What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion – Moxa stick and loose moxa

Students at the Irish College of TCM in Dublin, on the Licentiate in TCM Acupuncture Training course are trained to provide treatments in Moxibustion as well as TCM Acupuncture.

Moxibustion is a form of Heat treatment used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It can be used alone in treatment or in combination with Acupuncture or other treatment methods of TCM.

It involves the use of Moxa, which is a type of herb that is dried over long periods of time. Moxa means ‘slow burning herb’ and comes in different forms including Moxa cones, Moxa sticks or loose Moxa. 

The dried herb is lit and placed over the area being treated, either directly or just above. The heat from the burning herb produces a therapeutic effect for those diagnosed in TCM terms as suffering from a Cold condition.

Moxibustion is often the main form of treatment used in areas of severe cold weather such as some parts of China e.g. in the north eastern region it can be -40 degrees for most of the year. Like Acupuncture and Herbalism, Moxibustion is claimed to be very ancient and has been mentioned in texts as old as 300 bc.

We will be accepting applications from January onwards, for the next October intake of students on the Lic.TCM. The 2024 Prospectus pack will be available soon. The 2023 Prospectus pack is currently available for reference.

How old is Traditional Chinese Medicine?


China has one of the oldest known medical systems in the world. The actual historical origins are extremely ancient and therefore understandably obscure and vague. There are many myths and legends of warriors who were pierced in various parts of their bodies by spears or arrows and that ailments mysteriously disappeared.


We can gain a little insight into just how old it may be however, through various archaeological finds. In the seventies, Archaeologists discovered stone needles that dated as far back as between 8000 and 5000 bc. Archaeologists believe these were used as some sort of primitive Acupuncture. Later examples of needles were made from different materials, bamboo and bronze, there are some excellent examples still in existence from the XIA dynasty which was 2205 to 1176 bc. 4500 years ago.

The HAN dynasty which dates between 206 BC to 220 AD was a period of concentration in TCM terms – when there were a lot of compendiums and encyclopedias written about Chinese medicine. Some of the most basic and fundamental texts were written in this 400 year period and these reflected all the medical knowledge going back further than when written records were invented.

If you would like to learn more about this ancient medicine we will be taking applications for the  Acupuncture Training course 2024 intake from January. You can also find the course prospectus on the ICTCM website. 


Why study Acupuncture

ICTCM Prospectus

The demand for Acupuncture as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  is on the rise globally, with increasing interest in more natural, holistic alternatives to modern medicine. TCM has gained much recognition internationally as a serious alternative form of medicine (it was included in the World Health Organisations’  2019 International Classification of Diseases)

Training in Acupuncture TCM offers the opportunity to be part of this growing trend, as well as opening a doorway to a whole new culture and an ancient wisdom which are underpinning its theory. 

TCM is an ancient medicine that is holistic in its approach. By studying TCM one gains a whole new perspective on health that incorporates all aspects of the person including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. TCM treats the individual as opposed to the condition. This means each treatment is specific to the person and includes all aspects of the person, therefore, all conditions can be treated by the same practitioner. 

Studying TCM gives students the opportunity to learn this invaluable knowledge that has been used for thousands of years. TCM is primarily health promoting and so many of its teachings can be incorporated into daily life which can lead to improved health and wellbeing. In fact, many TCM Acupuncture practitioners, who have studied at ICTCM have reported that they find their work makes them healthier!

If you would like to learn more about Acupuncture Training at ICTCM, download a prospectus from our website. Applications for the next upcoming course 2024 open in January.


2023 Acupuncture training applications closing soon

The next TCM Acupuncture training programme begins on the weekend of 7 and 8 October 2023.

The course is now nearly full so we will be closing applications soon. If you are considering making a late application you are advised to phone the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ICTCM) on: 01 8559000 to check if any places are still available.

This three year, part time training programme in TCM Acupuncture provides a rigorous grounding in TCM theory. Clinical trainees undergo intensive, competency-based, training and assessment during the third year. Details of the course are available on the website.

Why do people want to get treated with Acupuncture?

Professional Acupuncture TCM Practitioners

People want to get treated with Acupuncture for a host of reasons. It is a popular and sought-after treatment option. Here at the ICTCM in Dublin, we train new Acupuncture practitioners every year. Details of the programme can be found on our website.

When used as a treatment method of Traditional Chinese Medicine, by a fully qualified and insured TCM practitioner, such as those graduating from the ICTCM in Dublin, Acupuncture is:

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Relatively cheap
  • It has a more than 2000 year history.
  • It is not experimental.
  • It does not depend on hi-tec equipment.
  • It is not very time consuming – each treatment usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • It can be used alongside Western medicine.

Treatment with TCM Acupuncture can be used to alleviate present disorders; off-set the side-effects of other forms of treatment; build up the client’s own resources to enable them to be better able to resist illness and fight off infections.

In the hands of a well-qualified practitioner it can help the client to reach better functioning on a Mental, Emotional and Physical level. It is preventative, restorative, potentially curative and health-enhancing.

