Online Learning Series


From Symptoms to Systems: How Complexity Science may help researchers and patients to understand acupuncture’s effects


Complex Adaptive Systems science (CAS) is an approach to understanding cause and effect in complex systems such as global economics, weather patterns, and human psychology. This course applies CAS to research and practice of acupuncture as well as the systems of medical philosophy and practice that underlie it (Acupuncture Systems Medicine, ASM). We begin our discussion with an overview of CAS science, some of its hallmarks, and applications. Diagnosis and treatment within ‘East Asian Medicine’ is characterized by plurality, the peaceful coexistence of distinct modeling systems. This plurality has presented a central challenge for acupuncture clinical research design and funding. CAS may offer a way to bring together different types of traditional practices and biomedical approaches more generally. This course reviews examples of current work using CAS models, each example using a different type of research methodology. In this course, we highlight the example of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD

Tanuja Prasad, MS

Claudia Citkovitz, PhD, MS, LAc

Claire M. Cassidy, PhD

Lisa Taylor-Swanson, PhD, MAcOM, LAc


SAR Members: $94

Non-members: $125

4-hour distance-learning course

4 NCCAOM PDA points available

This is an "on demand" learning course.  Once you register and pay for the course, you will receive a link to the content in your confirmation email.  You may complete the course and go through the materials at your own pace and schedule.