Learn more about acupuncture as taught by us:

What is acupuncture? – A brief outline of the development of acupuncture in China and in the West provides some explanation.

A key achievement of the post-war Chinese government was to make TCM available to large sections of the population in a relatively short period of time. This also included sending workers with additional medical knowledge (“barefoot doctors”) to the areas in need. The functions of these “barefoot doctors” can best be compared to the community helpers and community nurses known in the West. Under the conditions at that time, they worked largely independently. They mostly acquired their training in a 100-day course in which the most important acupuncture points as well as a simple symptomatic acupuncture therapy were taught which largely was arranged according to western diagnoses.

When China began to open cautiously to the West in the 1970s, sensational reports in the press aroused great interest in acupuncture in the West. The economic value of acupuncture as an export article was also discovered at that time. Most of the acupuncture training programmes offered in the West are – in grosso modo – copies of the “barefoot doctor programme”, in other words, copies of an emergency programme for community helpers in the developing country China of the 1950s and 1960s.

Just as in China such methods of treatment are abandoned again more and more and there is a return to the old diagnostic principles depending on the level of knowledge, the West now also realises that this form of acupuncture has a relatively superficial and (if at all) only a symptomatic effect (prescription acupuncture, e.g. point X for symptom Y).

In our training, we try to provide a basic understanding of the neurophysiological effects of acupuncture which are also conceivable by western understanding (cf: TCM: what does this actually mean?), This is ultimately responsible for the great success of our method (the so-called “immediate effect”).


The form of diagnostics is decisive for the success of acupuncture. Compared to conventional “acupuncture for panel patients”, application of the classic diagnosis according the Heidelberg model can generally almost double the success of acupuncture. This is by no means an exaggeration, but has been proven by several scientific studies. These worldwide first double-blind acupuncture studies showed that, for example, in gonarthrosis, the effect of the points used in the GerAc study could be increased twice by establishing the diagnosis according to the clear guidelines of the Heidelberg Model (eCAM 2013, IF 4.77).

Similar results have been obtained for other pain diagnoses.

The courses correspond to the model curriculum of the German Federal Chamber of Physicians and are therefore recognized for continuing medical education (public health insurance accreditation). The curriculum was expanded and deepened at crucial points so that the traditional diagnostic criteria are incorporated into the therapy in a form that is logically accessible to the western doctor.

Nota bene: Pulse & Tongue diagnosis

Tongue diagnosis
In Chinese Medicine, tongue diagnosis is the most important and most common method of diagnosis. We explain anatomically and physiologically why changes occur on the tongue. (We recommend an interesting book by our subject specialist Dr. Gerlach (see below) on these phenomena. In addition to this book, we give you clear explanations about the origin of these changes. This is how you can understand the tongue as an image of an embryo. The functional relationships of Chinese Medicine such as the coupling of pulmonary and crassintestinal functions and much more is thus also easier to understand biologically.

Oliver Gerlach
Praxis der chinesischen Zungendiagnostik
Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier GmbH, 2. Aufl. 2015272 S. mit zahlreichen Farbabb.
ISBN 978-3437578212

Pulse diagnosis
We have already worked out that the targeted and highly successful application of the methods is based on the Chinese diagnostics according to the Heidelberg Model. Therefore, together with Chinese and Western experts, we have devised precise work plans for pulse and tongue diagnosis. The Heidelberg Model includes clear models for the physiological meaning of the pulse qualities, for their genesis and interpretation. This is particularly important because the western doctor is traditionally not very familiar with this form of diagnostics and needs a clear description that is also understood by western doctors.

Pulse diagnosis is practiced most intensively during our courses in the first herb garden of Chinese Medicine in Provence. Here you can learn pulse diagnosis every day in a secluded atmosphere with the best experts in this field in Europe. Dr. Hu Weiguo, former Vice Secretary General of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS), which is affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), was deeply impressed by the quality of pulse diagnosis in our training programme.

