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

  • Small classes - eight students maximum.

  • All teaching by practitioners with15 years experience. 

  • Qualify in two years. Minimum nine months treating patients, so you graduate with confidence.

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


Our course has been validated by Balens Insurance and all graduates are eligible for professional indemnity insurance with Balens.

Next intake starts September 2019

Next open evening - April 4th, West London
Email for details.

At the open evening you’ll experience an introductory taster lesson so you can see if our approach is right for you. You’ll also get the chance to ask any questions and talk to current and past students.

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 years, with a third year of postgraduate mentoring. In this final year you get to treat on your own and earn money with patients we send your way. You also get ongoing supervision and mentoring to help you build your confidence and your skills.

What happens after I finish the training?

At the end of the three 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.

"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 2019

The class time is every Monday during term times 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.

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 are 10 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 ongoing clinical and diagnostic skills training. You also 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 2 years 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 3 years, if the fit is right, you get to apply to become a member of our growing team of acupuncturists. We provide you with patients to help you build your practice and with ongoing mentoring to help you grow as a practitioner.

We’ve see so too practitioners who didn’t get the support they needed in the first few years of practice and end up quitting. When you’re used to getting feedback from the tutors on hand it can be daunting to go out and set up by yourself. We don’t guarantee it’ll be easy but If you’re as committed to Five Element Acupuncture as we are, we’re happy to guide you step by step long after you graduate.


£16,500 spread over up to 28 month
£15,500 if paid in full in advance


“All I can say is ‘Wow!’”

"All I can say is ‘wow!’ 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

Return to simplicity

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.

"Discovery of the power within"

"Gabriella Doran's great doings helped me restore my old strong self. Without the treatment I cannot imagine how my life would have been, Acupuncture is not an alternative medication, it is a discovery of the power within and who best to have the mastering skills to pull it out ..Gabriella indeed"

- Hana Yacoub

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. 

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).

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.