Educating Physicians in the Science & Art of Medical Acupuncture

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What We Do

Helms Medical Institute sponsors the longest-running medical acupuncture training program for physicians in North America.

90% of physicians practicing acupuncture in the U.S. have been trained by Helms Medical Institute’s courses. The U.S. Military has chosen Helms Medical Institute to teach medical acupuncture to its physicians.

HMI courses are taught by physicians for physicians.

“I have never before participated in such an intense, stimulating, and consistently excellent learning experience.”

C. Norman Shealy, M.D.,
Ph.D. Founding President,
American Holistic Medical Association

Reasons to add acupuncture to your medical practice

Acupuncture Reduces Pain

  • Effective and proven analgesic value in acute and chronic pain
  • Neuromusculoskeletal and visceral
  • Endorphinergic and anti-inflammatory
  • Non-pharmacologic pain management

Acupuncture Reduces Stress

  • Directly addresses the neurophysiology of stress
  • Downregulates and balances central and autonomic tone
  • Lowers stress levels in your patients
  • Lowers stress levels in yourself

Acupuncture Reduces Anxiety & Depression

  • Effective treatment for anxiety
  • Calming, centering, and balancing without pharmaceuticals
  • Treats depression with classical and neuroanatomic methods

Addresses Long Covid Symptomatology

  • Real tools for profound fatigue and neurocognitive deficits
  • Effective treatments for post-covid dyspnea
  • Proven techniques for myalgia
  • Neuroanatomically based approach to autonomic dysregulation

Non-Pharmacologic, Non-Opiate Analgesia

  • Analgesia without drugs
  • Proven and effective pain-relieving tools
  • A true opiate alternative
  • Invokes a multitude of endogenous and neuromodulatory systems

Integrative Healthcare

  • Expand and enhance your diagnostic and therapeutic framework
  • Physician-centered integration of eastern and western medicine
  • Understand the human condition more completely and have offerings for a wider range of patients

The Course

HMI’s primary course offering is the Medical Acupuncture for Physicians program. This course presents the foundation of acupuncture science and theory, channel and point location, needling techniques, approaches to diagnosis and therapy, and patient management. It is a practice-oriented program that delivers the highest quality training in the theory and application of medical acupuncture. The course gives full dignity to both contemporary biomedical science and the medical tradition found in classical Chinese texts, and enables you to adapt acupuncture creatively into your clinical environment.

Questions about HMI acupuncture courses?

HMI provides training in medical acupuncture specifically for advanced healthcare providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists).  Our courses combine Chinese acupuncture with a Western neuroanatomic approach.  This truly is integrative medicine combining the best of both worlds.

Upcoming Courses

Spring - Fall 2023 "Medical Acupuncture for Physicians" Course

Spring – Fall 2023 “Medical Acupuncture for Physicians” cohort has the following primary course units delivered in Potomac, Maryland:

Module One:  March 30 – April 2, 2023
Module Two:  June 29 – July 2, 2023
Module Three:  September 7-10, 2023

Click here to enroll now.

Medical Acupuncture FAQs

Why should I add acupuncture to my medical practice?

Medical acupuncture is a safe, proven, and effective technique that can be readily integrated into your medical practice. Acupuncture is a unique tool for the medical challenges of the current moment, including ways to address pain, stress, and sleep.

It’s time to reinvigorate your love of practicing medicine. Training in medical acupuncture will give you the tools for those seeking more to help your patients.

Why should I take an HMI course?

Helms Medical Institute is the longest-running medical acupuncture training program in North America. With 4+ decades of teaching experience, HMI programs are highly refined and well organized, while continuously evolving and improving each year. HMI faculty are leaders in the field of medical acupuncture.

The HMI course philosophy combines classical acupuncture energetic theory with contemporary neuroanatomical approaches. HMI courses emphasize practical applications of medical acupuncture and prioritize hands-on clinical activities.

Do physicians need a “Licensed Acupuncture” certificate/degree?

No! Physicians can practice acupuncture under their medical license in most states after completing training requirements. Check with your state medical board to determine your exact training requirements, and ensure you inquire about practicing under your medical license, NOT obtaining an acupuncture license. Training requirements for physicians can go up to 300 hours in some states; the HMI “Medical Acupuncture for Physicians” program is a 300-hour course.

How long is the training? What does the training entail?

The HMI “Medical Acupuncture for Physicians” course is a part-time CME program spanning 6-7 months. During this time period, participants come for three live clinical sessions, each lasting 3.5 days. In between the live course modules, there are home study assignments composed of videos, readings, and quizzes. In addition, participants are assigned a small group of fellow students and an instructor for virtual meetings and additional support during the time in between live course modules.

Participants need to dedicate a serious commitment to study during the 6-7 month course period. The hybrid model does allow for course studies to be integrated into other family, professional, and personal commitments

What credentials do I need to apply?

The “Medical Acupuncture for Physicians” course is designed primarily for MD’s and DO’s.

DDS/DMD’s, NP’s, and PA’s will be individually considered.

Is this a live or a virtual course?

We embrace a hybrid approach. Comprehensive, in-person training allows time for hands-on skill acquisition under close supervision. Supplemental small-group virtual meetings and a complete home-study video lecture and reading series rounds out your studies.

How many hours of CME are earned at HMI courses?

HMI designates the live “Medical Acupuncture for Physicians” course for a maximum of 300 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

Is there board certification for Medical Acupuncturists?

Yes, Board Certification is administered through the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA).


Diplomate and Fellowship status can be attained through the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA).

Does acupuncture really work or is it ‘just placebo’?

There is a strong and growing evidentiary basis for acupuncture-specific effects on physiological and neurochemical mechanisms. Start with our page of Published Articles.

Get In Touch

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Helms Medical Institute


(510) 649-8488



Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm