What to Expect in your First Year at ICOM

Joining our friendly Acupuncture college is an exciting time. In your first year you’ll be bonding with your cohort, many of whom will likely become lifelong friends. You’ll also get to know your teachers and the staff at the college. The college is a warm and supportive place, and you’ll soon feel like part of a big family of like minded people. If you’re new to East Grinstead, you might also be familiarising yourself with the local area. At ICOM it’s a tradition for the first year students to arrange the annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations for fellow students, staff and families. This is always a hugely fun evening.

In terms of the study, if you’re full time you’ll be learning about Chinese Medicine, Anatomy and Physiology, Acupuncture Point Location. You’ll also be beginning the Research and Personal & Professional Development modules. If you’re studying part time you’ll be taking fewer modules in your first year.

In this series of posts, we’ll focus on a particular module of our Acupuncture Licentiate course to give you an insight of what you’ll learn in your first year.

Part 1 – Chinese Medicine

This first year of Chinese Medicine will be your gateway into traditional Chinese medical thinking. We’ll put acupuncture into a historical and cultural context for you and begin to introduce you to some of the philosophy, theory and practice of Chinese Medicine. We’ll provide a theoretical framework and a firm foundation for your continued training as an acupuncturist. We will prepare you for clinical observation days in the on site college Acupuncture clinic through an introduction to traditional diagnosis. You’ll find your imagination and intellect will be stretched and you’ll be encouraged to reflect on the holistic approach of Chinese medicine.

As the course unfolds, you’ll move from core philosophical constructs onto exploring the traditional East Asian model of physiology. This includes the organ-channel networks and bodily substances. Towards the end of the year you’ll be given an introduction to diagnosis and aetiology of illness from an East Asian perspective.

Sessions will be delivered according to a blended modality which combines live sessions and pre-recorded podcasts. Some of the online sessions are designed to give you the opportunity to ask questions to clarify and generally consolidate the material you’ve been given in the podcasts.

Linking theoretical and practical learning

Through the interactive tutorial sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to draw together your experiences from this course, from Point Location 1 and from Anatomy to begin to link your theoretical learning with your practical. You will collaborate in small groups, participating and interacting with group members on specified tasks.

You’ll also be developing your research and essay writing skills. You will be using standard referencing protocols in project writing and employing a variety of sources in presenting subject matter for written projects. We will build your confidence in presenting Chinese medical ideas to a wider audience.

Following this course in a timely fashion is key as it is designed to provide you with the essential theoretical and philosophical foundations needed to develop an informed clinical practice in the second year.

At the end of your first year

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the holistic paradigm of traditional Chinese thought reflecting on its wider application and relationship to western thought. You’ll be able to show how the traditional Chinese world view and major philosophical theories underpin the medical model that dominates acupuncture to this day. You’ll have a basic understanding of the functioning of the body in traditional Chinese organ-channel terms and you will be able to use simple combinations of signs and symptoms for traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis with particular reference to facial, abdominal and pulse diagnosis.

Most of all, you’ll find your view of the world enriched and you will start to see both the practicality as well as the beauty of this system of thought.

Want to know more?

Want to find out more? Come along to our next Open Day and you’ll learn all about our prestigious Acupuncture training and chat to staff and students.

Have a look at our Course Overview page to see which modules you’ll take during which year of our Licentiate programme, and how these are broken up into part time study.

Our aims for you

At ICOM our aim is to inspire lifelong learners. We strive to:

  • provide you with the space and support to become the best practitioners you can possibly be. 
  • cultivate in all our students integrity, humility and dedication. 
  • keep our class sizes small to ensure that we can support your individual needs.
  • provide you with a thorough and rewarding training in the theory, diagnosis and practice of traditional Chinese acupuncture to develop you as a caring, perceptive and effective acupuncture practitioner. 
  • provide you with the necessary skills to practice acupuncture safely and competently upon graduation. This includes giving you skills in patient assessment and diagnosis, as well as accurate and informed use of acupuncture techniques, moxa and cupping.
  • ensure you are given a sound understanding of Western anatomy, physiology and differential diagnosis/pathology.
  • help you to become a reflective practitioner, able to identify personal and professional goals for continuing professional development and lifelong learning. 
  • give you a keen awareness of ‘red flag’ symptoms and limits to your competence.
  • prepare you to join the wider profession, which includes membership of the British Acupuncture Council along with practice development and management.