A modern approach for acupuncture in manual therapy

– An article by Dr Hubert van Griensven, course leader on the 'Foundation in Acupuncture for Osteopaths' CPD course at the UCO on 1-2 June & 6-7 July 2019 –

Practitioners who start looking into acupuncture for the first time may be confused by the multitude of seemingly mysterious concepts. Meridians linking seemingly unrelated parts of the body, descriptions of Qi (Chi) and acupuncture points with unusual actions are just a few examples. While these concepts may be enticing to some, more pragmatic practitioners may wonder whether acupuncture is worth the effort.

Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Its original texts, which go back a few thousand years, are still referred to. Theories have been modified, developed or discarded, but the essential concepts are still present. Interestingly, this has not led to development into a monolithic structure of clinical knowledge, because clinicians over the centuries have combined the concepts with their experience to develop new approaches. In the last century, scientific understanding became one of the new ingredients.

As a consequence of its long history, acupuncture has many entry routes for practitioners. I dipped my toe into the water with an extremely basic course in the early 1990s, found that the results of my treatments were sometimes astonishing, and registered for a three-year course in Chinese acupuncture. This meant putting my western background to one side for a while, because the oriental interpretations of musculoskeletal conditions were so different. Since then I have given a lot of thought to the application of acupuncture in manual therapy settings and how to make it accessible to those who wish to expand their therapeutic arsenal within their existing professional framework.

I have taught acupuncture to many physiotherapists and osteopaths over the past twenty years. This experience, combined with my ongoing learning and reflection, has led to the development of a foundation course that aims to empower rather than confuse the learner. It provides a modern approach based on our current scientific understanding of acupuncture points and acupuncture as a method of affecting the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. The course is taught in a way that facilitates integration with musculoskeletal and neurophysiological clinical reasoning. However, it also draws on traditional Chinese approaches where these offer an advantage to the clinician.

If this appeals to you, please register here. I look forward to seeing you there!

About the author

Dr Hubert van Griensven PhD MSc(Pain) MCSP DipAc

Hubert is a Chartered Physiotherapist, Registered Acupuncturist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, where he leads MSc modules on pain and pain psychology. He completed a three-year course in Chinese acupuncture in 1996 and has taught acupuncture to musculoskeletal practitioners for many years. Hubert holds an MSc in Pain from King’s College London and a PhD from the University of Brighton. He has published two textbooks on pain for healthcare practitioners and has contributed to other books. In his latest research he has investigated central sensitisation in shoulder pain.

Hubert will be leading the 'Foundation in Acupuncture for Osteopaths' CPD course at the UCO on the weekends of 1-2 June & 6-7 July 2019. Find out more and book your place.

Back to news