Course ContentAn overview on what you are going to learn
Introductionto a new paradigm
- Chinese Medicine 1
- Point Location 1
- Western Medicine: Anatomy
- Western Medicine: Physiology
- Personal and Professional Development 1
- Study Skills and Introduction to Research
Consolidationof the knowledge
- Chinese Medicine 2
- Point Location 2
- Applied Chinese Medicine 1
- Western Medicine: Pathology
- Personal and Professional Development 2
- Practical Clinic
- Research 2
Clinical ExperienceBecoming an Acupuncturist
- Chinese Medicine 3
- Point Location 3
- Applied Chinese Medicine 2
- Personal and Professional Development 3
- Supervised and Trainee Clinic
- Research 3
Please refer to the table below for more information about our courses.
Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Theory
We believe our acupuncture course gives students the opportunity to study Chinese Medicine, its philosophies and applications, in the greatest possible depth.
During the first year, the Yin/Yang concept and the Five Elements are explored. The general Acupuncture Meridian system is taught and further explored during Point Location classes. An introduction to the Zang/Fu (the organ system) and diagnosis are also studied in the first year. The first year also sees the commencement of Observational Clinics where acupuncture students will have the opportunity to participate in patient treatment by observing an acupuncture practitioner.
In the second year, the Zang/Fu, which forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) taught in many other Acupuncture Colleges, is covered in more depth. The Meridian system is also revisited and looked at in much greater detail. Further diagnosis and ‘needling’ are taught in theory at this stage. Acupuncture Clinical Observation continues throughout this year. During the second semester, students are ready to learn the theory of Stems and Branches and how the previous semesters’ study is brought together. Additional acupuncture theory is also given in Chinese Pathology. One of the most exciting aspect of this year is that you begin to treat patients in a group practical clinic, with the support and supervision from a licensed acupuncture practitioner. Clinical Observation also continues throughout this year.
Throughout the final year, very much a ‘Clinical’ year, you will treat patients on your own, but always with the readily available support of a licensed acupuncture practitioner. There is frequent opportunity to discuss case studies and to explore treatment possibilities. Additionally, in this year you will learn Practice Management offering very valuable information needed when they decide to set up in practice.
The support of the personal and clinical development through the final year internship also prepares you for continuing learning throughout your career as an acupuncturist.
The point of Acupuncture
There are many aspects involved in becoming a successful acupuncture practitioner. However, one of the most important is the practical ability to be able to ‘find’ or ‘locate’ acupuncture points skillfully, accurately and with a great deal of sensitivity.
Although a thorough understanding of the philosophical theory behind acupuncture, together with the numerous diagnostic skills to assess pathologies is essential, it would all come to nothing if, in the final analysis, the points chosen to affect the treatment were not accurately found!
In our point location course, during the first year you will be given a comprehensive grasp of the anatomical location of a range of key acupuncture points (the most commonly used points in acupuncture practice) using theory and practical skills. You will learn the classical features, categories and actions of these points, and to develop an understanding of the related Chinese Philosophical concepts.
This will take place in a supportive environment where you can learn about and reflect upon the issues of intimacy and respect, as well as learning skills about your own energy management, when working physically with other people.
In the second year you will complete the process of learning the anatomical locations of all the channel points together with their features and actions in order to create a solid foundation for your future clinical practice.
Your sensory skills will be further developed during the third year when you will be also able to develop a deeper understanding of the practical applications of acu-points with respect to the underlying energetic framework within the scope of Chinese philosophy. During the third year you will also learn the most commonly used points outside the main channel system.
Onsite Acupuncture Clinic
Our onsite Acupuncture Clinic at ICOM also serves as a Teaching Clinic – providing superb opportunities for students to observe experienced acupuncturists at work and to learn, through direct experience, the practice of acupuncture under the close supervision of experienced Registered Acupuncturists, all of our practitioners are graduates of the college and in an excellent position to demonstrate clinically the theory encountered on the course.
