not exercise and eat well? And yet the modern way is to give them harmful drugs to calm down their hyperactivity, when often all they need is proper food and exercise.

As we increase our wellness, we are less attracted to junk food, excessive alcohol and drugs. Our culture of bingeing is another sad reflection of our sickness as a society. When people are unhappy, unwell, frustrated, they want to block it all out with bingeing.

Naturopathic Acupuncture and the modern world

Acupuncture was developed in a very different world to ours. Our pattern of disease is therefore often quite different to that seen in ancient China. At the time acupuncture was developed, much disease was often caused by a simple lack of basic food, and by chronic overwork. In our society, by contrast, disease is often caused by an excess of toxicity. This is one reason why CNM has developed Naturopathic Acupuncture, in order to focus on reducing the level of toxins as part of the return to full health. In our experience, modern diseases benefit hugely from an approach which includes a method of detoxification.

So what are these toxins? They can include internally generated toxins, such as urea, or waste products of bacteria or yeasts. They can also include external toxins, such as drugs (illegal or prescription), alcohol, caffeine, food preservatives, pesticides, cosmetics, environmental pollutants and heavy metals.

The Naturopathic approach focuses on clearing toxins from the body, using the body’s own organs of detoxification. These organs include the lymphatic system, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the colon and the liver. By getting these organs to work more effectively, the body will release toxins and return to health.

Naturopathic Methods of Detoxification

According to the ancient Chinese, detoxification is best carried out in the spring. This is the time for rejuvenation and renewal of life. Naturopaths also follow this guidance, which is working with the laws of nature. Winter, on the other hand, is a time of building up reserves and resting.

acu-needlesIn such a short article it is difficult to describe all the methods of detoxification which we teach at CNM in great detail. Here we will just give a brief summary of some of the main methods taught at CNM.

Fasting is an important method of detoxification. This does not mean a total absence of nourishment, it means using juices and supplements which are easy to absorb and do not require much of the body’s energy to break down. Such fasts usually last only one to three day: longer fasts must be done with great caution under experienced guidance. Those who have done such fasts report a feeling of “lightness” and increased energy. In the short term, as toxins are released into the blood stream, people may experience headaches, nausea, skin rashes, body aches, or other symptoms. These will pass as the toxins leave the body. Fasting can be supported by various herbs and supplements.

Coffee enemas are used to flush toxins out of the body. Chemicals in the coffee pass into the haemorrhoidal veins and then into the portal vein. Other compounds in the coffee stimulate the production of enzymes which break down toxins such as free radicals in the blood stream. Colonic therapy can also be used, which passes filtered water into the whole colon.

Other detoxification therapies include saunas and steam baths; skin brushing; lymphatic drainage massage and exercise.

The exact types of Naturopathic methods used will depend on the type of diseases being treated, which is why it is important to have a good quality training programme such as that offered by CNM.


The ancient Chinese who developed acupuncture believed that disease should be treated by a wide range of interventions, designed to stimulate the body’s own capacity to heal itself. In the modern world, we need to pay particular attention to the need to detoxify the body. CNM’s approach of Naturopathic Acupuncture is specifically designed to combine ancient Chinese principles with the needs of today’s society, to produce maximum health benefits for all. We do not settle for getting rid of symptoms, we aim to promote a feeling of true wellness and vitality.

This article was featured in CAM Magazine – February 2011 Issue