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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Ireland 09/07/2018
Graduation of new Acupuncture TCM practitioners 13/06/2018
Acupuncture training at the Irish College of TCM 29/05/2018
Qigong in Macao and Ireland 01/05/2018
Irish College of TCM visits China again 07/04/2018


Articles Shenmen Publications 1:
Xin Pathology - Some thoughts arising from clinical observations.

Articles Acupuncture Training, Qualifications and Degrees –
The Current Situation in Europe

Needling technique for Lieque Lu7.

Needling technique for Lieque Lu7.

Gua Sha - Cupping is a TCM therapy commonly used with or instead of acupuncture.

Gua Sha - Cupping is a TCM therapy commonly used with or instead of acupuncture.


What is TCM?

TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Acupuncture and TCM is the principle form of medical care available to a large portion of the world's population. Traditional Chinese Medicine, through the use of Acupuncture and other classical medical therapies such as Chinese Herbal Medicine and Medical Qigong, aims to establish energetic harmony in the whole person and thereby not only treat illness but also promote active health and vitality and thereby increase resistance to disease.

From its very ancient origins such medicine has been at once both preventative and curative, the ideal being to so strengthen the person's overall health and well-being that they do not get sick in the first place, or if they do fall ill to speed their recovery. One of the most attractive and distinctive features of TCM is that, from its earliest days, it has emphasised the promotion of positive health and has not restricted itself merely to the treatment of disease.

The scope and range of ailments amenable to TCM care is enormous. An indication of their type and variety can best be gleaned from looking at the booklet “Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine”, available from the ICTCM. More information on conditions treated is available here.

All ages of client can be catered to, from the tiny infant to the very old. Pregnant women are prime candidates for TCM and much can be done to promote both ante-natal and post-natal care of mother and baby. Those properly qualified can treat animals with TCM therapy.

TCM in general, including Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Medical Qigong can be combined with, or used alongside, other medical therapies and disciplines, such as western medicine.

A Timely Caution

Acupuncture is not Chinese medicine: Chinese medicine is not acupuncture: Acupuncture is part - and only a part - of TCM.

This is explained more fully in our booklet "Frequently Asked Questions". Some of the most common questions relating to this topic are reproduced here:

Q. What is the difference between Acupuncture and TCM?

Q. What is the difference between Acupuncture and TCM?

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is the name given to the whole field of Chinese Medicine which has a history of more than two thousand years. Acupuncture is one of the best known treatment options within the wider field of TCM and is now well established in the West. Other TCM treatment specialisms (some of which are taught at the ICTCM at Postgraduate level) include Chinese Herbal Medicine, Medical Qigong and Tuina (Chinese therapeutic Massage).


Q. Does an Acupuncture TCM practitioner use Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Q. Does an Acupuncture TCM practitioner use Chinese Herbal Medicine?

No, they use TCM diagnostic methods to work out what is wrong with the patient and a TCM theoretical framework to determine the treatment principle. If their treatment specialism is Acupuncture they will employ TRADITIONAL acupuncture treatment methods (including two other techniques called Moxibustion and Cupping) to achieve therapeutic effect. They will also give TCM medical advice and guidance to their patients to help resolve the problem and help ensure that it does not reoccur. We could call these "Practitioners of Acupuncture TCM".


Q. Is all Acupuncture the same?

Q. Is all Acupuncture the same?

No. The word "Acupuncture" just means inserting fine needles for therapeutic purposes. This could be done by someone who was not trained in TCM. Also some practitioners who call themselves Acupuncturists actually use non-traditional techniques such as laser treatment and electro-acupuncture. These are not traditional methods of TCM and are not taught at the ICTCM.

To imagine that Acupuncture is TCM is as mistaken as to imagine that, say, surgery is western medicine. Furthermore, and in light of this, one should be fully aware of the fact that acupuncture is not good for every medical complaint, just as surgery in western terms is not good for every medical complaint. Acupuncture is good for what acupuncture is good for - but it is not good for everything - just as surgery is not good for everything.


Three further considerations follow from this:-

  1. Acupuncture alone is not sufficient to attempt to treat every medical problem that might present. It is for this reason that TCM as an entire medical system involves much more than just acupuncture.
  2. A so-called "Acupuncturist" is not necessarily a fully trained TCM practitioner.
  3. Not all acupuncture is TCM Acupuncture.

In light of this the professional training in "Acupuncture" - the Licentiate in TCM - provided by the ICTCM ensures that graduates are fully qualified practitioners of "Acupuncture TCM" as described above.

The Acupuncture and TCM Profession

Over the past thirty years and more there has been a spectacular growth in interest in alternative forms of health care in Ireland and the world. Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and other treatment methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine have attracted great attention from both the medical profession and the general public.

The Professional Acupuncture training (Licentiate) Course is specifically designed to provide graduates with the skills, knowledge and confidence to set up and develop a thriving professional practice in Acupuncture and TCM. Read more »

Establishing such professional practices can be done in a number of ways:

  • Some people practice from home on either a full or part time basis
  • Others work in a joint practice with other Health Care providers or GPs
  • While others work from separate Clinical premises or within a Hospital setting

For most graduates of the Irish College, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine becomes their only profession and its popularity in Ireland enables them to be financially successful in their own right and to enjoy both job security and job satisfaction at a time when neither can be guaranteed elsewhere.

Whatever your intention, successful completion of the ICTCM's main undergraduate programme, opens up a range of viable, challenging and exciting career possibilities.

It also provides automatic eligibility for entry to the Professional Register of TCM (PRTCM) which provides support to the profession.

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Course Information


  • Licentiate in Acupuncture TCM
  • Postgraduate

  • Masters Degree in TCM
  • Doctoral Degree in TCM
  • Medical Qigong
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Open Courses

  • Health Giving Qigong
  • President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, receiving a present of one of Prof Tom Shanahan’s books, at the Aras in June 2016.

    President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, receiving a present of one of Prof Tom Shanahan’s books, at the Aras in June 2016.