Body acupuncture

Body acupuncture is the classic form of acupuncture in China. It is the most commonly used acupuncture procedure in practice. In the motherland of acupuncture, acupuncture therapy is very often combined with other stimulation methods such as moxibustion, cupping, various forms of needle stimulation and manual therapy, thereby increasing its effect.

Ear acupuncture

Fotolia_84528236, von tankist276
acupuncture therapy on auricle, horizontal very close up photo

Auriculomedicine is actually of Arabic origin. It persisted in some valleys of Haute Provence, France, near our medicinal herb garden, for several centuries. These areas formerly occupied by Moors thus preserved Arab medical heritage which has now become part of Western and Chinese Medicine. The French doctor Paul Nogier revitalised this procedure, and Professor Dr. Frank Bahr and his colleagues developed it further in many aspects. We rely on Professor Bahr’s more comprehensive presentations, but give a deeper insight in terms of Chinese Medicine in order to be able to use the procedure in a more targeted manner.

Heidelberg scalp acupuncture

Heidelberg scalp acupuncture is a new, highly effective form of acupuncture using needles that are inserted into the skull-cap. The needles can remain there for some days and thus act longer compared to body acupuncture. This form of acupuncture has proven particularly effective in therapy-resistant pain for the following indications that were not manageable with normal acupuncture.

• Neurological deficiency symptoms such as apoplexy
• Macular degeneration (!)
• Allergies of various types, with high energy efficiency
• functional diseases of various type

Scalp acupuncture according to Yamamoto

Professor Toshikatsu Yamamoto visited our Heidelberg Institute and the University of Heidelberg on December 15, 2009, where he gave a lecture in what was then Professor Greten’s series of lectures.

Yamamoto’s scalp acupuncture is a well-known therapy system, but differs significantly from Heidelberg scalp acupuncture due to its increased difficulty. There are special courses that are not only offered by the Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine.

Korean hand acupuncture

Korean hand acupuncture has a special quality with us. The inventor of Korean hand acupuncture, Dr. Yoo, visited us in Heidelberg on the occasion of the foundation of the German Society for Korean Hand Acupuncture, a section of the German Society of TCM.

The outstanding expert in this field is Dr. Dieter Schmidt, an old companion of Professor Greten and the whole team. Dr. Schmidt studied Chinese Medicine and Korean hand acupuncture in Seoul, at Kyung Hee University, the best TCM University in Asia, one of the partner universities of Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine.

Further microsystems

Microsystems of acupuncture are generally somatotopic systems. This word is derived from soma = body and topos = location. Points of action arranged in body shape develop healing effects in the allocated body regions. These include the above-mentioned forms of acupuncture and, as the best-known form, ear acupuncture.

Other methods that we teach are, for example, the ECIWO (Embryo Contains the Information of the Whole Organism), in which a somatotopy of the whole body is imaged on almost every large bone, cybernetic foot acupuncture, Chinese ear acupuncture, Janus acupuncture according to Greten (cf. the new edition of the TCM textbook) and other forms of acupuncture which we address in teaching according to rational points of view.


The Chinese expression for acupuncture is actually “needling and warming therapy”. This means that from the very beginning, not only the prick with needles but also the burning (combustion) of Chinese mugwort (moxa) are essential components of acupuncture. “If during acupuncture it does not smell like moxa, you should better leave the shop,” said a great Chinese doctor. The procedure is crucial for the treatment of so-called algor findings (in western terms diseases related to regional microcirculation disorders). These diseases make up about 90% of diseases in the West, so moxibustion is an integral part of acupuncture if you want to produce the full effect. In our programme, it has therefore been part of acupuncture training right from the beginning.


Cupping is originally a sub-method that could also be counted as acupuncture, belonging to the super-category of so-called external treatment methods. These procedures also include moxibustion and the manual therapy Tuina. What is meant by this is that external procedures, in the western sense reflex zones, act on the body functions via skin stimulation points. In contrast, internal procedures include pharmacology and dietetics, in which we offer particularly intensive training.