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 Graduates

The transition from student to working practitioner was exciting

Murad Muhtaseb is a 33-year old acupuncture practitioner based in South West London.  Murad graduated from LCTA with a BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture in August 2007.  Prior to retraining, he worked as a Dental Surgeon.  Here he talks about his experiences in choosing a clinic setting and establishing his practice.

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

I practice in the Esporta Health and Fitness Centre in Wimbledon, South West London.  It’s a clinic situated in the tranquil Spa area of the centre, and is open to members and non-members of the club.  Being located in a gym I see a lot of musculoskeletal conditions but I see a wide variety of other ailments too.  I am happy to see any condition that I think I can help with.

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

I was more worried about setting up my practice than was necessary.  With a bit of patience I found a clinic that I felt comfortable in, in the area I was interested in, and at a price I could afford. It took about three months and in that time I saw places that just weren’t right for me, but I guess you need to see what you don’t want to appreciate the good places.

Because it was a well established gym I had access to local health conscious people who were interested in hearing more about my services.  It wasn’t hard to generate interest in acupuncture but converting that interest to actual clients was a little tougher. I knew business would be a little slow at the beginning so I wasn’t too disappointed that I had many gaps between appointments.   When I was busy I tried my best to give the best treatments I could, and on quiet times I would research my cases, and work on marketing and designing my website.  All in all the transition from student to working practitioner was exciting and ran fairly smoothly.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Not really.  I am glad I jumped in to practising full time or I don’t think I would have become a full-time acupuncturist at all.  I am still learning about running a business as I go, but it’s all part of the adventure.

What are you plans for the future?

To carry on building a client list and I am always looking out for new opportunities.  Last September I started working at an acupuncture clinic in Kingston University and I can see myself joining up with other practitioners like osteopaths or chiropractors in multi-disciplinary clinics if the right opportunity arises.  The healing power of acupuncture is so amazing I constantly want to read and find out more about different styles of acupuncture and learn from other practitioners’ experiences.  Being in London, I am lucky to have a huge selection of lectures and courses to attend.

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

Enjoy what you do.  Building a practice takes time but it will be a lot easier if your career excites you.  Be patient and positive and there is no reason why we can’t all have a clinic working at the level we desire.

Retraining didn’t just lead to a new career – it led to marriage!

Murad Muhtaseb is a 33-year old acupuncture practitioner based in South West London.  Murad graduated from LCTA with a BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture in August 2007.  Prior to retraining, he worked as a Dental Surgeon.  Here he talks about why he retrained and about his experiences as a student at LCTA.

What made you decide to retrain?

I was impressed with the results acupuncture could achieve with dental problems such as jaw pain and Trigeminal Neuralgia.  I then began to read more about the basic principles of acupuncture and I really connected with the way the body is viewed in Chinese medicine.  The more I read, the more I wanted to learn how to implement these principles in a clinical setting and find out if I could get the same results as the cases I was reading about.

How did you find LCTA?

I searched the internet for places to study and wrote to several places asking for more information about their courses.  Only two colleges replied back to my e-mails. One of them was LCTA.

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

LCTA invited me to an open day where they explained how their course is structured, what kind of commitment would be involved, and then they answered all of my questions. I liked what I heard.  The fact that they had already been fully accredited by the British Acupuncture Council and could offer a BSc from University of Portsmouth was comforting too.

What was your favourite aspect of the course?

I really enjoyed the Teaching Clinic sessions in the third year.  I had practiced point location and made diagnosis on other students in the first two years but the third year gave me the closest experience to a working clinic.  I really enjoy the one-to-one contact with patients and it felt great to confirm that I could do this every day as a career.

What were your fellow students like?

I was very fortunate to study with a superb group of students.  We helped and supported each other.  I had one or two friends that I was especially close to and we would often organise study sessions at our houses.  We would get together, cook some food then work through some study material. It was a lot of fun and it really helped take the stress out of studies.  I am still in frequent contact with a few of the students. There were even fellow students at my wedding last year, one of them being the bride!!!

What did you think of the LCTA staff and tutors?

The staff at LCTA have always been very helpful.  In the first year of studies when we were in the old building, I had an accident and injured my knee just before exams were due to start.  The staff helped me to re-arrange my exams and even moved my classes to the ground floor until I was able to navigate the stairs again.

I’ve always tried to learn as much as I can from the tutors. They all have a lot of experience from different backgrounds and they were always happy to share it with the class.  The tutors definitely pushed us and we had to work hard to pass the modules but I also have fond memories of fun times with many tutors.

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

Pretty much yes.  I knew the work would pile up and there would be many late nights to make sure deadlines were reached but it was all worth it to end up in the career I wanted.

What was it like to be a student at LCTA?

I really enjoyed being a student, but after three years, and shortly following an eight year dental surgery degree, I was also happy to finish being a student.  I found being a student at LCTA was made a lot easier because of the friendships I formed with the staff and the students. In addition to the hard work and hours in the library, I have very warm memories of chatting, laughing and swapping stories with many interesting people. I found my best friend and my wife there so I definitely got the most out of LCTA!

Look out for the next blog entry and read about Murad’s experiences in choosing a clinic setting and establishing his practice.

Being a mother and an acupuncture student

Many women find that their priorities change when they become mothers.  A job that may have been fulfilling and exciting when you were young, free and single, sometimes becomes less appealing or more difficult to manage with a family to care for.  Of course, there are a huge variety of careers that you can choose to train for, but it’s often difficult to fit studying around your children.

Louise recently graduated in acupuncture at LCTA.  She explains what it was like to juggle her studies with being a mother:

 

Louise Day

Louise studied acupuncture part-time

I was a beauty therapist for several years before I moved to a pharmaceutical company, where I spent six years as a sales team co-ordinator.  I missed the holistic environment that I had enjoyed as a therapist and so I began to look for something new that I could learn that would also provide me with opportunities to continue to develop.  I had had some acupuncture treatment myself and had looked into studying TCM a year or so before I started at LCTA, but I had not found a course I could manage alongside my full-time job.

 

When I first came across LCTA I was very excited to find a part-time course.  When I came for the Presentation Day I got a feeling that I was going to like Chinese medicine and now I know 100% that I made the right decision.  Even after looking after my little boy all day, I would often go upstairs and concentrate on my studies – Chinese medicine definitely keeps you interested!

I found out I was pregnant about three weeks before I started the course.  I’d been trying for a long time and had used acupuncture to conceive.  I was so motivated to study Chinese medicine that I decided it would be fine to do the course and have a baby and just got on with it.  Stanley was born about four weeks before the first year exams and I was back at College two and half weeks later.  I took my point location book to hospital with me because I knew I had my exams coming up.

Studying Chinese medicine alongside being a mum really worked for me.  I’m not someone who can sit and study for hours at a time – I have to do things visually, so I constantly looked for baby channels and acupuncture points on Stanley.

It was nice to have something to do with my brain and even nicer to know that before he turned two, I would be qualified and have a career that will fit in with my family life; that was one of the reasons why I did it – it was about work-life balance, not money.

I would like to work with other practitioners to begin with and perhaps later when I have more experience, I would like to practise from home.  Fertility is a field I have particular interest in and I believe that I will have the advantage as a practitioner of being able to relate to my patients from my own personal experience.  I would like to continue to add to my skills and I am considering studying Chinese herbal medicine as it can be used extremely effectively alongside acupuncture.

My advice to students is to not get stressed with the amount you have to learn during the first year.  It seems like you are never going to manage and then in the second year, it all clicks into place.  When you look at it, the Chinese way of doing things is actually very simple.