Needling technique and Bodywork for internal disease: Burning Mountain and Cooling Sky


**This course is now full. To register your interest for future courses, please email and we will keep you informed of upcoming cpd events.**

There is so much more to needling technique than “turning the needle clockwise or counterclockwise, and using your intention”!

Whether we’re treating insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, or hot flushes, one of the key factors that will influence the outcome of an acupuncture treatment are the practitioner’s clinical skills. 

As acupuncturists, we should be constantly evaluating our level of clinical skills: can we manipulate each needle to achieve a clear outcome for the patient? Can we tangibly cool or warm a patient using only our hands/needles? Can we instantly activate the digestion or relieve pressure in an area? Can we deeply  and reliably calm an agitated patient within a few seconds of starting a treatment?

Improving these tangible skills is a crucial way of achieving better clinical outcomes.  


Course Material:
Our weekend CPD course focusses on practical clinical skills, as taught to us by Andrew Nugent-Head. We will cover needle techniques such as Burning Mountain, Cooling Sky and Channel Travelling (see below for full discussion of material). Although these techniques are now sometimes described as “advanced”, they really are fundamental needle techniques which every Chinese doctor of old would have been familiar with. They belong in every modern practitioner’s repertoire of needling skills as fundamental and profound ways of working with the patient’s health through warming (tonifying), cooling (draining), and flowing  (coursing the Qi).  We will look at Sparrow-pecking, the main needling technique used in ashi treatment to understand when it is relevant to treat internal disease.
We will also cover various types of bodywork, which lay the foundation for a practitioner to understand and work on a patient’s body. 

This course was set up as we hope to spread the understanding and use of these fundamental clinical skills within the acupuncture community in the UK. At the end of it, we hope that participants will have taken their practical skills to a new level and will be more confident and effective practitioners.

Course teachers: Zarig and Conny Cooper.

Zarig and Conny are long-term students of  Andrew Nugent-Head’s. They are part of his teaching team, travelling internationally to assist at his seminars. Please see individual practitioner pages for full biogs.

Participants: Practitioners or students of acupuncture.

Course dates:
Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September

Both days run 10am-5pm, with an hour for lunch.

Venue: The City College of Acupuncture, University House, 55 East Road, London N1 6AH

Cost: Earlybird is £150 for the 2-day course if paid by 8th September, after that £160.
Deposit of £60 secures your place, balance to be paid by 8th September.
Refunds possible up to 1 month before start of course, after that fee is non-refundable.

Please email to book your place.



Both days will start with some DaoYin exercises to help develop our sensitivity to Qi and our ability to manipulate it.

Burning Mountain Needle Technique. When using Burning Mountain, the aim is to create a feeling of warmth and fullness around the needle, and also in the whole patient’s body. For example if using Burning Mountain at St36, the patient will feel warmth and fullness not only in the leg, but also in the abdomen. With successful stimulation, the patient will have a soothing feeling of warmth in the abdomen, and we often get gurgling sounds showing the digestion is being activated.

Cooling Sky. When using Cooling Sky, we aim to create a release of heat and a feeling like a cool breeze washing over the patient. Often the patient will report very quickly feeling relieved of the heat they were feeling, and they may be noticeably cooler to the touch.

Channel Travel. This technique is used when there is an imbalance of Qi in the channel. For example a patient may be experiencing a headache and tight breathing, but having cold feet, indicating too much Qi stuck in the top part of the body and not enough in the lower part. Using Channel Travel at Liv3 would initially create a slight aggravation of the symptoms as we travel up the channel, immediately followed by a deep release, and lightening in the top part of the body, as we travel down again. Often the patient will give a deep sigh and report feeling instantly more relaxed and at ease as we finish the technique.

Sparrow-Pecking. This is the main technique used in the treatment of physical injuries (ashi treatment), but it can also be significant when working with internal health issues. Correct use of sparrow-pecking on ashi points can produce clear fasciculations that can lead to long-term release of pain patterns and other conditions.


We also cover 4 bodywork techniques: Combing, rubbing, scrubbing, and Deep Qi.

Combing is a very light bodywork technique, used to clear light heat in the patient. When done correctly, the patient will very quickly feel cooler and calmer. It is great technique to do, for example, on a nervous, agitated patient at the beginning of a treatment.

Rubbing and Scrubbing are heavier techniques which work more physically on the body of the patient, creating tangible warmth and flow wherever we apply the techniques. They can be used, for example, to increase blood flow into certain areas of the body before or after needling, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment.

Deep Qi. This is a deeply settling technique which puts the patient into a very relaxed, lulled state. It can form the basis of our treatment if we want the patient to have a deeply nourishing and soothing session, or can be used at the end of an otherwise intense treatment to release the intensity and allow the patient to leave in an open, relaxed state. Often patients will comment that this is their favourite part of the treatment! We will learn how to practice this technique on different body areas with added rocking and vibrating.