Apprenticeship in Five Element Acupuncture
"The Journey of a lifetime"

  • Small classes - 8 students maximum.

  • All teaching by practitioners with15 years experience. 

  • Qualify in18 months. Minimum six months treating patients, so you graduate with confidence.

  • Become part of our team of acupuncturists once you graduate - build your practice with our support. 

All graduates are eligible for membership of the Five Element Acupuncture Association

Next intake starts September 2019

Free e-course: The Magic of Five Element Acupuncture

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Who can be a Five Element Acupuncturist?

Here’s what you don’t need:

  • You don’t need an academic background. Our course is practical and modelled on an apprenticeship rather than a university degree. We only take on a maximum of 8 students at a time, so we can give personal guidance. You learn the practical skills you need, not how to write long essays about the history of acupuncture.

  • You don’t need a background in science. We teach you all the anatomy you need to find the acupuncture points. Anyone who’s dedicated can learn this.

  • You don’t need to know how to market yourself. Once you graduate, you will get the opportunity to be part of our practice and use the marketing system we’ve developed over the last 15 years.

But here’s what you do need:

  • A real desire to help people.

  • The right attitude. This means humility, self-awareness and the ability for self-reflection.

  • The ability to take responsibility for your own learning. We are there to support you every step of the way, but we can’t do the growth and learning for you.

  • Dedication to overcome challenges when they arise.

If you have these qualities, we can help you learn the rest. But without these qualities, no amount of teaching will get you there. 

The rewards for those who do become a Five Element Acupuncturist are enormous. Learning to become an instrument of healing is a path of transformation and personal growth. You emerge from the training a different person. And you get to witness the transformation in your patients' lives, as a result of your dedication. 

"The Journey of a lifetime"

As seen in...

"The secret to more energy, balance and positivity"

"Writer Juliet Davey talks to 5 Element Acupuncturist Michael Arnold on how to renew your energy through connecting to seasonal change." Read this article.


"Your body is designed to reflect nature"

"Says acupuncturist Michael Arnold." Read this article.


"Soul heroes"

"Acupuncturist Michael Arnold is my choice. Michael shares my devotion to cure the root cause of a complaint and not just treat the symptom". Read this article


"Finally I'm a mum"

"When drugs didn't help her get pregnant, Amrit Theocharous, 39, from Enfield tried something more natural." Read this article

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"You won't regret it"

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How to enhance people’s lives every day, working 25 hours a week. Make more money than your current job, and have a waiting list, instead of wearing yourself ragged with a job that eats your soul

Hi my name is Michael Arnold. A woman came into my office, burst into tears and told me how ashamed she was at not being able to have children. Her sister has 3 kids and her sister in law is pregnant with their first. Grandma is all excited and they’re buying baby stuff “and I’m struggling with depression. I can’t even go to Starbucks because I just sit there and cry, looking at all the mothers and babies”

I started working with her and four months ago they had a beautiful baby boy. They sent me an email with pictures of their beaming new arrival.

And you know what the best part is: 

I get to do this every day.

I used to do research in a neuroscience laboratory. It was kind of glamorous and I got to tell people I was finding out about how the brain works, but really it left me cold sitting in a lab cutting up bits of brain when I knew I could be in the real world, helping real live people. 

It wasn’t until my best friend killed himself and I was plunged into despair that I discovered acupuncture. It helped me to come to terms with his death and rid me of the dreadful insomnia that came with it. But not only that it put me in touch with a part of myself I had almost forgotten existed. I remember thinking:

“Ok so this is what it should feel like to be alive!”

I was very lucky to find this amazing system called Five Element Acupuncture. It’s a very interesting story because Chairman Mao actually outlawed it.  He became very ill and and was treated by an acupuncturist, who basically saved his life. So he thought “Well maybe it’s got some merit”. So they stripped out all the spiritual aspects and standardised it and westernised it and exported it to the West. And that, by the way, is the acupuncture that the rest of the world knows about. 

Five Element Acupuncture is a living, vibrant system that recognises that the cause of most illness these days is due to a malaise of the spirit. We now have more physical and mental nourishment and sustenance and yet there is more illness in the world than ever before. The American Medical Association even recognises that 90% of all illness is caused by stress. We have forgotten how to truly connect with the most vital part of ourselves - our soul. 

I’ve now been teaching this wonderful system of acupuncture for over 10 years and the practitioners I helped to train are helping people with all kinds of problems from depression and anxiety, to migraines and fertility. From stressed out executives to pregnant mums there are so many people who can benefit. If you’re reading this now it’s likely acupuncture has touched your life in some way.

