Chinese medicine training – naturally outstanding

Follow the experiences of acupuncture students and graduates at LCTA and find out what it's really like to study Traditional Chinese Medicine

Archive for March, 2010

Acupuncture training was great fun at my age!

Kathy Hilditch is 61 years old.  She lives in Southgate and graduated with a BSc in Acupuncture from LCTA in 2009.  She is currently studying Tui Na.  Kathy is a Barristers Clerk and is retiring on 1st April 2010 to practice acupuncture full-time.  Here she talks about her experience as a mature student at LCTA:

What made you decide to retrain?

I wanted a new career that I would enjoy when I retired.

How did you find LCTA?

I came to the Teaching Clinic for treatment in 2003.

What were the main factors that influenced your choice of College?

It had a good reputation and was near to home.

What was your favourite aspect of the course?

The chance to learn.

What were your fellow students like?

They were all very nice.

What did you think of the LCTA staff and tutors?

They were great.

Was the course/College what you expected it to be?

It’s so long since I studied that I did not have any fixed ideas.  So it was completely new to me.

What was it like to be a student at LCTA?

It was great fun at my age!

What kind of practice do you run and where are you based?

I already practice from home and I will be in the City of London in a practice very soon.

What was the transition from student to practitioner like for you?

It was inspiring and a little daunting at times.  I still can’t believe it!

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I should have believed in myself more.

Now that you are back at LCTA, how have you found the first few weeks of your tui na course?

I was in two minds whether to start in September rather than March as I thought it may be too much with starting my practice.  I decided to go for it, and have found it really helpful. It’s refreshing my knowledge all the time.

Are you enjoying being more hands on?

I love the more hands on approach and the palpation skills are invaluable.  I now really feel that this will be great to run alongside my first year in practice.  I also wanted to do Qi Gong to cultivate my Qi and energy, for my practice and general good health.

Was it easier to get yourself into it having already done the acupuncture course?

I’m still at work but I finish next week so I will be able to study at a more leisurely pace than before, which became very difficult when I was doing the acupuncture degree.  I can’t wait to have more time to myself and be more relaxed about everything.

Just before I started Tui Na my mother had a massive stroke.  She has reached a great age, nearly 94, and sadly will not recover, so my life has become even more complicated with the inevitable about to happen.  I was looking forward to spending more time with her and giving her more attention, so I’m very sad about that and she was looking forwarded to it as well, how cruel life can be!  I really feel as though one chapter in my life is closing and another is about to begin.   Tui Na will be good for me to focus on.

What are you plans for the future?

I would like to build a good practice and get a good name for myself.

Do you have any tips for current or prospective students of TCM?

Keep going, it’s worth it.


The Statutory Regulation of herbal medicine in the UK

A letter from Emma Farrant of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine:

This is possibly your last chance to make the government listen

As you may know, we have learned that Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health may be making a decision any day now about how to regulate the herbal medicine sector, following the Department of Health’s consultation on this matter.
There is a very real possibility that the government is considering a “light touch licensing scheme” instead of granting us Statutory Regulation. This would be disastrous for the future of herbal medicine and we herbalists in the UK.

Each of the professional associations that make up the EHTPA, including the RCHM, is urging its members to write to Andy Burnham now, in order to have an impact on his decision.  There has been a suggestion made to the government by some mistaken members of the public that herbalists are against statutory regulation.  We cannot allow Mr.Burnham to use this as an excuse not to regulate us.

Let’s flood Andy Burnham with letters right now, and give him serious pause for thought at the final hour.

Please use the
attached letter and send it today!

With best wishes

Emma Farrant

RCHM, Office 5, Ferndale Business Centre, 1 Exeter Street, Norwich, NR2 4QB
Telephone: 01603 623994 Fax: 01603 667557

I wanted a more morally satisfying career

Rebecca Clarke is a 34-year old acupuncturist based in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.  She studied acupuncture and herbs at LCTA, graduating with a BSc in Acupuncture in 2005 and with an MSc in Oriental Herbal Medicine in 2008.  Prior to studying at LCTA, she was an IT consultant.  Here she answers some questions about her studies and her experience in setting up a practice.

What made you decide to retrain?

I wanted a more morally satisfying career and I didn’t want to work weekends and evenings – hah that one didn’t work! 🙂

How did you find LCTA?

I began my studies in the North of England but due to a job change that brought me down to Hertfordshire, I decided to relocate my studies as the commute was unbearable. I found LCTA through the internet.

What were the main factors that influenced your choice of College?

