There are many different types of acupuncture courses in the world. In fact, there are many different forms of acupuncture. In addition to the most authentic, the classical acupuncture, many other forms of acupuncture have been developed in the last centuries and even the last decades. First a short overview about the history, followed by different forms of acupuncture and finally the modern courses.
The first evidence of acupuncture dates from the Neolithic era, about 9,500 years before counting. During excavations in China, needles of stone and bone were found, the so-called Bian Shi (砭 石 - stone needle). There are indications that treatments have taken place, where the stone needles were used to massage points and the sharper needles, created from bone, were used to prick. The proof of the use of metals to prick acupuncture points dates from the 2nd century BC. Probably a long time ago metal needles were used, since the Iron- and Bronze Era, respectively, 6,000 and 3,300 years ago. Not long ago the so-called Iceman Ötzi was found in the Alps. This more than 5,000-year-old mummy appears to have groups of tattoos on his body that exactly match known acupuncture points. According to some, this is evidence that treatment of specific acupuncture points with a stone, bone or needle was also known in Europe.
The oldest known document about acupuncture is the Nei Jing. A book consisting of two parts (Su Wen and Ling Shu) each one of 81 chapters. It is a compilation of various authors, collected by the famous Yellow Emperor, Huang Di. The Emperor asks questions and various court physicians reply. In this more than 2,500 years old book, classical acupuncture is described. The colleges, as described below, are the rare location where this ancient knowledge, known as CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine). is taught. Many centuries after the publication of the Nei Jing, acupuncture has spread over Japan, Korea and the current Tai Wan. There we find modern Japanese acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture and skull acupuncture. Since 1960, acupuncture has come to the western world. This acupuncture is known as TCM and is a combination of acupuncture points, like a formula, and the prescription of Chinese herbs. In addition to the cosmetic acupuncture (rejuvenation acupuncture) developed in America, electrical power is applied to needles in the western world. A French neurologist has developed the ear acupuncture in the last century. The ear is seen as a micro system of the whole body, and the insertion of permanent needles (left for about 3 to 5 days) has an influence on different parts of the body. All sorts of variants of acupuncture, like homeo-acupuncture (dipping a needle, before puncturing it into the body, into a homeopathic solution), has been developed in over the last decades in the western world.
After this historical overview and the introduction to the variations in acupuncture, there is an explanation about training courses that teach authentic acupuncture. The variation within programs is almost as large as the variants within acupuncture. The courses range from short part-time courses for laymen, acupuncture courses for (para) medics, to 4-year full-time courses. In England there is one of the eldest Colleges domesticated. This is I.C.O.M., located in East Grinstead - Sussex, and founded in 1972, by Dr. van Buren. The International College for oriental Medicine is the only college in England educating students in the wu yun liu qi method, popularly know as “stems and branches”. For more information, open the link next to the British flag.