If you have a passion in life, A certain kind of person you want to help we can teach you how to do that. 

But here’s what’s even more interesting:

Those of you who don’t have business degrees might find this kind of boring but just so you know, we’ve set up a system where every £1 we spend on adverting results in £11 in the cash register. This is exceedingly rare and this is why we have waiting lists. This is why we are able to charge higher rates than other acupuncturists and work less and have meaningful lives and go on long holidays. 

I would love you to join our growing tribe of healers who aren’t begging the world to listen to them.

I’ve seen a lot of people struggle to maintain a busy practice simply because they don’t know how to market themselves. A recent survey found that less than half of all acupuncturists practicing in the UK make a full-time living from their acupuncture practice. 

I know for a fact that this is because most healers (including myself) have all kinds of stories going around in their heads like:

"It's not spiritual to charge for healing"


"Marketing is unethical and evil"

I used to believe that Marketing is just what big evil companies like Coca Cola did. But then I realised that if I'm marketing to people who are actively interested in what I have to offer and I'm offering them something life afirming that I believe in with my whole being, how can that be evil or unethical.

Anyway, the good news is I've spent the last 10 years developing an ethical marketing system that works. And now it's time to use it to help the practice of Five Element Acupuncture take off like a rocket!

We only take people we think are going to fit and we have an extensive application and screening process. But if it’s a fit and if you qualify I’d love to help you create a new life.

Our undergraduate programme is two and a half years and in the final year you'll be treating on your own, earning money with patients we send your way.

What happens after I finish the training?

At the end of the 2.5 years, if the fit is right, you get to apply to become a member of our growing team of acupuncturists. We provide you with a steady stream of patients and with ongoing mentoring to help you grow as a practitioner. You get your own unique geographical area to practice from, where you can build your practice. Locations are already being allocated to practitioners and graduates so the sooner you complete your training with us the more choice of locations you'll get.

"Becoming a Five Element Acupuncturist has had a massively profound effect on my entire life. It's way more than a job or, in my opinion, an 'occupation'. It's almost like you are learning (or re-learning) an entire way of 'being' which simultaneously brings great benefits to both yourself and your patients."

- Richard Brook, Five Element Acupuncturist

Full course details

Next intake starts September 2018

The class time is one day per week on a Friday 9.00am - 6.00pm.

There is also an additional 10 - 15 hours per week home study time needed. There is a two week break for Christmas and Easter and a month off in Summer:

Year 1:

Term 1: 21/09/18 - 14/12/18
Term 2: 11/1/19 - 22/03/19
Term 3: 12/04/19 - 26/07/19

Year 2 (Clinical training)

Term 1: 06/09/19 - 13/12/19
Term 2: 03/01/20 - 04/04/20

The first year involves learning all the theory, the acupuncture points, clinical skills and learning how to do a Traditional Diagnosis with patients. Gabriella and Michael do all of the teaching and we are almost always both present in class. We only take on a maximum of 8 students per year so you get a 1-4 student to teacher ratio. This is vital for ensuring you get personalised feedback on your understanding of the theory and your clinical skills.

In year 2 there is 6 months of purely working with patients in the clinic under supervision from Gabriella and Michael. You will do at least 50 treatments during this time. Once we are satisfied that your clinical skills are of a sufficient standard we will award you with your Licentiate in Acupuncture and you will be eligible to join the Five Element Acupuncture Association and get practice insurance. This usually happens at the 18 month mark. At this point you get to become part of our team of practitioners and use our marketing system to help you build your practice. You also get postgraduate training once per month, including sessions with Judy Worsley and ongoing clinical and diagnostic skills training. And you get ongoing mentoring when you're in the clinic, so that you can ask us to come in on one of your treatments if you need help with a particular patient. 

You can practice by yourself after 18 months but the final year is also about getting you set up to practice. We've seen a lot of practitioners drop out of practice because they didn't get the support they needed early on in practice. So we made this a mandatory part of our programme to give practitioners the vital support they need on an ongoing basis.

What happens after I finish the training?

At the end of the 2.5 years, if the fit is right, you get to apply to become a member of our growing team of acupuncturists. We provide you with a constant stream of patients and with ongoing mentoring to help you grow as a practitioner. You get your own unique geographical area to practice from, where you can build your practice.  Locations are already being allocated to practitioners and graduates so the sooner you complete your training with us the more choice of locations you'll get.


