Integrated Acupuncture - TCM & Five Element Acupuncture Course

Acupuncture stems from an age-old system of healing that originated in China. Its theory is contained in ancient texts, and its practice has been the subject of continuous study and clinical assessment over thousands of years and billions of patients. It has truly stood the test of time. Acupuncture theory derives from two fundamental concepts: yin/yang theory and the Five Elements. These two profound ideas have shaped Oriental medical theory and practice for many years, and continue to do so today. The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine trains acupuncture practitioners in an integrated style. This style brings together the strengths of yin/yang theory (using Traditional Chinese Medicine) and the Five Elements (using Five Element constitutional diagnosis) in one integrated whole, acupuncture course.

Why integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with Five Element Acupuncture?

We believe that an acupuncture practitioner is best equipped to treat someone if they understand both their illness, and the nature of the person suffering from the illness. To achieve this we teach an integration of two different styles: TCM and Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture. In this respect the degree course taught at our College is unique.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), based on yin/yang and Eight Principle theory, is the mainstream style practised in China. It concentrates on the symptoms of a patient's illness. It is well suited for treating a wide range of physical and psychological conditions. It is also very effective when treating musculo-skeletal problems, which many of our patients suffer from. Based on a combination of questioning and observation, as well as pulse and tongue diagnosis, it provides an effective framework for treating complaints such as headaches, gynaecological problems, digestive complaints, chest conditions and many other illnesses.

To diagnose the problem the practitioner asks specific questions and looks for patterns arising from the signs and symptoms. For example, in the case of headaches, the practitioner may ask: "When does the headache come on?", "Where exactly do you feel it?", "What does it feel like?", "Is it affected by bright light?". The answers help the practitioner to find the cause of the patient’s disharmony, and treat it.

Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture Course focuses on the person who has the illness, rather than the illness itself. A combination of our genetic inheritance and the first few years of life leave all of us with subtle imbalances in our qi that affect our health and wellbeing.
The practitioner detects these imbalances by observing a person closely, concentrating on four crucial aspects:

  • the emotion they are expressing most inappropriately
  • the colour that can be observed on their face, particularly on the lower temples beside the eye
  • the odour emitted by their body
  • the sound present in their voice, particularly a tone that does not fit with the emotion being expressed.

Together these indicate which of the Five Elements is the constitutional imbalance of the patient: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, or Wood.

By incorporating both styles, the practitioner creates a wider range of treatment possibilities and touches the patient deeply. Patients feel better in themselves, have more vitality and deal with the problems that caused them to seek treatment.

When a practitioner learns to integrate a diagnosis of the person’s particular symptoms with a diagnosis of their constitutional imbalance, they become able to practise a style of acupuncture that is in accord with the principles of Xu Dachun. That is why our acupuncture course is integrated.

  • "I wanted to become an acupuncturist because I had experienced its amazing benefits…studying acupuncture at CICM was one of the best decisions in my life.”

    Ehsan Salout

  • "I love the teaching at CICM, it is varied, interesting and extremely inspiring and the teachers all have a wealth of experience to draw on.”

    Keeley Farrington

  • “CICM was suggested by an acupuncturist I know and recommended for its high-quality tuition and professional approach. I knew I wanted to explore a degree course and after my open day experience I knew it had to be CICM.”

    Michelle Patrick

  • "I recently joined CICM and there are so many things I love about the place. The teachers are genuinely helpful and want us to do well. The place has a calm, harmonic feel and studying has already had a tangible benefit to my lifestyle and health."

    Erica Chen

  • "I was an electrician before I started studying acupuncture. It might not seem like it but there are overlaps between them, you look at a circuit and work out where the problem is coming from and then rectify it. The difference is with acupuncture I’ll help people to get better!"

    Jack Keeping

  • "Since embarking on this course, I have been astounded every day by the passion that this subject has sparked in me. I realised very quickly that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. I can only describe it as finally finding my place in the universe and becoming part of something much bigger than myself."

    Sally Connelly

  • "I wanted to become an acupuncturist as I prefer to use natural remedies which are in line with my faith and cultural background. I have witnessed the profound effects treatment can have on patients. CICM has an excellent reputation and I love the whole package here, especially the staff and supportive teachers."

    Bev Holder

  • "I appreciated the integrated style of TCM and the five elements as being the most profound way to reach and help people. This was the best possible start to a long acupuncture career that I could possibly wish for."

    Bethan Morgan

  • "My years at CICM will always hold a special place in my mind. It was like entering Hogwarts. The subjects are mind-expanding, the teachers and tutors really passionate and always keen to answer questions and give guidance. It has transformed me as a person and changed the way I see people, emotions, relationships, disease and health."

    Efthymios Fotenios

  • The teachers are really supportive and make every effort to tailor how they teach to suit the different styles of students. I like to question things and look at things from different angles - and the teachers have always supported me by being there to answer things by email after class, recommend further reading, or even being there to support me when I set up a Chinese medicine society for the college.

    Helen Reid

  • The course covers a huge range of topics, angles and perspectives, and whilst so much of it is new, unfamiliar and challenging at times- especially the 'hands on practical aspects- I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing, or anywhere else I’d rather be doing it. CICM is a hub of connection, commitment and energy, and something I am honoured to be part of.

    Ellie Farnfield

  • All of my teachers are practicing therapists with a library of information and experience to reinforce their words and the lectures. I have gained a lot of insight into myself and I often find myself reflecting on what we learned in class and applying it to life. I am recommending the course to everyone I know!

    Jacob Marley

  • As I was in my late forties I was concerned that I was too old, however the Open Day dispelled any doubts that I had as the age range of students and staff spanned from 18 to 80. The beautiful building was a joy to explore and I felt immersed in the world of Chinese Medicine. It was a cocoon of learning in the heart of Reading and only ten minutes’ walk from the train station.

    Samanthan Roderick