Course Title: Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Techniques

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Techniques

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,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018


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

Course Coordinator: Dr George Lenon

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6587

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.057

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required prior study (Pre-requisites)

Course Description

Acupuncture Neurophysiology and Techniques is a one-semester course that will build on knowledge, skills and their application developed in COTH 2188 Acupuncture Theory and Practice 1 and COTH2190 Acupuncture Theory and Practice 2. You will enhance your understanding of the physiological underpinning of acupuncture practice (including infection control practices) with an opportunity to develop various skills involved in the different forms of acupuncture treatment including filiform needle, electro-acupuncture, laser acupuncture and cutaneous needles. Participation in this course will familiarise you with different types of acupuncture which include scalp, ear and other micro-system acupuncture.  Other modalities of Chinese medicine such as cupping, tuina and moxibustion will be addressed during extensive supervised practical classes.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC024 Master of Applied Science (Acupuncture):

  • PLO2: Plan and perform treatment using acupuncture for a range of disorders in a safe and professional manner
  • PLO3: Critically analyse the literature in the efficacy and safety of acupuncture and incorporate this information into your professional evidence based practice
  • PLO4: Communicate effectively with patients, other health professionals, regulatory bodies and the general public
  • PLO6: Reflect and improve upon your professional practice and build problem solving skills and abilities through lifelong learning.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Recall knowledge of the peripheral neural mechanisms of nociception to explain the De Qi sensation induced by needling
  2. Discuss the potential impact of the placebo effect when applying pain management procedures and acupuncture therapy and discuss the interaction between acupuncture and commonly used medications
  3. Explain the neurochemical basis of acupuncture to explain acupuncture analgesia and acupuncture tolerance and use the mechanisms of endogenous inhibitions to justify the necessity of using both local and distal acupuncture points
  4. Apply a variety of acupuncture forms including filiform and electrical acupuncture demonstrating scalp, ear acupuncture and micro-system acupuncture and  undertake Chinese Medicine modalities such as  tuina, cupping and moxibustion
  5. Describe the contraindications and cautions that relate to the application of needling moxibustion and cupping, and detail the management of accidents resulting from these procedures
  6. Practise acupuncture therapy in a safe and ethical manner with reference to appropriate regulatory frameworks.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Lectures and Tutorials sessions will focus on the safety and clinical applications of various techniques as well as providing a solid theoretical basis to help you to achieve professional practice. Tutorial and practice guides in the lecture notes will assist you to organise the practical sessions. 

Supervised practical sessions are extremely important for you to master various modalities and forms of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine techniques to be mastered. Nearly half of the face to face hours are arranged for supervised practice.  You are encouraged to practice needling techniques on self-made objects outside of the classroom


Teacher Guided Hours: 54 per semester including lectures, tutorials, online activities and practical sessions

Learner Directed Hours: 66 per semester 


Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Material to be chosen may be digitally available to you. Lecture material will be delivered via online mediums, Discussion Board interaction and RMIT's online Learning Management System (LMS). Practice learning activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including simulated learning activities. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Hurdle requirements are required in order to provide evidence of competency to the accrediting organisation. Visit for all relevant polices and guidelines set by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Progressive assessment

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 2: Practical exam (perform various acupuncture techniques)  HURDLE

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6

You may be granted more than one opportunity to take this assessment subject to conditions.

Assessment Task 3: Online written exam

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6