£1125 per month for 18 months
£18,000 if paid in full in advance (saving of £2250)


"Discovering five element acupuncture especially working with Michael has had the most beneficial effect on my life. I feel centred, grounded and ready to take on anything that comes my way. I really do appreciate the work you do Michael, I’m sleeping better and also have a found a deeper sense of Joy since working with you, Thank you!”
– Mark Collin
“This system of medicine is so simple, a child of five could understand it”
– JR Worsley, credited with bringing Five Element Acupuncture to the west.

Return to simplicity

When JR Worsley brought Five Element Acupuncture to England in 1956 his licentiate programme consisted of 30 days learning the theory, followed by a few months of treating patients under supervision. This was only the first step on the path of mastery, but it was enough to get you started in practice.

These days almost every acupuncture training in the UK lasts 3 – 4 years and contains mountains of essay writing, western medicine and research methods. The vast majority of this is not necessary if you want to practice Five Element Acupuncture as it was originally intended.

Lose your mind and come to your senses

The power of Five Element Acupuncture comes from it’s rootedness in observation through the senses. You learn to diagnose by using your sense organs instead of your intellect. You do not need to gain vast amounts of knowledge. You simply need to relearn how to truly, see, hear, touch and smell the unique human being in front of you. You grow emotionally and spiritually and you learn how to become an “instrument of healing”. This is not something you can learn in a book. You can only learn through practical application and by working directly with patients.

Our course is the fastest way to get started in Five Element Acupuncture without cutting any corners.

It is also the only course in the UK to teach Five Element Acupuncture in the form that it was originally intended. This is the wonderful system of healing I fell in love with 19 years ago.

In 1956 J.R. Worsley started training others to become excellent practitioners of Five Element Acupuncture. J.R. had a thriving practice on Audley Street, London and was becoming world-renowned. Starting in 1972 groups of Americans came over each year for the US Intensive Licentiate Programmes with JR. This intensive and focused programme trained to a very high level for entry-level practice. In 30 days of non-stop 14-16 hour days he worked with highly motivated groups to learn the theory. After a few months of home study and assignments the groups would return for another intensive 30 days of clinical training followed by internship and supervision. Practitioners were so inspired to develop into even finer instruments of this medicine that most went on to study in apprentice-style fashion with JR in the Bachelor, Master and Doctorate level programmes.

J.R.’s ultimate level of training was started with his wife, Judy in 1996: The Master Apprentice Program (MAP™). This high level professional developmental met in retreat for in apprentice style format with Judy and J.R. until his death in 2003. Judy continues to lead MAP™ in collaboration with the Worsley Institute.

Our licentiate programme covers all of the original element of JR’s programme and leads to eligibility to enrol in MAP™.

Judy Worsley succeeds J.R. Worsley as the leader of this tradition and we are delighted to have her involved in the course development and clinical teaching on our programme.

A True Story of
Life as an Acupuncturist

Sign up below to receive our 5 part email series, “A True Story of Life as an Acupuncturist”. This is the story of how a crisis led me to discover Five Element Acupuncture and how it changed my life. You'll also learn about the methods that allowed me to go from waiting tables to working full time as an acupuncturist.

About Michael Arnold

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Michael Arnold – Founder

19 years ago I was studying Neuroscience at University. I had it all mapped out – I was going to be a researcher in brain science. Discovering new and uncharted areas of human consciousness… but life had other plans for me.
That October my best friend James killed himself. The only thing that helped with the emotional turmoil and insomnia was Five Element Acupuncture. It helped me to find a peace and acceptance that I had never experienced before. I also realised that I wanted to help living people, directly. I didn’t want to cut up dead people’s brains in a laboratory.

When I started my training in acupuncture it was everything I hoped it would be. It challenged me mentally, emotionally and spiritually to grow as a person and to learn how to become an “instrument of healing”. James’ words came back to me:

“You’re not going to be a scientist Michael. You’re going to do something much more spiritual.” He could read me better than I knew myself.

One of my dreams has always been to set up an undergraduate Five Element Acupuncture course. So early this year, with the encouragement of a mentor of mine I decided to do just that.

Journey of discovery

Over the last 15 years I have dedicated myself to the practice and teaching of Five Element Acupuncture. It has enriched my life beyond measure. One of the teachers I am grateful to is Nora Franglen, who founded the School of Five Element Acupuncture (SOFEA), where I did my original training and subsequent Post-graduate Certificate in Five Element Acupuncture. I also went on to teach at the same school.

