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The Sussex College of Chinese Massage & Acupuncture

Contact - 01424 772539 / 07484 184 007


I hope these cover the main concerns, if not, please email me via the contact page or call or text on the number above.

The college is now registered with the CMA (Complementary Medical Association). The Tuina course has also been evaluated and recognised as a credible course by the CMA and as such also registered individually with them. The CMA have a strict code of practice so this is good for the college and any potential students interested in the courses who may have any concerns.

I have done this to give the course and college a bit more credibility despite my previous opinions on this matter. This has not affected the cost of any of the courses in any way. Students of the SCCMA can now join the CMA as student members and get insured through Balens through the CMA. Alternatively, they can deal directly with Balens if they prefer not to join the CMA.

The simple facts still remain however that whether you are a teaching college, a practitioner in massage, tuina, acupuncture or any other form of therapy, there is no set ‘standard’ or regulatory agreement between the various governing bodies, and different organisations that are out there, and there are many. The exception to this, within the bodywork sector, and, to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing, is Osteopathy. Osteopathy is government monitored here in the UK, and, as a result you need to be registered by law with the General Osteopathic Council if you practice Osteopathy here.

Recommendations take Preference

Based on my personal experience, is this simple fact; ‘clients are drawn more to the practitioner and his/her skills, reputation and personality etc. than to the organisation that he or she may be a member of.’

It’s important to remember, that in reality we all prefer to go to somebody who has been recommended to us, especially if the recommendation comes from somebody we know quite well and trust. I believe, that for most of us, recommendation goes before qualifications and governing bodies most of the time. This is providing of course you are knowledgeable in your field, your treatment is effective and your patients feel safe and comfortable with you. If this is the case, then they’ll more than likely be happy to return and also to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. Your practice will then naturally gain momentum on its own. As long as you know the health and safety of what you practice, you are insured and you have the necessary skills for a safe and effective treatment, your customers will be happy and your business will grow irrespective of any organisation you belong to or any qualifications you may or may not hold.

All students who complete any SCCMA courses will be eligible to gain medical malpractice insurance cover with Balens for that particular discipline and able to start and run a clinic/practice straight away. You will more than likely then be able to join some form of complementary health organisation if you wish to do so such as the CMA (Complementary Medical Association) for example. I can’t promise this as I have not registered with these or any other organisation, but it is very likely that you’ll be able to join if you wish to do so.

I was once told from a well informed source that a certain acupuncturist, who was a member of possibly the biggest acupuncture governing body in the UK, actually punctured a girl’s lung while giving a teaching demonstration. This happened because the instructor was apparently showing off a little by manipulating the needle too much? A very stupid thing to do at any time, but even more so in that area of the anatomy so close to vital organs! And, as a member of such a big organisation and also teaching at the time, makes it even more ridiculous and unacceptable!

Now, I am not judging or criticising, just pointing out, that this proves;

It is not all about your qualifications or your governing body memberships, it is about you as an individual and how you apply the principles of acupuncture, tuina massage or any other therapy treatment that you offer to the public, that makes you safe or unsafe, competent or incompetent.

Ultimately, if you really feel the need to be taught by a member of a governing body then you are in the wrong place and should seek another course. I believe, that as long as you learn the basic principles and you are a conscientious individual and practice safely, then you can become a good, professional therapist that should be able to run a thriving, busy clinic and help to heal many members of the public who are happy to pay you for the privilege.

I do not claim to teach you all about Chinese massage therapy and/or Acupuncture in the time allocated for the courses. That is not possible, but you will learn a lot, more than enough to practice safely, confidently and effectively to allow your patients to benefit and your practice to grow.

It is very important to understand that the degree and diploma courses in acupuncture that last for two or three years generally have a lot of academic material to absorb and much of that is Western based anatomy and physiology going into considerable depth of the various systems of the body. Some people love this and some people do not. The point is, this not only takes a considerable amount of time and effort, but also requires a considerable sum of money. This is something that I personally do not feel is necessary in order to give good acupuncture or tuina massage therapy.

In addition to this, is the fact that many longer acupuncture courses teach over 365 acupuncture points. I do not teach anywhere near that number. The reason for this is because in the clinic an acupuncturist generally only uses somewhere between 50 and 100 points. You will learn around 40-60 acupoints on both the acupuncture course and the tuina course which is more than enough to give a professional tuina and acupuncture treatment. Further self-study is optional and encouraged. It is also an automatic tendency to want to learn more acupoints once you gain more confidence and experience. It is very easy to build on your knowledge once you have learnt and understand the basic principles and have built the confidence to practice and add more knowledge through self-study.

Some of you may think this is a strange example to use but, I think it’s true to say that you only really learn to drive a car properly with confidence after you’ve passed your driving test and have driven for quite some time. You learn through practicing more and more even though it is potentially very dangerous when you first go out on the road. They let us loose on the road at 17yrs old where we could potentially harm many people after only a handful of driving lessons? 

