Acupuncture Orthopedics Certification

Doctoral-level, practical training in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic, sports, work-related and chronic neuromusculoskeletal injuries, pain and disabilities with traditional and contemporary acupuncture, manual, exercise and related therapies.

With Head Instructor Anthony Von der Muhll, L.Ac., DAOM, DNBAO, FAIPM

Certification Program Goals and Objectives

More than a “style,” “technique,” "points," or other mechanistic approaches to symptom management, acupuncture orthopedics draws on diverse traditional and evidence-informed modalities to holistically address neuromuscular injuries, pain, and disabilities to restore health, functioning and well-being. Goals and objectives for certification include:

  • Ability to take a history, examine, evaluate, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of neuromusculoskeletal injuries and pain conditions at a level commensurate with other primary health care professions and mid-level specialists in orthopedics, pain, sports and physical rehabilitation medicine.
  • Ability to recognize and manage emergency medical conditions warranting physician referral.
  • Ability to document and report clinical findings, treatment, and outcomes for neuromuscular injuries, pain, and disabilities using standard and widely-accepted subjective and objective outpatient evaluation methods including functional capacity surveys, joint range of motion, force output, sensory function, etc.
  • Prepare traditionally-trained acupuncturists to work on a referral basis with, and in, physician-lead private and community clinics, hospitals and HMOs.
  • Provide skills, knowledge and abilities for acupuncturists to meet the specific requirements of managed care insurance networks: HMOs, Veteran's Administration, and Workers Comp.
  • Enhanced abilities to build thriving practices, safely, sustainably, and ethically, and to both compete and coordinate successfully with other medical professionals in the fields of orthopedics, sports medicine, physical rehabilitation, and pain management.



Acupuncture Orthopedics Essentials

40 hours: live or distance-learning

Spine and Extremities

120 hours: live or distance-learning

16-hour didactic classes may be taken in-person, or as webinars or distance-learning classes + repetition of associated 8-hour in-person Lab(s). (Didactic classes include hands-on supervised practice, which must be completed by repeating the Lab, if initially taken as a webinar or distance-learning class).

8-hour Labs are only offered as in-person classes

Treating the Jing-Jin ("Sinew Meridians" or Myofascial Tracts)

32 Hours: live or distance-learning

Science of Pain and Acupuncture

14 hours: live or distance-learning

  • Complex and Chronic Pain I: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (3 hours)
  • Complex and Chronic Pain II: Fibromyalgia, Myofascial, and Post-traumatic Pain Syndromes (3 hours)
  • Clinical Applications of Acupuncture Research (8 hours)

Practice and Risk Management

26 Hours: live or distance-learning

The following classes may be either taken when offered as live webinars (8 CEUs @), or for 5 distance-learning/self-study CEUs @ (PDAs pending.) If taken as distance-learning classes, an additional 3 hours in the Case Study and Mentorship Clinic focused on Medical Documentation and Report-Writing hours is required, for a total of 8 hours @.

Case Consultation and Clinical Support Hours

21 Hours: 7 x 3-hour on-line meetings

  • Instructor-led peer review and discussion meetings allow students to present, discuss and get expert help with complex and difficult orthopedic, sports medicine, work-related and pain management cases and questions
  • Discuss options and receive feedback regarding medical documentation and report-writing, practice- and referral-building, and risk management
  • Peer-to-peer education and networking: share your knowledge and experience with and learn from, other acupuncturists


Certification Requirements: Completion of 250 Class Hours, 1 Case Study, and Final Exam

  • Completion of 229 class hours
    • Classes are modular and may be taken in any order (exception: labs are only open to students who have completed the associated didactic module).
    • The following classes are taught in-person, and are, or will be, available as distance-learning pre-recorded webinars:
      • Acupuncture Orthopedics Essentials II, III and V
      • Acupuncture Treatment of the Jing-Jin series
      • Spine and Extremities series
    • The following class series are only available as distance-learning pre-recorded webinars, and may also be offered periodically as live webinars:
      • Acupuncture Orthopedics I & IV
      • Practice and Risk Management classes
      • Science of Pain and Acupuncture classes
    • Labs are only taught in-person.
    • Actual mix of hands-on, webinar, and distance-learning requirements, and CEU/PDA approval may vary in accordance with the policies and standards of the NCCAOM and California Acupuncture Board and other considerations at the time of course offerings.
    • Class schedule and availability is designed to allow for completion within 1 year.
  • Participation in 21 Case Study and Mentorship Clinic hours, a distinctive live on-line meeting format led by certified instructors that allows students to present, discuss, and receive peer and instructor feedback regarding their own challenging clinical cases, as well as meetings focused on special topics in orthopedics, medical documentation and report-writing, risk and practice management, and more. The on-line Clinic hours requirement replaces the in-person observation hours previously mandated by the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics, which has been unfortunately rendered impractical due to HIPAA and the COVID19 pandemic. Clinic hours are not approved for PDAs or CEUs. Schedule of clinic meetings will be available beginning in 2022, after which they may be taken at any time during the certification program--check back shortly for more information.
  • Verbal and written presentation of one orthopedic case report that meets STRICTA standards during the Clinic hours.
  • Passage of on-line written and practical Acupuncture Orthopedics Certification exams. The written exam consists of 100 questions, all of which must be answered correctly, with unlimited retakes at your own pace allowed. The practical exam consists of a 1-hour web meeting with a senior instructor during which the applicant will be presented with an orthopedic case and asked to demonstrate history-taking, physical exam and diagnostic skills. To sit for the exams, students must have completed all required class and clinic hours and have presented a passing case report, as described above. CEUs/PDAs are not available for the exams. An non-refundable exam fee of $100 is required. For more information or to apply to sit for the exams, please contact
  • Continuing education to maintain certification: 8 hours/year in acupuncture orthopedics, sports, pain management or physical rehabilitation medicine. (Courses from other providers may be accepted based on review of course content and learning objectives.)

