ICOM Alumni

What have our former students been up to after graduating?

News from ICOM graduates are gradually being added to our website. This page will contain profiles and quick news / messages about and from our Alumni.

News from Stephan Espinosa – Graduation year 2013

After spending the summer working in ICOM’s clinic, I went to work in the spa of a cruise ship that was in the Caribbean. That experience was very intense in many ways. First, as an acupuncturist, the fact of having to explain to passengers how they might benefit from acupuncture was a very rewarding challenge as they were on-board for only a week, so every 7 days 2,000 new faces! So that was a lot of training opportunity to present well and succinctly, and to improve the seminars given in the spa on specific topics (pain, digestion, arthritis, etc). A great factor for the amazing results in clinic was, in my opinion, the fact that people were there on holidays, so very relaxed, and also the possibility to see them more than once within a week. Many would come for a ‘package’ of 3 sessions. Another intense aspect of ship life is the interactions with the crew. We live together in confined spaces, so friends become close very quickly. During my spare time I would go to heavenly beaches, with amazing sun and water, altogether a great balance.

Stephan at WHO

After that, I went to Ecuador and practiced there for a while, before going to Geneva, Switzerland to join a project at the World Health Organization on traditional and complementary medicine, and have been working here since then. That was already 3 years ago! Initially, part-time to be able to practice in town, but gradually as the project got busier I ended up full time in this public health setting, far from my original plans! I have been participating to the development of a list of diagnoses of ‘traditional medicine’ that is included in the International Classification of Diseases, produced by WHO for health statistics and used in hospitals, reimbursement, etc. This is one step closer to having a health system where ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ medicines are integrated for the benefit of patients. Overall, I would say that working here, despite its challenges with sometimes complex political environments and administrative procedures, is inspiring by the impact of global projects that are developed in collaboration with so many countries, experts, and the interaction with such a diversity of people and cultures.

Graduating from ICOM enabled all these wonderful experiences, and more to come, no doubt!

News from Rebecca Wheatley

Our tutor and practitioner Rebecca has sent news from China where she’s on a placement through the Confucius Institute, part of an exchange program that sees a number of Chinese Doctors from Harbin come to the BAcC conference in September.

 ‘We are observing different clinics…they are all separated into western med departments.  So I’ve been to Neurology, Rheumatology, Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Tuina. Tomorrow we’re seeing gynaecology and Nephrology.  Very protocol based but observed some interesting treatments. It’s -6 degrees here at times and no heating….cold!!! Very western med approach to acupuncture… more CM diagnosis used in herbs.  Up to 80% of patients have a stroke…high risk up here in the North due to cold and high salt, fat and sugar diet.  Scalp acupuncture used on every patient with same protocol of body points for everyone. Needles inserted at lightening speed as the doctors often treat 100 patients just in the morning.  Impressive needling but hygiene boundaries interesting!!’

Wishes from

Charlie Buck

“Carry on the good work, ICOM is a remarkable institution, I have such fond memories of my time at Green Hedges House all those years ago”


Charles Buck

Charles Buck

Practitioner and Educator

Charles is an experienced practitioner, educator and recognised authority on Chinese medicine. His career has spanned multiple disciplines including medical sciences and the theory and practice of clinical oriental medicine. After graduating in 1984 he  helped pioneer the teaching and practice of Chinese herbal medicine in the UK including a role as the founding director of the UK’s first college-based course. Awarded an acupuncture MSc in 2000, he has worked both as a supervisor and External Examiner for various University TCM higher degrees. Clinically Charles has gained specialist skills in fertility, cancer care and dermatology and for 25 years has taught these and other subjects extensively across the EU. In 2014, he published a textbook on the historical development of Chinese medicine. Wishing to be maximally effective as a practitioner, educator and author he gained the skills required for effective communication; self-studying PR, behavioural sciences and taking formal training in NLP. Well-placed to contribute to the advancement of our profession Charles accepted a call to serve the BAcC and completed a 3-year term as Governing Board Chair in 2015. Acting politically in the UK and EU he has seen some important achievements during this time. Charles now works with the RCHM, BAcC, ATCM and the US-based Acupuncture Now Foundation, to raise awareness of the contribution we can make to healthcare today. He says, “I feel honoured to have enjoyed a prominent career in a community of practitioners of such calibre and integrity”.