The student clinic experience starts from the beginning in the first year observation, this continues throughout the course to enable a gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience in the many varied diagnostic skills involved in Classical Chinese medicine, i.e. pulse taking, tongue diagnosis, body diagnosis, interviewing, listening etc.
As students progresses to the second year, clinical training is reinforced with the experience of Practical Days. On these days a patient is seen within small supportive peer groups and a student is in charge of the treatment (fully supervised), this enables the student to put into practice the diagnostic skills learnt.
The main focus in the third year is the clinical training, it starts with group clinics as in the second year and moves to one to one interactions that are fully supervised. Here each student begins to treat independently, taking sole responsibility for a patient’s treatment under the guidance and direct supervision of a senior clinic acupuncture practitioner. In the last term of the third year the students progress to Trainee Clinics, with full responsibility for a patient whilst at the same time still remaining within the safe environment of the College Acupuncture Clinic. Supervision is still available but solely on request of the trainee student. The Trainee Clinics are supported by Case History Discussion Days – scheduled on the timetable – to discuss the cases seen in more detail. The final year sees the full integration of the preceding years of acupuncture study and practice. This “internship” is an essential part of the whole programme of study and experience offered by the College.
No need for you to find your own patients. Our clinic staff will do it for you.
Personal and Professional Development
Practitioner skill training is built into and developed throughout the acupuncture course. The skills, knowledge and understanding that you learn are enhanced by the training in professional and personal development given through the clinic modules of the course. You will be required to keep a reflective portfolio of your experiences, understanding and learning, enabling you to set and achieve your personal goals and develop the attributes needed to be a caring and competent acupuncture practitioner
Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology
As well as the in-depth study of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture students also receive a thorough training in Western orthodox medicine skills.
The first year module, Anatomy, concentrates on topographical anatomy dealing in depth with the musculoskeletal system, aiding point location and the later safe practice of needling, while giving students a practical familiarity with the structure of the human body. During the second year students are provided with an integrated study of Western physiology and then pathology.
Students are encouraged to integrate Eastern and Western perspectives on human structure, function and dysfunction, so giving a broader understanding of health and disease and an ease of communication with other professional disciplines and healthcare professionals. Lectures covering work in the new physics and scientific fields relating to health and healing extend this by exploring the field of energy medicine as a whole, showing the unity behind different approaches.
Students who have already trained in Western medical sciences may be exempt from attending these lectures, but may still be required to sit the examinations in the appropriate subject.
As an educational and training institution working both at the level of Higher Education and within the profession of Acupuncture, the College incorporates research-mindedness into much of its Acupuncture programme, and encourages students to be critically evaluative and reflective in their thinking across the whole curriculum.
The College recognises the value of high quality research and how this can inform the curriculum. We are proud to acknowledge that the development of the acupuncture profession in the UK (and other parts of the world) has been profoundly influenced by ICOM graduates and is a trend that we would like to see continued.
The intellectual skills of criticality, scientific enquiry and reflective practice are supported by our Research modules, which aim to introduce acupuncture students to the main principles of research methodology, strengthening students’ ability to source information for themselves and to evaluate it effectively.
Years 1 & 2
Over the first two years of the acupuncture course we build the knowledge, understanding and skills to equip acupuncture students with the necessary tools to be able to undertake their final dissertation, a small scale research study, in the third and final year. These skills include scientific writing skills, scrutiny and critique, statistical analysis and relevance of research activities to acupuncture and complementary therapy. The challenges of applying western style research techniques to the world of acupuncture and Chinese medicine are explored, as is the range of both qualitative and quantitative study. These skills are developed in class using example, demonstration and practice, and throughout independent study, using project based learning.
Year 3 – Dissertation
The final year dissertation allows acupuncture students, in a variety of ways, to deepen their understanding of Chinese philosophy and link it clearly to their clinical diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Students are allotted individual personal supervisors and have access, within appropriate guidelines, to accumulated case records spanning more than 25 years; the archive of the College Acupuncture Clinic offers a comprehensive resource of potential research data.
Preparing and encouraging students to carry out effective future research, as qualified and registered Acupuncture practitioners, will contribute to the research base and development of the profession as a whole.