Background and ethos

John and Angela Hicks founded the college as a not-for-profit organisation in 1993 and were joined by Judith Clark and Peter Mole.  They originally trained in the mid 1970s at the College of Traditional Acupuncture with J R Worsley, who introduced five element acupuncture to the UK.  They later undertook clinical training in China, learning what is currently called traditional Chinese medicine or TCM.  They realised that the two styles complemented each other and increased the scope of treatment.  

John, Angela, and Peter have between them written eight books on various aspects of Chinese medicine, including five element constitutional acupuncture, the first comprehensive textbook published on five element acupuncture. 

Teaching staff and management

Students learn best from teachers who are both experienced acupuncturists and passionate teachers.  Our teachers meet regularly at staff development days, sharing skills, pooling ideas and being updated on new developments.  These meetings help to maintain a cohesive and creative staff with a high morale.  Our teachers regularly contribute articles about acupuncture to Chinese medicine magazines and journals. 

The management committee manages the college, under the guidance of a board of governors.  Jonathan Pledger is our principal, Karen Starr vice principal Mark Foster academic director and Peter Mole the dean.

Mission statement values

We aim to provide the highest standard of education and training for every student and to provide the very best care for all patients. 

CICM values 

We aspire to: 

  • Cultivate an environment where wellbeing is valued 
  • Respect the philosophy and values for Chinese medicine 
  • Celebrate a diverse and inclusive atmosphere that is open to positive change 
  • Provide excellence in teaching, critical enquiry and the development of students into professional and passionate practitioners 
  • Create a culture of integrity, authenticity and a respect for community 

Our students develop:

  • A thorough understanding and grasp of the theory and practice of acupuncture
  • The requisite skills to develop rapport, diagnose and treat
  • An understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses
  • An awareness of their own health, how to improve it and how to develop their own qi 
  • Ways to continue their professional development and become outstanding practitioners

To read our institutional policy and mission statement click here

  • "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