LCTA was the closest College to my new job and the open day impressed me.  A course was about to start and I had recently had a particularly nightmarish weekend journeying up to York and jumped at the chance of not having to do it again.

What was your favourite aspect of the course?

The way it changed the way I think about the world I live in and the people I live in it with.

What were your fellow students like?

Fabulous, most of us still meet up a couple of times each year.

What did you think of the LCTA staff/tutors?

They are a diverse and interesting bunch of people with a great deal to offer.

Was the course/College what you expected it to be?

It was tough but it was rewarding.  I don’t think I knew what to expect from it.

What was it like to be a student at LCTA?

It was a journey and a privilege.

What kind of practice do you run and where are you based?

I work in Harley Street, Chiswick and Rickmansworth.  In Harley Street and Chiswick I work with a team of other acupuncturists and we do a lot of fertility work, although not exclusively. Chiswick and Rickmansworth are both multi-disciplinary clinics where I work with practitioners of other therapies.

What was the transition from student to practitioner like for you?

Slow, it takes patience or possibly marketing. I continued studying for two and a half years after qualifying and was still in another full-time job for nine months before I was able to become a full-time practitioner.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I think I should have waited and started my herbs course after acupuncture graduation. I was trying to hold down a full-time job whilst doing acupuncture finals and starting a herbs course. It  was too much for me.

What are you plans for the future?

Oh my plans are huge! I want to learn Mandarin, study herbs in Chengdu, get a horticultural diploma at Kew and study Quantum mechanics. I haven’t decided which or which order as yet….oh and to start doing a daily qi practice.

Do you have any tips for current or prospective students of TCM?

Although I think people did try and tell us this, the one thing that is hard to face is that you are running a business, you do need to make a living. Separating or perhaps actually integrating the ‘I want to help people to be well’ from the reality of earning a living is not easy.

TCM seems to make the most sense in what can often appear to be quite an insane society!

Tom Watson is a 29-year old first year acupuncture student from North London.


He completed a four-year teacher training course with the College of Elemental Chi Kung prior to enrolling at LCTA.  He is a Regeneration Consultant in East London, working on Social regeneration projects such as employment programmes and neighbourhood renewal.  He now works part time whilst studying.

What made you decide to train in TCM?

I have always been interested in Acupuncture and on a broader level, Daoism.  I have practised Tai Chi for a number of years and love the idea of mastering the ‘Five excellences’ as a path through life. I have always wanted to help people in some form, and believe increasingly that the best way to do this is by helping them to find health and contentment or personal fulfilment. The Chinese system of health seems to make the most sense in what can often appear to be quite an insane society!

I also lost my mum to cancer last year. I was her primary carer in the last four months of her life and seeing her suffer through chemotherapy and from the cancer itself was not easy. I see illness as very much being linked to our emotions, and TCM seems to have this approach also, in quite a sophisticated way.

What were the main factors that influenced your choice of College?

I was ‘Googling’ for TCM colleges near London when I came across LCTA.  I later came across friends and colleagues who knew of or had been to the College.

LCTA is close to home, which was an important factor for me. But the structure and content of the course also appealed.

What is your favourite subject on the course?

It has to be Point Location.  Chinese Medicine Theory is also great for its fascinating discussions. For example, we talked the other day about the ‘discerning’ mental powers of the Small Intestine, and we connected this to the common saying when you have a ‘Gut Feeling’ about something. It all makes sense in a funny way!

How are you finding the course?

Great – I love it. It’s tough working part time but having said that I think I am managing to keep up with the studies without getting stressed. Qi Gong is helping, but I’ll tell you more after I get my first exam results!


What are your fellow students like?

Brilliant – a great and varied bunch, all ages and sizes, but all very supportive and nurturing of each other.

What do you think of the LCTA staff/tutors?

Professional and knowledgeable and most importantly passionate about their subjects.

What do you like most about the course?

Everything really! But the way it’s structured (spiral learning I think) is really helpful in getting to grips with new concepts.

Is it what you expected it to be?

Yes – and more.

Is there anything you would change?

Not at this stage no.

What are you most looking forward to this year in your studies?

Finishing my exams and taking a break in the summer!

Will you be taking any other courses?  If so, why?

Id love to take herbs – it seems like herbs really compliment acupuncture treatment, and can be a lot more effective in some circumstances. I love learning new stuff anyway.

Do you know what kind of practice you want to have when you qualify?

A popular one that makes me lots of money!  I want to be busy and I want to feel that I help. I would certainly want to introduce a low cost element at the practice.

What is it like to be a student at LCTA?

It’s great, I feel well supported but also really excited about the future.