Microsystems  Acupuncture


(MACRWG)- Educational standards - The training organisation!


A basic template was submitted to members for completion and the following document has been compiled using the information received. This has been undertaken to address the essential requirements from all members of the group, as a means of establishing a common core of standards. Each member group should work towards these common standards in order to satisfy group standards for voluntary self-regulation.

The following document is a discussion document for circulation amongst the MACRWG only. The documents areas developed are by no means definitive and may be added too or changed with the full discussion of the group. In setting and agreeing common core standards of education and training, it will be ofbenefit to the groups and to the public and to the regulators that are involved in regulating acupuncture and complementary medicine in the UK. The public will be able to know that any member who is registered with the Future Professional Council, (FPC) and / or the Complementary and Natural Health Care Council (CNHC) are properly and safely trained to a minimum standard of safety.

The following educational levels have been proposed by the MACRWG to be the minimum levels that should be achieved by registrants taught by educational and training establishments, which if demonstrated would allow registrants entry to the FPC and to the CNHC regulator.This has been produced as progressive working document, a guide, and its development should be encouraged amongst the stake-holder institutions to improve and maintain the vast array of differences amongst our profession without loosing individual autonomy of the diverse teaching models.These standards are in line with current National Occupational Standards (NOS) for acupuncture and are set to safeguard both the public and the practitioner.

The training organisation

Each training organisation must have in place appropriate policies and procedures to run and function as an educational establishment. Each organisation must demonstrate:

  • Transparency.
  • Objectivity.
  • Due processes.
  • Strategies for educational processes.
  • Strategies for management processes.
  • External audit.
  • External scrutinisers
  • Conflict of interest.

The training organisation should be evaluated by an external independent organisation identified by the FPC to ensure that they are fit for purpose and meet the requirements set by the FPC.

Course evaluation

Each course is required to undertake an evaluation process to identify:

  • That the teaching programme attains its stated educational learning and education objectives of the FPC.
  • That correct knowledge and skills are acquired by learners
  • That the transfer of learning to the workplace is appropriate
  • That the learning has had an impact on society.

External course evaluation.

The courses provided to learners, who will become registrants of the FPC, should undergo an external evaluation process every 1 year.

Internal course evaluation.

Courses should be continually reviewed and monitored internally with feed-back form peers, tutors, students and management to improve the delivery and effectiveness of the course. A reflective review of the course should occur annually to exchange and bring in new and innovative ideas and concepts. Students should be given the opportunity to formally reflect and appraise any course being delivered.


  • Tutors must demonstrate that they are or will be working towards an educational teaching qualification 7303 Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) or 7304 Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, (CTLLS), equivalent or higher.
  • Tutors must be a current member of the FPC, or a professional organisation with
  • equivalent standards in acupuncture.
  • Tutors must be in current clinical and / or educational practice.
  • Tutors must demonstrate and maintain an up-to-date and current CPD portfolio, in line with the FPC CPD tutor requirements.
  • They must have current valid insurance and First Aid certificate

Tutor evaluation

Tutors should be assessed annually by the educational institution, peers, or student evaluation to ensure that best practice is being maintained and improved. It is advised that this should be an ongoing process using tools such as supervision and monitoring, group assessments and personal practice groups, presentations with peers , reflective practice etc. It is advised that tutors should be re-accredited and reassessed annually in house by senior peers or external tutor / assessors.

Routes for failing tutors

Institutions who discover failing tutors should advise these tutors to undertake further training. This may be in the form of mentoring with other experienced tutors practicing or retired, experienced practitioners with academic qualifications.

Tutors may be highlighted as failing by;

  • Student feedback of incompetence.
  • Unable to provide the level of training expected.
  • Failing to maintain the standards of education required
  • Students continually failing to reach FPC standards.
  • Reportable to the regulatory body;
  • Breaches of codes of conduct or ethics.
  • Misrepresentation of course and / or college.
  • Inappropriate behaviour.
  • Malpractice.

Tutor - student ratios

Practical elements such as needling should be supervised on a maximum 1 to 14 ratio of tutor to student ratio. (NOS).

Pre requisites for registrants

The pre requisites for registrants are that they are an adult over 18 years of age, demonstrating a willingness to learn, and an openness to accept new ideas of treating patients and working where they can help others, and openness and willingness abide to the standards set by the FPC.


To be a registered member of the FPC the registrants must be aged 18 years old or over, at the time of undertaking their training, there is no upper age limit.


Registrants should have a sound command of both the spoken and written English language to a standards of ILTE band 6.5, or above.

