The TCM MSK Diploma course is a part-time weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) professional training course composed of eight modules. Each of the modules is designed as a specific CPD unit, so the whole course can be completed as an accumulation of the individual modules over one or more years. The course is specifically designed as an advanced, intensive course for acupuncturists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and other physical and sports therapists, who wish to broaden their knowledge and further their skills.
The emphasis of the course falls on the acupuncture (body and auricular), acupressure and stretching practical application of TCM and meridian theory in the treatment of a variety of common musculo-skeletal conditions. Functional anatomy, pathology, dissection, and imaging and palpation diagnosis form an integral part of the course.
The course includes a general TCM and acupuncture theoretical section, which serves as a foundation for the clinical section modules, and is essential for any non-acupuncture practitioners. The theoretical section is designed to provide sufficient knowledge and understanding of the Acupuncture Meridian System, the points commonly used for musculo-skeletal problems, as well as TCM pathogenesis, pathology and principles and methods of diagnosis and treatment. It also includes training in needle manipulation, moxibustion and cupping, as well as exercises, stretches and other aspects of physical therapy.
The main part of the course comprises five practical modules – acupressure massage; body orthopaedic acupuncture; auricular MSK pain acupuncture; stretching and anatomy, pathology, diagnosis and treatment of the low and upper back/neck, shoulder and knee and meridian stretching. The clinical modules cover the most common MSK problems of these areas of the body and their respective acupressure massage, acupuncture and stretching treatments.
The course also includes a three-day dissection module covering the upper and lower extremities and trunk of the body, which will help experience and appreciate the reality of the MSK structures in respect to their palpation diagnosis and their relation to the acupuncture meridians and points. A two-day MSK imaging module will provide an introduction to MRI- and Ultrasound-based diagnosis of common MSK pathology of the extremities and back/neck.
Each one of these modules is a complete unit in its own right and can be taken as a separate Diploma or CPD course. Upon successfully completing each module, students are given a Certificate of attendance or a Diploma, depending on the module. After students complete all modules in the course, they are awarded a Diploma certificate in Traditional Chinese Musculo-skeletal Medicine and are entitled to become TCM MSK members of the Acupuncture Society (www.acupuncturesociety.org.uk) and use the initials MAcSMSK after their names.The present annual membership to the Acupuncture Society is £100.
1. To give usable theoretical knowledge of the Acupuncture Meridian System – the 12 main meridians and the 8 extra vessels; the action, location and practical application of the points used in MSK treatments
2. To put in practical context Anatomy and Physiology knowledge for the needs of orthopaedic acupuncture, acupressure massage and stretching treatments; myo-fascial and nervous systems – organisation and function.
Posture, gravity and weight bearing – functional stability and movement
3. To understand the pathology of injury, the real meaning of pain and the different types of pain – blood and energy stagnation type, damp, cold, heat or wind type, deficiency of energy type
4. To develop the ability to diagnose: by interrogation – asking the relevant questions; by observation – body shape, posture and movements; by palpation – the muscles and joints of the affected areas as well as the related points and meridians
5. To appreciate the strengths and limitations of MSK imaging and diagnosis
6. To master the practical application of acupuncture (body & auricular), acupressure massage and stretching for common musculo-skeletal problems – neck, upper and lower back; shoulder, elbow and wrist, groin, knee and ankle problems
7. To become a confident and proficient practitioner, through correct diagnosis, proper selection and location of points and efficient points stimulation. To develop a real understanding of the concept of “arrival of Qi” and the achievement of sufficient therapeutic stimulation
To successfully complete the course each of the modules needs to be passed. Some of the modules, that are stand-alone Diploma courses (Orthopaedic acupuncture, Auricular acupuncture for MSK pain and Acupressure massage), have a formal assessment in the form of case studies and practical exams, while the rest of the modules are assessed on the bases of four 2000-word essays on topics of clinical conditions of the body areas covered. Pass mark is 50%.
In case of unsuccessful essay submission or failing a practical exam, there is a £30 resubmission and re-sitting exam fee.
The overall course fee is £3200.
1. 30 7-hour sessions
2. Copies of the theoretical lectures
3. Acupuncture needles and other course materials
4. Exam fees
* There is a certification fee of £30 for the course and each of the independent Diploma modules (Acupressure massage, Orthopaedic acupuncture and Auricular acupuncture for MSK pain)
There is a £200 deposit (non-refundable upon acceptance on the course). The remainder of the course fees are paid in full at the start of the course or in 3 instalments at 4-monthly intervals.
Payment can also be made on per-module basis:
1. Orthopaedic Acupuncture – £1400
2. Acupressure massage – £ 550
3. Meridian stretching – £ 250
4. Auricular acupuncture for MSK pain – £ 280
5. 4 MSK seminars – £ 380
6. MSK imaging diagnosis – £ 280
7. 3 Dissection days – £ 525
Students who have already completed one or more of the above modules pay the difference between the overall course fee and the cost of the completed module(s) – for example Orthopaedic acupuncture graduates pay £3200 – £1400 = £1800.