To find a qualified TCM Acupuncture practitioner go to the PRTCM.org website.


Acupuncture Training at the ICTCM College in Dublin 3 and via Zoom.

Some of the 2019 students and staff outside the College in Dublin 3

Some of the 2019 students and staff outside the College in Dublin 3


Acupuncture Training at the ICTCM College in Dublin 3 and via Zoom. We are looking forward to seeing our new first year students on the weekend of 7th and 8th October 2023 for the start of the new Lic.TCM Acupuncture Training group. Some places are still available and we are still accepting applications and arranging Zoom interview for suitable candidates. The closing date for TCM Acupuncture Applications for this Academic year is 15th September 2023. If all the places are filled before this date suitable late applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Teaching in the First and Second years. In the First and Second years there are 12 teaching weekends a year, starting in October and finishing in the following July. Dates are set in advance and students are required to attend all the sessions and be present in person. About a third of the First year sessions are held in College in Dublin. These are devoted mainly to developing practical point location skills which are essential for future Clinical Training in the third year.

About the same amount of time is spend in College in the Second year. This is mainly skills-based training and also includes training in other Clinical skills such as Pulse Diagnosis and Tongue Diagnosis. We have small student groups which enables us to provide individual point location and clinical skills feedback face-to-face.

Most of the TCM Theory curriculum is currently delivered via Zoom. These are taught sessions and students need to attend in person on the specified training weekends, via Zoom.

Information about how the Clinical Training year is delivered will follow on our next News post.

Acupuncture Course in Ireland 2023

The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Acupuncture Course, run in Ireland – the Licentiate in TCM – trains students in TCM Acupuncture. Students learn to diagnose and treat clients using the underpinning theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is far more comprehensive and all-encompassing than learning Acupuncture alone.

As is said on the College Website:

“The Acupuncture practitioner uses the ancient and well-established principles and theories of Chinese Medicine to diagnose and treat the client. These are exclusive to Chinese Medicine. They do not rely upon other medical systems or diagnostic methods, such as those used by Western Medical Practitioners.

A person who is working as a Practitioner of TCM Acupuncture can be referred to as an “Acupuncture TCM practitioner”, a “TCM practitioner specialising in Acupuncture” or a “Chinese Medical Acupuncturist”.

Other TCM treatment options are available to the Chinese Medical Acupuncturist including Moxibustion, Cupping, Dietary therapy and Life style advice. These treatment methods are all taught as part of our professional TCM Acupuncture Training Programme, the Lic.TCM.”

The next group of students on this part time 3 year Acupuncture Course start in October this year, 2023, some places are still available and an Application form is available on the website.

Who studies TCM Acupuncture?

Are you thinking of studying TCM Acupuncture at our College? It is now Spring and a good time, from a Chinese Medical point of view, to look ahead and plan for the future. The next group of new students will be starting with us in early October and there is still time to apply for this programme.

We are often asked: “What kinds of people study TCM Acupuncture at the ICTCM?”

People who study Chinese Medicine come from all walks of life ranging from Farmers to Pharmacists, Electricians to Musicians, Nurses to Housewives, Teachers to Therapists, those already in an established profession to those with no structured career.

Many of our students will have some prior acquaintance with TCM in one of its forms but applicants need have no prior formal education within a medical or TCM field. Knowledge of Western Medicine is not required.

Over the years the ICTCM has, however, also trained quite a number of western medically qualified doctors, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and other healthcare personnel in TCM Acupuncture such that these individuals are now trained in both Western Medicine and Acupuncture TCM.

Acupuncture Students

Our undergraduate-level students include those who are:

  • Very interested in Chinese Medicine and delighted to find a part time programme that will enable them to enter the profession.
  • In a job that is no longer fulfilling or interesting.
  • Enjoying their current job but wishing to combine this part-time with work in a caring profession.
  • Working as a therapist in another field and wishing to add Chinese Medicine to their clinical practice.
  • Western Medicine doctors, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists or other healthcare personnel.
  • Retired, or semi-retired, and wishing to start a new and exciting second career.
  • Tired of working for other people and wanting to work for themselves.
  • Looking for a satisfying and fulfilling career after raising a family or spending some years in higher education or having flitted from job to job.

If you think that our 3 year part time intensive programme might suit you, go to our Application page for more information.

Acupuncture Course 2023

Students on the TCM Acupuncture Course at the ICTCM in 2022

Here at the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ICTCM) in Dublin 4, just off East Wall Road, we have been successfully running Professional Training Courses in Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1983.

The TCM Acupuncture Course 2023 begins this year in early October and we are now accepting applications for the next intake (our fortieth). The Acupuncture Prospectus is available online and provides an Application Form, fee information and a Summary of this three year part time programme.

The Licentiate in TCM is a professional qualification which enables graduates to set up in practice as a TCM practitioner specialising in Acupuncture.

Further detailed information is available on our website, including the course structure and syllabus.