CRB check

All registrants should be CRB checked before final graduation and acceptance onto the register, this is not mandatory but is highly recommended. Check CRB websiteʼ


All registrants should be of a good sound character. (CNHC to define this.)


All registrants should be fit to practice.

Minimum educational requirements

There are no minimum or maximum educational entry requirements for registrants onto the FPC, the FPC advise that all registrants should have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Educational standards set.

The educational standards outlined here outline the levels and standards and competence

that each registrant should reach to be accepted onto the FPC register. This will not cover

the number of clinical academic and self directed hours.

Duration of courses

The courses are outcome based and should meet the educational requirements of the FPC and as such there is no minimum or maximum hours set for the courses, these are set by the individual training establishments, and are directly linked to the learning outcomes of the stated course.

Direct contact hours

It is considered that, due to the amount of information that needs to be delivered, basic Microsystems acupuncture courses should be delivered in a minimum of 2 days direct contact teaching, and should be directly linked to the learning outcomes and objectives.

Self directed learning hours

Registrants are required to pre-read and complete home study packs before registration can be completed with the FPC. It is advised that contact teaching hours and self directed hours for basic level entry to the council should be based on a two to one basis, e.g. 16 student tutor contact hours, and 32 student directed hours.

Clinical hours

It is considered that for every two hours of tutor contact that there should be 1 hour clinical supervision or clinical practice. This should occur within an 12 week period of the initial delivery of the training.

Portfolio of cases

Registrants should produce a minimum of 10 individual interventions that have been undertaken using Microsystems acupuncture alone or in conjunction with another therapy. It is advised that this should be completed within 12 weeks of undertaking the initial training.

Course delivery

  • Courses must state clearly learning outcomes, indicative content, identifying practical components, theoretical components, facilities for self directed learning, and facilities for failing students.
  • Courses should be delivered using a variety of teaching styles and methods and make provision for a variety of learning styles.
  • Courses may be delivered in any appropriate setting.
  • Courses are required to demonstrate clear assessment processes for the numbers of hours taught, summative assessment processes, and formative assessment
  • processes.
  • Courses are required to offer a recognised qualification which is accepted by the FPC.

Methods of tutoring may include (not exclusively) any of the following;.

Key transferable skills, learning for life.

Key transferable skills are a range of aptitudes and abilities that are vital in almost every aspect of life, from studies to future employment. These skills should be learned and developed through study and spare time. Courses provided for by training organisations should improve the key transferable skills of registrants in;

  • Communication.
  • Numeracy & literacy.
  • Information & communication technology.
  • Working with others.
  • Improving own learning and performance.
  • Problem solving.

Curriculum development

Through internal and external appraisal and evaluation the course will be continually reviewed and updated, in light of current research and developments for the benefit of the student, service user, and the profession.

  • IT
  • Group activities
  • One-to-one activities
  • Questions and answers,
  • White board,
  • Student participation,
  • Observation and discussion,
  • Problem solving
  • Peer supervision,
  • Formative assessment,
  • Summative assessment and
  • Self assessment.
  • Lectures,
  • Discussions,
  • Role play
  • Case studies Etc.

Learning difficulties

Provision should be made by all providers to accommodate students who have learning disabilities including difficulties and learning wherever possible.

Failing Students

All training providers should have an established pathway for failing students.The maximum number of re-sits that the student is allowed to undertake is 3.Students who fail to reach the required standard on reassessment must re-undertake the full training.

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Registrants must agree to abide by the standards of conduct performance and ethics of the FPC and CNHC.

    Course content

    1. Theoretical and historical background to the Microsystems being taught.

    2. Health and safety.

    3. Microsystems points.

    4. Practical skills.

    5. Scope of practice

    6. Practitioner safety - sustaining self, well-being, lifelong learning skills.

    7. Patient handling.

    8. Confidentiality and consent

    9. Case history taking

    10. Anatomy and physiology.

    11. Pathology, red flags and contraindications.

    12. First Aid.

    13. Methods of assessment.

    14. Codes of professional conduct performance and ethics.

    15. Setting up in practice.

    16. Research / evidence base.

    17. CPD and reflective practice

    18. Reassessment - Maintaining Professional Standards of Practice.

Theoretical and historical background to the Microsystems being taught

  • Registrants should have a sound working knowledge of the Microsystems of acupuncture being taught in the;
  • Theoretical background to Microsystems acupuncture.
  • Historical background to Microsystems acupuncture.
  • Current practices in use of Microsystems acupuncture.
  • Current research and evidence of Microsystems acupuncture.
  • Historical development and current status of Microsystems acupuncture in the UK.

