Five Element Acupuncture Theory

Add Five-Element thinking to your practice. 

Take our post-graduate online acupuncture course for acupuncturists.

Your Tutor

The Five Element Acupuncture Theory online course is both written and taught by experienced acupuncturist and lecturer Michael Baker Post Grad Dip (HPE). BAc. MFHT, Dip in Life Coaching. 2nd Dan.

Michael was fortunate enough to study with Professor J. R. Worsley and his inspirational team at The College of Traditional Acupuncture, (CTA) in Leamington Spa, UK, becoming a member of the faculty in 2001.

What you’ll learn

  • The Essence of the Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water Elements.

  • Functions of the 12 Officials (organs) e.g. Liver, Gall Bladder etc.

  • The Clinical Implications of Treatment and the Use of Points.

  • The Five Elemental Associations of Colour, Sound, Odour and Emotion.

  • Which foods can be eaten for the Five Elements and Officials.

Course Structure

5 Sections


Section A: The Essence of the Five Elements

1 Multiple-Choice Test and 1 Assignment

Section B: The Functions of the 12 Officials

1 Multiple-Choice Test and 1 Assignment

Five Element Chinese Characters

Section C: The Clinical Implications of Treatment and the Use of Points

  • Treatment Guidelines
  • Possession
  • Aggressive Energy
  • Husband/Wife Imbalance
  • Umbilical or Central Pulse
  • Akabane Imbalance
  • Exit & Entry Blocks
  • Treatment Planning
  • Run/Du Blocks
  • Treatment and Nourishing the C.F.
  • Command Points
  • Source Points
  • Horaries Points
  • Elemental Points
  • Junction Points
  • Accumulation/Xi Cleft Points
  • Five Transporting Points
  • Transfers

Elemental Points

  • Points to Help Deficiency of Qi & Blood
  • Points to Help Stagnation of Qi & Blood
  • Points to Help Heat in the Blood
  • Points to Help Body Fluids, Phlegm & Damp
  • Points to Enhance Jing (Enhance)
  • Kidney and Ren Chest Points

3 Multiple-Choice Tests and 1 Assignment

Section D: The Five Elemental Associations of Colour, Sound, Odour and Emotion

1 Multiple-Choice Test and 1 Assignment

Section E: Foods for the Five Elements and Officials

1 Multiple-Choice Test and 1 Assignment

Course Details

This course is open to qualified acupuncture practitioners.

You have each, in your time, qualified as an acupuncturist. The question was asked once, how long does it take to become a master in acupuncture: the answer is a lifetime of learning. Our course provides a significant step in your ongoing learning programme. It adds another string to your bow, bringing you closer to being the best practitioner.

This course will dramatically increase and widen your knowledge of the science of acupuncture. Understanding the power of the Five Elements and how they can benefit your patients will enable a balanced and complete diagnosis and treatment for your patients.

Five Element stands by TCM and is not a competitor, but a variation of treatment styles and beliefs, enabling expansion of your treatment regime.

This fascinating course provides Five Element thinking to your diagnosis and treatments.

Contact us for a chat about the possibilities for you.


On successful completion of this course, you will receive a certificate in Five Element Acupuncture Theory. It is understood by completing this program that, unless already fully qualified as a Five Element acupuncturist, you have been introduced to the theory of Five Element Acupuncture only and will not be able to claim to be a Five Element practitioner. As your own professional training consisted of your completing an extensive practical course, as indeed is the case for the practitioners who study Five Element Acupuncture. This course is intended as a first step, albeit a comprehensive one, on the journey.

Visit the online training portal to enrol.


Once enroled, students can access the course for one year to complete their studies (as outlined in the Terms and Conditions). ICA reserves the right to amend the course access duration at any time, which will be updated on this page and in the Terms and Conditions.

Course Fees

Five Element Acupuncture Theory Online Course: £350


Is there a time limit for completion?

Yes, students have one year from the date of their enrolment to complete the course. If a student is unable to complete their training within this time, we can extend access for a subsequent year – students will need to pay a £30 admin charge to do this.

Do I get sent each module as I complete an assignment?

No, the course is available via the online study area, so you upload your assignments there and then move onto the next section once you’ve received feedback from me. All you need is an internet connection, and you can log in at any time to continue with your studies.

Are there any videos to watch?

No, we concentrate on the theory, but there are full-colour images and diagrams to support the course material.

Is there somebody to ask questions with and discuss any difficulties during the course, or is it a stand-alone course?

Should you need any help throughout your studies, I’m available to support you with your training.

Do we get any feedback during the course?

Yes, there are some assignments to complete, and I provide feedback for each submission.

Will the assignments and tests take me a long time to complete?

No, there are five assignments to complete, each of which has a 500-word limit. These will take between 1 to 3 hours dependent upon how much time you require to review the material to complete the task. There are seven test questions, each of which relates to the completed section. The tests are single-questioned and multiple-choice for each section, so they are very straightforward and only take minutes to complete.

How long will the course take me to complete?