The course is designed as an advanced, intensive course for acupuncture, massage and other physical and sport therapists. The applicants must have completed at least an ITEC level 3 or other equivalent Anatomy & Physiology training. Practical experience is welcome but not essential.
Each study day comprises seven lecture hours running from 9.30am to 5.30pm, with an hour lunch break. The practical modules comprise a theoretical part, demonstration, as well as practical (working in pairs) part.
MODULE 1. GENERAL TCM THEORY SECTION – 4 days
I. Introduction to TCM and acupuncture theories – the Zhang-Fu; blood, qi and other vital substances; the acupuncture meridian system and important acupuncture points
II. The physical body from TCM perspective – pathways, muscle regions and function of the 12 Regular meridians
III. Needle manipulation
– Theory section: needle puncturing; types of reducing and reinforcing needle manipulations; electro-stimulation; demonstration
– Practical section: individual practice on needle cushions; practicing needling on each other
IV. Musculo-skeletal medicine from TCM perspective – etiology, pathology, principles and methods of diagnosis and treatment. MSK pathology, aetiology and general acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, stretching and exercise treatments
MODULE 2. ACUPRESSURE MASSAGE – 5 days
Each day covers theory of the common MSK pathology, meridians and points of the area, demonstration and practical work in pairs.
I: Introduction to acupressure massage
– MSK pathology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and acupressure massage treatment
– Demonstration of a full body acupressure massage with explanation
II: Morning – Back of leg
Afternoon – Lower back and hip
III: Morning – Upper back and neck
Afternoon – Revision practical work – the back of the body
IV: Morning – Upper extremities: shoulder, elbow and wrist
Afternoon – Revision practical work – the back of the body and neck
V: Morning – Lower extremities: knee, ankle, groin and shins
Afternoon – Revision practical work – the back of the body and neck
MODULE 3. ORTHOPAEDIC BODY ACUPUNCTURE – 8 days
Each day covers theory of the meridians and points of the area, demonstration and practical work in pairs.
I. Back of the leg – Achilles tendon, calf muscle, hamstring; heel problems
II. Lower back and hip
III. Upper back and neck
IV. Upper extremities I: shoulder and upper arm
V. Upper extremities II: elbow and wrist
Vi. Lower extremities I: knee, thigh and groin
VII. Lower extremities II: lower leg, ankle and foot
VIII: Revision day: main points and treatments of the low back/hip; upper back/neck; shoulder and knee areas – pathological patterns and treatment scenarios
MODULE 4. AURICULAR ACUPUNCTURE FOR MSK PAIN – 2 days
I: Auricular therapy theory
Anatomy & Topography of Ear
Needle insertion Practice
Demonstration and Practical work in pairs
II: Demonstration and Practical work in pairs
Lower Extremity, Low Back, Hip, Knee, Ankle & Toes formulae
Upper Extremity, Neck, Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist & Fingers formulae
Facial and Jaw Pain formulae
MODULE 5. MERIDIAN STRETCHING – 2 days
I: Theoretical lectures
muscle structure – extrinsic and intrinsic muscle fibres; fascia and tendon organs
muscle tone regulation – intrinsic muscle self-regulation; spinal reflexes; higher CNS motor control
fascia – structure, enervation and function
- acupuncture meridians as functional units in relation to myo-fascia continuums and neural organisation
physiology and types of stretching – relaxation stretching; activation stretching; structural remodelling / flexibility stretching
II: Practical session – calf, hamstring, toe extensors, quadriceps, groin, ankle, hip (piriformis and gluteals), finger flexors and extensors, shoulder (latisimus, teres major and minor, supraspinatus and biceps, infraspinatus and triceps)
anatomy, function, meridians and common problems of the areas
demonstration with explanation
practical work in pairs
discussion – questions & comments
MODULE 6. FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY, PATHOLOGY, AETIOLOGY, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF COMMON MSK CONDITIONS – 4 DAYS
Each day has a theory and practical parts
musculo-skeletal anatomy of the area
relationship of the myo-fascial structures to the acupuncture meridians
posture and normal function of the area
common pathology patterns and their aetiology
Practical part – demonstration with explanations and practical work in pairs
muscles and trigger points of the area palpation diagnosis
muscle-relevant local and distal acupuncture points location and acupressure (finger) stimulation
stretches and mobilisation/adjustment manipulations
I: Low back
II: Upper back and neck
MODULE 7. DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING – 2 days
I. MRI MSK imaging
II. Ultrasound MSK imaging
- physics of MRI and ultrasound imaging
- strengths and limitations of MSK MRI and ultrasound
- MRI and ultrasound imaging of MSK structures
- MRI and sonographic appearance of common pathologies of muscles, tendons and joints – spine, shoulder; knee; elbow; hand, foot; calf;etc.
MODULE 8. MSK DISSECTION – 3 days
- Introduction to skin and adipose tissue and their relationship to layers of fascia
- Deep fascia connections from the skin to the bone
- Longitudinal and parallel muscle fascia connections
- Myo-fascial continuums of the upper and lower extremities – anatomy trains and acupuncture meridians