At the end of my first year at SOFEA I remember watching JR Worsley give a clinical seminar to the whole school. The patient he was diagnosing was obviously very depressed and low. She looked sunken and her whole demeanour and body language was subdued as she explained her condition. JR very compassionately described her state and gave his diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The practitioner then performed this treatment and when the lady came down an hour later, there was a spring in her step and a renewed vigour for life that is hard to convey in words. “Thank you so much” she said with a big smile as she left. “You certainly have a brightness in your eyes too after watching that”, said a fellow student, as I excitedly discussed what had just happened.

“Wow I’m definitely in the right place here”, I thought as I left the school that day.

In 2003 JR sadly died. In 2004 I started working with his wife Judy. Before JR died he publicly announced that Judy was to succeed him as leader of the Five Element Acupuncture tradition. I was drawn to Judy’s teachings after seeing her working with patients. I was amazed by her ability to get right to the heart of the matter and to connect with the patient in a deep and inspiring way. During the many visits I paid to her clinical seminars I was again reminded of the profound transformation that is possible when this system of acupuncture is practised at the highest level. I have since attended over 50 of these days with Judy.

In 2005 Gerad Kite asked me to join his team of Five Element Acupuncturists at the Kite Clinic in central London. It was great to be part of such a committed team of practitioners all working under the same roof. I learned a lot at the Kite Clinic and completed 300 hours post graduate training on Gerad’s “Classical Five Element Excellence Programme”.

In 2006 I completed the Worsley Institute Basic Teacher training, to become a Certified Teacher of Classical Five Element Acupuncture. For 3 years I taught on the London Institute of Five Element Acupuncture Licentiate programme.

I have a deep passion for the teaching and practice of Five Element Acupuncture. After 15 years of training, practice and teaching I still find myself in awe at the power of this magical system of medicine.


About Gabriella Doran

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Gabriella Doran – Tutor and course development advisor

After an initial training in art, specialising in theatre design, Gabriella lived in Asia for several years, where she ran her own highly successful jewellery manufacturing business. On her return to the UK she was treated with acupuncture, which she was surprised to find not only improved her health, but also provided invaluable support through a bereavement and period of major life changes. She was impressed and inspired by this simple yet profoundly effective form of medicine, and made the decision to study and become a practitioner in 2000.

Training and Experience

Teacher of Five Element Acupuncture: previously head of Second Year studies and Member of Faculty at LIFEA (London Institute of Five Element Acupuncture).

Board Member of the Worsley Institute the home of the Worsley Five-Element Acupuncture tradition developed by Professor J.R. Worsley and continued by his designated successor, Judy Becker Worsley.

Licentiate in Acupuncture from London’s School of Five Element Acupuncture (SOFEA). This is an intensive 3-year training programme which included rigorous continual assessment and examinations, culminating in a years supervised training in clinic alongside internships in long-established practices with master practitioners.

Certified in Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture and Facial Revitalisation Massage and Acupressure, as taught by Virginia Doran the leading authority on Facial Rejuvenation acupuncture in the United States.

Tai Chi Practitioner and Teacher proficient in the Cheng Man Ching 37-posture Yang Short Form and Sword Form and teaching both forms, one to one.

About Judy Worsley

Judy Worsley – Clinical tutor and course development advisor

Judy Becker Worsley was a devoted student of Professor J.R. Worsley from 1973 until his death in 2003. She succeeds him as the leader of this tradition.
In 1972, having attended law school in the United States and realising law would not be her career path, in her search to find something meaningful she happened to read a book on acupuncture. Feeling inspired she traveled the United States in search of the best possible teacher. In the spring of 1973 she found the inspirational teacher she had been searching for in England: J.R. Worsley, and began her training.

Between 1973 and 1983 she received her Licentiate, Bachelor, Master and Doctorate Certifications. Under Worsley’s direction, she practiced, taught and supervised at the College of Traditional Acupuncture (CTA) until 1995. During this time Judy and J.R. opened the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture (WICA), an undergraduate program in the USA and in 1991 they were married.

In 1996 J.R. & Judy created the Master Apprentice Program (MAP™) for ongoing postgraduate work.

In 1998 J.R. publicly announced that Judy succeed him as leader of this tradition, should he pre-decease her. In his final years he intensified his work with her, preparing her for the responsibility that would follow.

One of Judy’s designated responsibilities is to be affiliated with teaching organisations that are in a current professional relationship with her, and who demonstrate that they practice and/or teach Worsley Five-Element Acupuncture both in content and spirit as taught by Professor J.R. Worsley.