Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has taken a pioneering step by developing the first online PG Diploma course in Acupuncture. Aimed at popularising this traditional form of medicine among doctors, who can further utilise it in curing several diseases, the course is open for all medical graduates in the traditional forms of medicine.

Divya Chawla from eHEALTH caught up with Dr. Raman Kapur, Chairperson & Co-ordinator of Acupuncture, IGNOU, to get an overview of the Acupuncture technique and insights into the online course on Acupuncture being offered at IGNOU. Dr. Kapur is one of the most renowned experts in the field of Acupuncture, who has also been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in the field of medical Acupuncture for his tremendous work.

What is acupuncture and what are its potential benefits?

Acupuncture is a traditional form of oriental medicine, which originated in China and is being practiced by therapists all over the world now. Acupuncture treatment consists of inserting very fine needles at specific points on the skin, which are located near nerve endings. This has two effects – firstly, it stimulates specific nerves, which transmit electrical impulses via the spinal cord and brain, to the diseased area.  Secondly, it stimulates release of chemical substances like endorphins and encephalins from the brain centres to form the body’s own mechanism for treatment and pain relief.

How is it useful in treating various disorders?

The efficacy of acupuncture has been scientifically proved. After a lot of research in China, America, Canada, Germany, etc, following effects of acupuncture have been found in treating various disorders:

>    Analgesia and Anaesthesia: When acupuncture is done, morphine like substances (Endorphins) are released which bind on opiate receptors of brain cells and bring pain relief.

>    Homeostasis: Encephalins and serotonin balance body functions, maintain heart rate and blood pressure.

>    Motor recovery: Hastens recovery from paralysis.

>    Psychological effects: Sedation, calming, tranquilising effect treats stress-related diseases.

>    Immune enhancing effects: Increases immunity of the body

Please provide an overview of the acupuncture course at IGNOU? How is it unique and beneficial for the students?

IGNOU offers a post graduate diploma in Acupuncture. It shall help graduates of different systems of medicine to learn a new modality of therapy and utilise it for patients’ benefit in treating acute and chronic diseases. This is the first medical programme, which is offered online. The programme is offered in English.


The programme is available to Medical graduates (Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Naturopathy).


The programme can be completed in a minimum period of 1 year and a maximum period of 3 years.
List of diseases given by WHO, where acupuncture can be used as a treatment modality
Area affected Diseases
Head and neck Migraine headaches, cervical spondylosis, facial paralysis, facial pains
Muscles and joints Muscular pains, rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, low backache, slipped disc with sciatica, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, knee pains
Digestion Irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and constipation
Respiratory system Sinusitis, common cold, blocked nose, chronic bronchitis, and bronchial asthma
Cardiovascular system Angina pain and high blood pressure
Genito urinary system Bed wetting in children, frequent urination, enlarged prostate
Gynaecological system Irregular menses, leucorrhoea, infertility, etc.
Sexual disorders Impotence, Azoospermia, low sperm count
Eyes Optic atrophy and blurred vision
Ear, nose and throat Sinusitis, earache, tonsilitis, laryngitis and nerve deafness
Skin Acne, chronic eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes and falling hair
Nervous system
Paralysis, polio, epilepsy, and coma
Psychiatric disorders Insomnia, mania, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, behaviour disorders and autism
Addictions Smoking, alcohol and other addictions
Diabetes and over weight Diabetes and over weight
Laser Acupuncture Black circles under the eye, wrinkles and for tightening the facial muscles
Preventive Acupuncture Family history of Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma
Special Features of the Programme

The special feature of the programme is its excellent study material developed not only by specialists and experienced Acupuncturists (Dr. Raman Kapur and Dr. Sunita Kapur), but also specialists in computer, communication and media technologies. 

This is the first medical programme which is being offered online. This is an initiative of IGNOU to develop in-house learning and content management system for imparting online education. It is a complete virtual learning environment covering all activities from registration to certification. The following features are available in PG Diploma in Acupuncture online programme:

>    Registration: Registration forms have been specially designed for online registration with the facility of uploading scanned certificates, other required documents and photograph. Facility for online payment is available through the payment gateway of AXIS Bank.

>    Integrated multimedia courseware: Once registered, learners are given a password to have access to personalised learning space (My Page). This includes self instructional material.

>    Online counseling and mentoring: Web cast based counseling integrated with text based chatting facility is used for counseling purposes.
>    24×7 learner support: Asynchronous and synchronous modes of interaction are used to provide just in time support to learners (content specific queries can be sent to

>    Continuous uation: This programme adopts continuous uation system through assignments, practical work, web conferencing and term-end examination.

>    Contact sessions: There are 4 contact sessions in each academic year. Duration of each contact session is 10 days. The contact sessions are held at the Programme Study Centres.Normally one contact session is held in each quarter of the year, the dates of which are finalised by the Programme-in-Charge in consultation with the students.

>    E-tutor based practical: Online instructions and e-tutorials for hands on practice of Acupuncture needling methods and Moxibustion are used for the practical sessions. Multimedia manuals for self learning are provided online.

>    Group based online seminar: Blogs, chat rooms, discussion forums and web conferencing facility are used for group based seminars.

>    Term-end Examinations: The theory term-end examination are conducted by IGNOU at the identified examination centres.  Practical examination is conducted at identified PSCs.

>    Last date for registration is 31st December, 2010.

Advantages of Learning Acupuncture for Medical Professionals

>    Use it as a first line of treatment for the patients, who are willing, as it does not have any side effects.

>    Use it as second line of treatment for the patients, who are not responding to routine medical treatment.

>    Use it as an adjuvant therapy along with medicines, physiotherapy, homeopathy, etc.

>    Useful for all specialists including family physicians, ENT specialists, Orthopaedicians, Dermatologists, Opthalmologists, Dentist, Gynaecologists, Cardiologist, Neurologists, Anaesthetist, Gastroentrologists, Paediatricians and Psychiatrists.

How is the course structured to include both theoretical and practical aspects?

Credit System

This progrmme is of 32 credits. The programme will have six theory and four practical components.

Programme Structure

The PG Diploma in Acupuncture programme consists of 10 courses. The 32 credit programme, comprises 6 theory courses and 4 practical courses.

The courses are designed on the basis of learning hours required by an average student.  As mentioned, one credit represents 32 hours of learning.
What is your vision for the future progression of this course?

Our main aim is to popularise this effective modality of treatment amongst all medical doctors so that, it becomes available to patients of all acute and chronic diseases. Our main endeavour is to increase the strengths of students as much as possible. For this, we are delivering promotional lectures at all medical colleges.

We would also like to set up study centres for this course in every city of India, so that student learning becomes easier.  

The design of the PGDACP programme in terms of credit distribution of the courses
Course Code Name of the course Nature of Course No. of credits
Theory course-1 Basic theories of Acupuncture Theory 03
Theory course-2 TCM Diagnosis Theory 02
Theory course-3 Acupuncture Meridians 1 03
Theory course-4 Basics of Acupuncture Treatment Theory 02
Theory course-5 Treatment of common diseases with Acupuncture Theory 04
Theory course-6 Ear and Scalp Acupuncture Theory 02
Practical course-1 Basic Acupuncture Practical Practical 04
Practical course-2 Acupuncture point location Practical 04
Practical course-3 Practical of Basic Acupuncture Tratment Practical 04
Practical course-4 Clinical Acupuncture practical Practical 04
Total  Credits 32

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