The point is, if you’re sensible, have good common-sense and apply the principles of health and safely correctly, then you won’t do anything stupid will you. You wouldn’t drive down the road and very quickly, for no reason at all, just turn the steering wheel one way and drive up on to the pavement would you? Of course you wouldn’t because that would be a reckless and stupid thing to do and it was not what you were taught to do during your driving lessons. This principle is appropriate in all potentially dangerous new ventures and situations, including Tui Na and Acupuncture. 

This is an individual thing that has nothing to do with what you have learnt. If you do something stupid and don’t stick to the rules that you have been taught during your training, there will be problems and consequences no matter where and how you were taught or what organisation you may or may not belong to. This is true about many potentially dangerous things in life and tuina and acupuncture are no exception. As long as you have been taught the most important aspects with regard to health and safety and stick to those rules, have good common-sense and are confident to practice, then you will have no problems. All these things will be taught on SCCMA courses. This confidence then leads the way for further self-study and practical education in the principles and practice of Chinese Acupuncture and Tui Na therapy in your own clinic. 

At the other end of the scale, I have seen tuina courses that only last for one day. This, in my opinion, is just not long enough. To give a good, effective tuina treatment you need to know what you’re doing and that requires quite a bit of knowledge. At the time of writing, the SCCMA tuina course consists of twelve days over twelve weeks. I believe this is an adequate length of time to teach you all the information you need to practice confidently and effectively.

Most definitely. It is my aim to build confidence and good technique with continued hands-on practice from the very first day of your training in tuina and/or acupuncture theory and practice. This stands true whether you are an experienced therapist or a beginner. By the end of any SCCMA courses you will have the ability and confidence to practice tuina and/or acupuncture confidently, safely and effectively. This is providing of course you are able to grasp what you will be taught. Extra days are available to any students that feel they need more time, or those who I believe need more time. Extra days will however incur an extra cost.  

Please understand, it is not my intention to keep students paying for extra days, but I have a responsibility to only allow those of you who are safe and competent to practice on the public to do so.   

Yes, you will be awarded the SCCMA certificate of competence to practice the chosen field of your choice.

Yes, you will be able to gain Professional Indemnity and Medical Malpractice insurance cover through Balens. They are a specialist insurance provider for alternative healthcare practitioners and therapists. All courses of the SCCMA are insured by Balens and all students who complete any SCCMA courses in full will be eligible for insurance cover by them. 

I do not teach A&P because the majority of people who want to learn acupuncture or tuina have already practiced some form of alternative therapy and already hold some kind of qualification for A&P. The price of this course would have to go up considerably in order to cover the costs of the extra material and time required to learn anatomy and physiology to a reasonable standard. It would therefore be unfair and impractical to charge for this when most students have already paid for a certificate of some kind for it already.

SCCMA courses are about the practice of Chinese massage therapy and/or Chinese acupuncture. Less time is spent on learning anatomy and physiology and more time is spent on the principles of TCM diagnosis and practice. Reference to A&P is for the purpose of correct location of the acupoints and any potential underlying main arteries and/or internal organs. Basic knowledge of the main muscle groups and bones are also essential for the safe practice of tuina.

Yes you can still enroll on this course without a recognised qualification providing you have a good understanding of basic A&P. I would need to discuss this with you prior to any enrolment however, as there are a number of potential problems that may arise from this.

  1. As a potential practicing therapist, having a sound knowledge of basic Anatomy and Physiology is a major requirement to becoming a safe, competent and successful therapist.
  2. Secondly, having no understanding of A&P will also hold up the class proceedings with time being spent explaining specific aspects of the body’s anatomy to you. Although we will cover muscles and bones when we locate acupoints, we will not be going into any great depth as it is purely for the location of the points being learned and not to learn the bones and muscles being mentioned at that time. Therefore, you will need to have a good idea of the major muscle groups and also the bones in order to locate the acupoints accurately without holding up the class. 
  3. For insurance purposes you would need to provide Balens with some kind of qualification for A&P along with the certificate from the SCCMA course once completed. Many practitioners are however already insured through Balens and for those individuals any additional certificates either from the SCCMA or any other training provider would just be added to their existing insurance policy as a kind of ‘bolt on’ therapy. In these cases it is unlikely that you will need an additional A&P certificate as it is probable that you have already submitted one to them.

Always check with Balens or your preferred insurance provider before enrolling on any course to be certain they will insure you upon completion. If you’re not sure what to do then please send me an email from the contact page and I will try to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

If you have no experience or qualification in Anatomy & Physiology you could easily enrol on an A&P course from another course provider of which there are many available online. You could even study a course in A&P whilst attending an SCCMA course at the same time. I would not suggest or encourage any form of distance learning unless it was supplemented with a practical hands-on study however. As far as I am aware, Balens do not accept any certificates that DO NOT incorporate some form of practical study.

No I do not send out a prospectus as this would just push course prices up. They invariably all end up being recycled or thrown in the bin at some point anyway and that would be such a waste. Everything is on this site, and if it isn’t, please don’t hesitate to email me from the contact page

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