Initially training in pre-TCM and TCM styles of Chinese acupuncture, Stephen Birch has been practicing acupuncture since 1982 with a specialization in Japanese acupuncture. He began studying with Kiiko Matsumoto and then started studying in Japan with senior experienced practitioners, first with Yoshio Manaka and then with various Meridian Therapists, especially those in the Toyohari tradition: Kodo Fukushima, Toshio Yanagishita, Akahiro Takai, Shuho Taniuchi, Koryo Nakada and many others. He co-authored 3 books with Matsumoto, including ‘Hara Diagnosis’. He also co-wrote Manaka’s English book ‘Chasing the Dragon’s Tail’ (in German ‘Manaka’s Quantensprung’) and the text ‘Japanese Acupuncture’ with his wife Junko Ida (also available in German). He wrote a general text on acupuncture ‘Understanding Acupuncture’ with Bob Felt and the book 'Shonishin - Japanese pediatric Acupuncture', published in 2011, second edition 2016. The book on Qi and the Jingmai co-authored with Manuel Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrer Mir was published in 2014. He has taught extensively around Europe and also in Australasia, Brasil and the US. He is Associate Professor at the Kristiania University College in Oslo, Norway where he is working on research. He has been involved in research about acupuncture for around thirty years with a PhD in acupuncture research methodology, working on studies in the US and Europe, and has published dozens of papers on this topic. He is part of a team searching for and analysing publications from medical experts that recommend acupuncture, having already found many more than were believed to exist. He has been working on scholarly and scientific investigations of pattern-based diagnoses in traditional acupuncture since the late 1980s. He is a member of iPING - the international Pattern Identification Network Group (collaborating with Korean, Chinese, European and Australian researchers) and has conducted studies and written about this area of research over the years. He has recently completed several small studies and is also working with the group on a series of papers to inform the field and research community about needs and methodologies for research on pattern-based treatments.
At present he is one of the two more senior Toyohari instructors in Europe. He has maintained a practice throughout this time and currently practices at the Japanese Acupuncture Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.