Health and safety

See BAcC code of safe practice appendix 1.

3.Microsystems points

There should be a minimum number of points located for each Microsystems being covered, these should be set by a board convened by each Microsystems to establish the appropriate number of points. Registrants should have a basic understanding of the basic location and functions of each of the Microsystems points covered on the syllabus pertaining to each of the currently identified Microsystems of acupuncture (not definitive).

Auricular Acupuncture

Lincoln Clinic 5 point addictions protocol.

Face acupuncture

not yet developed

Scalp acupuncture

not yet developed

Eye acupuncture

not yet developed

Nose acupuncture

not yet developed

Philtrum acupuncture

not yet developed

Mouth acupuncture

not yet developed

Tongue acupuncture

not yet developed

Neck acupuncture

not yet developed

Back Shu acupuncture

not yet developed

JiaJi acupuncture

not yet developed

Spinal acupuncture

not yet developed

Chest acupuncture

not yet developed

Abdominal acupuncture

not yet developed

Hand acupuncture

not yet developed

Foot acupuncture

not yet developed

Wrist and ankle acupuncture

not yet developed

Holographic acupuncture - ECIWO

not yet developed

Practical skills

Practical techniques covered on any course should be developed through supervised  practice. Registrants should be familiar with, and be able to use safely any practical techniques that may be covered in the course being delivered to treat a variety of conditions. These may include;Registrants should develop an understanding of how to integrate these treatments safely into practice for the benefit of the patient.

  • Needling
  • Moxibustion
  • Massage
  • Gua sha
  • Laser
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Magnetic stimulation
  • Development and awareness of Qi
  • Palpation
  • Observation
  • Diagnostic skills
  • Seed therapy etc.

Scope of practice

  • Registrants must learn to recognise their scope of practice as defined by the training organisation they trained with.
  • Registrants must learn to recognise their limits of competence.
  • Registrants must make referrals to other health care professional with regards to red flag symptoms.
  • Registrants must act within the limits of their competences and authority always.

Practitioner safety - sustaining self, well-being, lifelong learning skills.

  • Registrants must ensure that they are fit for work.
  • Registrants must reflect on and evaluate their own values, priorities, interests and effectiveness.
  • Registrants must enable other individuals to reflect on their own values, priorities, interests and effectiveness
  • Registrants must develop their knowledge and practice in relation to their Microsystems.
  • Registrants should be encouraged to cultivate curiosity and enthusiasm.
  • Registrants should be encouraged to expanding the ʻfieldʼ of attention and depth of awareness
  • Registrants should be encouraged to develop professionally responsible, commitment, behaviour and attitude.
  • Registrants should be encouraged to develop the process of natural healing and sustaining well being.
  • Registrants are encouraged to develop personal self care e.g. Qi Gong, Yoga, Tai Ji, etc.
  • Continual support through regular practice sessions, clinical observations and post graduate training & continuing personal development

Patient handling

Registrants must be able to demonstrate professional and appropriate patient handling and communication skills such as;

  • How to position yourself in relation to the client to treat.
  • How to instruct patients to position themselves.
  • How to work in group settings.
  • How to integrate with other healthcare disciplines and practitioners.
  • Respect patients and their space.

Confidentiality and Consent

Registrants must obtain full informed written consent from patients for any interventions orinvestigations that they may undertake. Registrants must comply with legal requirements for patient / client confidentiality at all times.

Case History Taking

Registrants should be able to take an appropriate case history form patients and be able to plan a treatment strategy.

Anatomy and Physiology

Registrants should be able to identify the appropriate anatomical structures and functions relating to the Microsystems area being covered. Registrants should have a basic working knowledge and understanding of the following systems. It and may be delivered as a student self-directed study pack.

  • Cardiovascular system.
  • Respiratory system.
  • Circulatory system.
  • Endocrine and immune system.
  • Neurological system.
  • Musculo-skeletal system.
  • Renal and Hepatic systems.
  • Digestive and metabolic system.

It is considered best practice that this should be taught towards ITEC level 3 or equivalent.

