The International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM) is one of the oldest acupuncture training institutions in the western world. Founded in 1972, ICOM is the first acupuncture college in the United Kingdom and has so far enjoyed more than 40 years of success in training acupuncturists.
ICOM was founded by the late Dr Van Buren, who subsequently went on to establish branches of the college in Holland, Israel and Australia. With it’s unique teaching style of integrated Chinese systems of acupuncture, ICOM has turned out some of the most well respected acupuncturists of the 20th and 21st century.
Due to the thoroughness of the training provided at ICOM and the depth of knowledge received by the students, ICOM graduates commonly enjoy busy practices and fruitful careers once they graduate.
ICOM is a Classically based acupuncture training college that teaches all the main styles of the practice. This includes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Five Elements, Classical acupuncture and Stems and Branches theory. This integrated knowledge helps to make well rounded and highly knowledgeable acupuncturists.
What is ICOM known for?
Besides being the oldest acupuncture training facility in the UK, ICOM is also the only place in the western world that teaches an ancient system of Chinese philosophy known as Stems and Branches.
Stems and Branches, also known as Wu Yun Liu Qi theory, is a fascinating system of Chinese philosophy that provides an in-depth and unique picture of the movements and cycles of energetics of the patient and their relationship to the external environment.
With this unique understanding of the individual, a Stems and Branches acupuncturist can become aware of the deeper nature of their patients and therefore, discover constitutional imbalances that can be a precursor to disease. With this knowledge, the practitioner is able to treat the patient at their root, helping to correct any imbalances and therefore, heal the ailment at a deeper level.
According to this theory, the Qi from our parents and the Qi present in the external environment at the moment of our birth determines our own unique energetic make-up. From this, each person has constitutional strengths and weaknesses, which need to be considered at different stages of our lives.
Stems and Branches philosophy also pays close attention to the cycles and movements of the universe. One such movement is the 60 year cycle through which, our lives are said to be interwoven with these movements. Some time periods we will find relatively smooth whereas others will present more challenging times and sometimes illness.
In clinical practice, Stems and Branches philosophy lends us a deeper understanding and interpretation of the energetics of the patient as well as their physiology and gives us insight into the strengths and weaknesses of their being. From this we are able to comprise a more suitable treatment strategy to assist our patients with their ailments.
A unique approach to student learning
ICOM’s undergraduate acupuncture training courses are both academic and practical, providing the student with a good depth of understanding as well as the time, space and support to apply what they learn in a practical manor.
The main training programme at the college is a BSc (Hons) Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which takes place over three years for full-time students and five years for those wishing to undertake the course on a part-time basis.
ICOM offers a uniquely integrated approach to both acupuncture and learning, which enables the college to mould it’s students into the best practitioner they can possibly be. This training begins with a solid foundation in the theory of Chinese medicine as well as western anatomy, physiology, pathology and extensive diagnostic training.
Once this grounding is acquired, the students are then given extensive practical training, applying their skills with real patients that attend the busy on site student clinic. During this time students are trained in small groups to further enhance their learning. Once they reach a level of competence, they are then one on one with their patients under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. At this stage, the students are then also taught more complex aspects and techniques of Chinese medicine. Having this experience allows the students to see first hand the effects of acupuncture and gauge the results of the treatments they give when they see their patients returning for follow up treatments.
ICOM is affiliated with the University of Greenwich and is partnered with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) through the British Accreditation Board (BAAB). You can also follow ICOM acupuncture college on Facebook here.