This is a little tricky to answer as of course, everyone works at a different pace, with varying commitments.

Although taking into account the time to digest all of the reading material, to complete the assignments and the multiple-choice tests, we’d estimate around the 20-30 hour mark or thereabouts.

I’ve just graduated. Will this course help me in practice?

Yes, I feel it does for the following reasons:

From the Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and the Western medicine practitioner perspective, sections “A” and “B” will enhance your practice through the utilisation of the essence of the Five Elements (5E).

Section “C” 1.1 to 1.3.8 introduces the concept of major blocks, therefore offers the opportunity for 5E practitioners to review this material. TCM and Western-style practitioners should find this section will support their work in a very practical way.

Section “C” 1.4 to 1.4.26 deals with conditions such as Deficiency of Qi and Blood, Stagnation of Qi and Blood, Heat in the Blood, and issues of Body Fluids, Phlegm and Damp. The section will help TCM and Western-style practitioners treat conditions they are familiar with, from a 5E perspective. By the same token, this section will help 5E practitioners treat conditions they are unfamiliar with from a TCM perspective.

Section “D” explores the diagnostic technique of Colour/Sound/Odour/Emotion, (C/S/O/E), thereby offering the opportunity for 5E practitioners to review this material. TCM and Western-style practitioners are offered the opportunity to utilise these diagnostic techniques to support their work.

Section “E” is structured to enhance the work of 5E, TCM, and Western-style practitioners in assisting their patients in understanding how foods can influence their health.

As this course is aimed at acupuncturists, how will it expand on the knowledge I already have of the Five Elements?

The course aims to enhance the applicant’s level of knowledge. You will see from my introduction that I studied Five Element Acupuncture with Professor J. R. Worsley and his inspirational team. In the years following my having qualified it was my wish to have a clearer understanding of the TCM approach to treating particular conditions; such as Deficiency in Blood and Qi, Stagnation of Qi and Blood, Heat in the Blood, and Damp etc. This course offers Five Element practitioners the opportunity to understand how to treat such conditions while maintaining the principles of 5E. The course will enhance and deepen your knowledge of the foods that influence our health from the Five Element perspective; along with expanding your understanding of the diagnostic principles of C/S/O/E.

I have been a Five Element practitioner for thirty years, and I wish this kind of course was available when I first qualified.

Can I ask questions about my patients, if related to the course?

Yes, providing they relate to the course this would be part of the support I would offer.

I hope you have found this Q&A helpful. All your questions are valued, please contact usif there is anything you’d like to ask before enroling on the Five Element Acupuncture Theory online course. We would be happy to help.


Revana Swales

Thank you for providing a very informative and thoroughly enjoyable course. I trained originally in TCM and it has been a pleasure to learn so much more about the five elements which have always interested me. Study with you has been a great benefit to me as a practitioner and an individual. The course material is complete in itself but it was lovely to also have a good bibliography (reading list) for further reference, I would recommend future students to take advantage of your guidance in reading matter.

Revana Swales

Jane Greenfield

I am very grateful for this course, which although considered “an introduction” to the Five Elements, it offers much depth and insight into this vast area of study and practice. It is well organized and thoughtfully delivered, with much clinical relevance regardless of your style of practice. Highly recommended.

Jane Greenfield

Dagmar Komárková

Dear Michael,
Thanks for your amazing course about 5 elements – so much information in one place…I find it very useful for my acupuncture practice and for my teaching as well.
With respect and gratitude,

Dagmar Komárková

Whitney Ellis

I am honored to have attended your online continuing education course! Thank you for having me and sharing some much-needed perspective along with the wisdom only encompassed by a true professional. I feel truly enlightened.

Whitney Ellis

Aiko Fukumoto

I have been interested in educating people about diet with the Five Elements for a long time, but I couldn’t find good materials about how foods can help people’s health in therapeutic ways.

I bought many books about the Five Elements but usually there are only small explanations. You provided us with great information on foods for the Five Elements and Officials. So I can start to educate people about a healthy diet for preventing illness and disease.

I would like to thank you… this course helped me to gain my confidence.


Aiko Fukumoto

Kenneth Yuen

I attended the course online and I found the content useful for my daily Physiotherapy practices. Unlike traditional Chinese acupuncture approach, the 5 element acupuncture theory illustrates a comprehensive and systematic approach in guiding you on how to apply its acupuncture method in a logical way. Step by step through the course content, I was able to understand the background of the theory and then use it at my practise. Certainly I have already known how to use needles beforehand. If you’re looking for a practical lesson on needle application, it is not the course you will go for. But for the theory part, it is amazing. I recommend anyone who is interested in using acupuncture in a western logical way to participate this course.

Kenneth Registered Physiotherapist

Ian Felix

This course has been totally captivating and inspirational. It’s one of those courses that once you are given ideas and concepts – you cannot not see them. They weave themselves into your clinical practice, knowingly and sometimes unconsciously. It changes your clinical thinking, it becomes more energetic.

The course is well presented and structured, first class and professional in every aspect. Thank you.

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