Course Title: Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Research Methods

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Research Methods

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014

Course Coordinator: Dr Zhen Zheng

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7167

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Room 202.4.48 PO Box 71 Bundoora VIC 3083

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Research Methods is a one-semester course. There are two modules: Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Health Research Methods. This course introduces the neurophysiology of acupuncture, and its application in clinical practice and the management of patients. It provides another avenue of knowledge, in addition to Chinese medicine theory, essential for clinical decision-making in patient treatment, management and prognosis in respect of acupuncture treatments and related clinical management. The research method module aims to build problem-solving skills and abilities that are crucial for students; lifelong learning and reflective learning.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Acupuncture Neurophysiology Module:
a. Apply knowledge of the peripheral neural mechanisms of nociception to explain De Qi sensation induced by needling;
b. Apply knowledge of the neural mechanisms of somato-visceral reflexes to explain the effect of acupuncture on the functions of viscera; c. Apply knowledge about the neurochemical basis of acupuncture to explain acupuncture analgesia and acupuncture tolerance;
d. Use the mechanisms of endogenous inhibitions to understand the necessity of using both local and remote acupuncture points;
e. Understand the placebo effect when applying pain management procedures and acupuncture therapy;
f. Understand the interaction between acupuncture and commonly used medications.

Research Methods Module:
a. Find information and literature to answer clinical questions;
b. Critique research literature;
c. Identify rating scales, interpret research outcomes and understand basic statistical analyses provided in the literatures;
d. Understand the unique feature of research in Chinese medicine;
e. Identify and define research questions within the context of the health service;
f. Identify aspects of the research process as these relate to evaluation of health care practice, programs and policy development;
g. Appraise the level of evidence of literatures.

Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, practical sessions, journal club and self-directed learning.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students’ learning is supported by resources in the library and online which provides students with lecture notes.

Overview of Assessment

Acupuncture Neurophysiology Module:
The assessment for this module would reflect the students’ ability to apply the knowledge of acupuncture neurophysiology and neurochemistry to the development of acupuncture treatment plans for various types of clinical conditions. This will take the form of a written assignment.

Research Methods Module:
The assessment for this module would reflect the students’ problem-solving and analytic skills. This could take the form of journal club discussion and oral presentation.

Regular journal club discussion provides peer feedback on the competence of appraising and analysing clinical research. Oral presentation provides opportunity to assess students’ skills of solving a clinical condition via literature search and appraisal.