Sue Kalicinska

Sue Kalicinska

B.Ac., M.B.Ac.C., L.C.S.P.(Assoc), B.Sc., M.Sc., D.I.C.

After graduating in 1987 Sue, Founding member of the British Acupuncture Council, has worked intensively  and specialised in Traditional and Facial Acupuncture, Therapeutic massage, Colour healing.
She also offers “Sounding the Colours of Life” (personal facilitation): 1-2-1 and workshops Yi Jing consultations and has clinics available in Belgravia, Fulham and Farnham.

Alexandra O'Connor

Alexandra O'Connor


My main area of focus is to work with patients suffering with conditions that go beyond simple, physical trauma. The Classical Chinese medicine theories taught at ICOM have given me a fresh perspective on such conditions and enable me to in see how contemporary health problems can be seen in the light of ancient wisdom. As well as paying close attention to the presenting signs and symptoms and the patient’s history, I also take into account Stems and Branches information, additional information from the Four Pillars, the Hourly Points and the Mystic Turtle points; I roll this myriad of information around in my mind to select point combinations that feel appropriate from many different perspectives. This is when the creativity starts to happen, the point at which acupuncture feels as though it is a form of healing art.
Since graduation I have taken many interesting CPD courses such as studying the use of acupuncture through pregnancy with Debra Betts and learning about the powerful effects of guasha with Arya Nielson. I continue to deepen my understanding of the ancient classics by studying with Edward Neal and I am quietly improving my interpersonal skills as I continue training to become a Hakomi practitioner (body centred psychotherapy); skills that dovetail beautifully with my acupuncture practice.


Kam Winchester

Kam Winchester

Acupuncturist and Masseur

ICOM has given a new purpose to Kam,
Since graduating from ICOM in 2014, Kam has been working as an acupuncturist at the home based clinic called Acupuncture in Eden and at Options Beauty Salon in Edenbridge High street. Kam is also specialised in facial acupuncture, Swedish full body massage and maternity massage and runs a multi bed community clinic every Saturday. Details can be found on www.acupunctureineden.co.uk
Nicola Rycroft

Nicola Rycroft


Since graduating, Nicola has set up her home clinic in Norwich, Norfolk. This is called the Three Treasures Clinic – named both in honour of her daughters, and after the Three Treasures of Humanity in Chinese Medicine. Nicola also works at The Rowan House Centre, a Health and Wellbeing Centre in a nearby village where she enjoys interaction with other health practitioners. She feels very honoured to be able to practice Acupuncture and is proud of her ICOM roots.


Valia Dimaraki

Valia Dimaraki

Acupuncturist and Bodywork practitioner

Fresh out of ICOM, Valia graduated in March 2015!
With a background in Paralympic Sport and other major events, she has a keen interest in treating acute as much as chronic health problems, which was also the subject area of her dissertation.
Following a month volunteering in Nepal in a multi-bed clinic where patients came as they would to an A&E or GP Practice, she had the opportunity to treat a large range of patients from toddlers to elderly, to see the strength of acupuncture for acute conditions (injuries, fevers, acute inflammatory, skin and other conditions) and to deepen further her understanding of Chinese Medicine. Since 2012, she also volunteers once a week at a rehabilitation centre in Camden offering group therapy auricular acupuncture. 
In addition to acupuncture she is a keen bodywork practitioner seeing them as complimentary practices and also offers massage at ICOM.
Valia also practices in London.
Simon Casciano

Simon Casciano

Lic Ac, MBAcC, BA, BSc

Since graduating from ICOM Simon has continued to nourish the two great passions of his life: music and ‘Classical’ / ‘Stems & Branches’ Acupuncture, which he defines ‘the very gentle art which has prevention of illness as its goal’.
Simon has been practising mostly in Forest Row and London Covent Garden. He uses very few needles and encourages his patients to take an active role in their recovery, educating them on stress resilience, causation, prevention and offering them valuable self-care skills.