Pathology, RED flags and contraindications

Registrants should have basic working knowledge and understanding of red flag symptoms, cautions and contraindications covering the following systems;

  • Cardiovascular system
  • Respiratory system
  • Circulatory system
  • Endocrine and immune system
  • Neurological system
  • Musculo-skeletal system
  • Renal and Hepatic systems
  • Digestive and metabolic system

Reporting of adverse effects

The reporting of adverse effects must be done in accordance with the skills for health documentation. (appendix )

First Aid

It is highly recommended that registrants have a current HSE emergency first aid at work certificate (EFAW) Registrants must be able to identify and manage the following emergency first aid situations;

  • Fainting / unconsciousness
  • Bleeding.
  • Vomiting.
  • Basic life support / recovery position.
  • Acute neurological states (fits)

Methods of Assessment

Courses should be both internally and externally moderated, and there should be a mix of methods of assessment, theoretical, practical and professional. Course providers must ensure that registrants receive both formative and summative assessments. Continual practical assessment and support should be given to registrants for the duration of their studies. Additional support is given where required on an individual basis. Assessment procedures or methods may include,

Grading pass / fail criteria.


  • Understanding of appropriate conceptual frameworks
  • Evidence of independent reading, research and understanding of the class notes
  • Demonstration of practical skills.
  • understanding of patient handling skills.
  • Shows awareness of relevant issues.
  • Awareness of nuances and complexities
  • Awareness of Qi / energy
  • Appropriate safe needle technique
  • Understanding of the health and safety issues
  • Able to identify all the anatomical structures of the Microsystems being covered
  • Able to locate the points covered on the syllabus.
  • Able to identify the basic functions of the points covered on the syllabus.
  • Log books
  • Diary
  • Reflective practice
  • Case studies
  • Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
  • Portfolios
  • Observation of practice
  • Revision and quizzes,
  • Tutor continuous observation,
  • Practical, continuous and on-going assessment,
  • Final assessment exams,
  • Diagnostic assessments,
  • Role play
  • Creative problem solving
  • NLP, EFT multi faceted communication and presentation skills
  • Open attitude, positive, creativity,inspirational strategies
  • Peer assessment
  • Peer discussions
  • Multi media presentation i.e. manual,
  • OHP, Power Point.
  • Group observation
  • Self observation
  • Mentoring
  • Essay
  • Report
  • Project
  • Questions and answers
  • Reflective log / diary
  • Case history taking
  • Progress forms
  • Monitoring professional attitude and behaviour in the clinic.
  • Reflective practice


  • Weak or no understanding of appropriate conceptual frameworks
  • No evidence of independent reading or research and poor understanding of class
  • notes
  • Weak or no understanding of practical skills demonstrated.
  • Weak or poor patient handling skills.
  • Shows little or no awareness of issues
  • Little or no awareness of nuances and complexities
  • Inappropriate or unsafe practical technique
  • Little or no awareness of Qi / energy
  • Little or no understanding of the health and safety issues
  • Unable to identify all the structures of the Microsystems being covered
  • Unable to locate the points on the syllabus
  • Unable to identify the functions of the points covered on the syllabus.

Failing Students

All training providers should have an established pathway for failing students. The maximum number of re-sits that the student is allowed to undertake is 3. Students who fail to reach the required standard on reassessment must re-undertake the full training.

Codes of professional conduct performance and ethics.

Registrants must agree to abide by the CNHCʼs codes of professional conduct performance and ethics. (Appendix 3).

Setting up in practice

Registrants should be developing the skills to be able to successfully set up in practice, e.g. running a drop in. These skills should include; record keeping, treatment limitations, integrated health care approach, referring the client on, taxation, legal issues, advertising, marketing, banking, environmental health, administering appointments etc.

Research / evidence base

Each organisation must continue to update and incorporate current research and evidence base information within the course being delivered to inform their practice. Registrants should be encouraged to be research minded.

Continuing professional development and reflective practice

Registrants should maintain an up to date CPD portfolio in line with the councils CPD guidelines. (Appendix 4)

Reassessment - Maintaining professional standards of practice.

Each registrant must undertake and pass an annual reassessment for clinical competency and fitness to practice in order to remain on the register. Reassessments for competency should be in areas of theory, practice, health and safety, and adhere to the codes of conduct performance and ethics. Registrants must maintain a CPD portfolio to be maintained on the register and evidence of this should be confirmed and may be requested at the reassessment.


Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL): a process through which learning achieved outside education or training systems is assessed and, as appropriate, recognised for academic purposes. Registrants who have any APEL should consult the councils APEL document to appraise what elements meet the standards of the council.

(Appendix 5)


Upon successful completion of training and application to the council registrants will be issued with a certificate of membership to the Microsystems being covered, and confirm that they are competent professional practitioners of Microsystems acupuncture. This certificate will be valid for 1 year from the date of completing successfully the Microsystems being taught.

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