Note regarding in-person requirements for the Spine & Extremities series: In order to maintain the quality, integrity, and reputation of the Certification program's instruction, we maintain our pre-COVID requirement that the hands-on material from the Spine and Extremities classes be eventually taken in person. For any Spine and Extremities classes initially taken as webinars or distance-learning classes, in order to become certified, you will need to take the associated 1-day review/practicum lab twice--once as required for all certification applicants, and a second time to make up for the hands-on portions of any Spine and Extremities series initially taken as webinars or distance-learning courses. You will be provided with a discount code at the end of any Spine and Extremities classes taken as webinars or for distance-learning, which will reduce the total cost of the webinar + make-up lab to the price of the pre-pandemic live classes--in effect, giving you an additional 8 hours of in-person PDA/CEU instruction at no additional cost beyond the live class equivalent. While this may seem repetitious in print, based upon years of instructional experience, we are confident that taking the didactic classes + repeating the labs will greatly help internalize and consolidate your skills beyond what can be achieved through distance learning alone--many of our students sign up to repeat classes to hone their knowledge and abilities! 

Exam challenge option: rather than re-take the labs as described above, you may contact us to request challenging the Certification Exam. Exam-takers demonstrating proficiency with history-taking, physical exam and evaluation, and diagnosis may be Certified without re-taking the labs.

Benefits of Certification

  • 15% discount towards all future purchases of classes through AOM Professional
  • Free on-going access to AOM Professional's extensive library of course notes, materials and videos
  • Listing in AOM Professional's Provider Directory (under construction)
  • Eligibility to serve as an instructor in Acupuncture Orthopedics through AOM Professional (requires 1 year of post-certification clinical practice and completion of teacher training class and exam, or equivalent--contact AOM Professional for more information)
  • And the skills, knowledge, and confidence, that you can represent to prospective patients, employers, insurers, and other medical professionals, that you have the training and commitment to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain and disability at the highest standards of safety and competence.

Reciprocity with the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics (NBAO)

  • AOM Professional's Certification in Integrative Acupuncture Orthopedics program is inspired by, modeled after and consistent with the Diplomate program formerly offered by the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics.
  • The NBAO program was taught for many years by an esteemed cadre of skilled clinicians and instructors including Fred Lerner, D.C., Neal Miller, L.Ac.,  Ted Priebe, L.Ac., Hua Gu, L.Ac., PhD, and Donald E. Kendall, L.Ac., PhD. (now deceased), and others, but has been in limbo since its last program offering in 2012, as many instructors have now retired.
  • NBAO graduates may be granted certification in Integrative Acupuncture Orthopedics through AOM Professional upon furnishing evidence of Diplomate status.
  •  Should the NBAO be re-constituted, AOM Professional will apply for reciprocity for graduates of its Integrative Acupuncture Orthopedics program.
  • AOM Professional Head Instructor Anthony Von der Muhll is a Diplomate of the NBAO (2006). and remains deeply appreciative and respectful to his instructors and all that he learned and benefited from the program.

Reciprocity with the DAOM program of the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences (Oakland, CA)

  • Most of the AOM Professional's Certification Program in Integrative Acupuncture Orthopedics is also taught in the DAOM Program of ACCHS. To obtain DAOM credit for AOM Professional classes, students must be enrolled in ACCHS's DAOM program at the time classes are taken.
  • Depending on specialty track and actual transcript, ACCHS' DAOM program graduates may need to complete additional class hours through AOM Professional, after which they may sit for the Certification exam and apply for IAO Certification. ACCHS DAOM graduates may contact AOM Professional Head Instructor Anthony Von der Muhll, L.Ac. at
  • For more information about the ACCHS DAOM Program, please contact Program Director Phil Settels, LAc, DAOM, PhD at


Head Instructor Anthony Von der Muhll L.Ac., DAOM, DNBAO, FAIPM specializes in sports, orthopedic and neuro-musculoskeletal injuries and pain conditions. He became Licensed as an Acupuncturist in 2003 after completing his Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Santa Cruz, CA, and was the first graduate of the Five Branches’ Integrative Sports Medicine program. He earned his Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, CA in 2020. He has served as a Clinical Instructor and Associate Professor at the Five Branches since 2005, and as an Instructor in the Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program of the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences beginning in 2017, and in the DAOM program of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. He has taught seminars for the Sports Acupuncture Alliance, the California State Oriental Medical Association, California Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine Associates, and the Acupuncture Society of Virginia. He is also a Diplomate of the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a Fellow of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, and certified as a Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. He is also one of few traditionally-trained acupuncturists who has also become certified as a Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (dry needling) through Myopain Seminars. He has over 22 years of clinical experience as a sports massage therapist, physical therapy aide, athletic training assistant, and licensed acupuncturist in multi-disciplinary clinics, including SpineMed Associates and the PRIME Pain Medicine Institute. He has also served as an Expert Witness for the California Acupuncture Board (CAB), in civil malpractice litigation, and in regulatory investigations and insurer audits. He is approved by the CAB as a Continuing Education Provider (#1225), and by the NCCAOM as a PDA Provider (#9155).

For more information:
Contact Us
Phone: 1-800-499-1438