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Teach Midlands: An holistic treatment that is to the point; Partially deaf student Claire didn't let her disability get in the way of her studying for an acupuncture degree.

Byline: By Diane Parkes

ALECTURE room packed with students can be a difficult place for the majority of us to take notes but when you are partially deaf, it can be an even more daunting experience.

But when student Claire de Jonge-Vors decided to go back to school to study a three year acupuncture course, she ensured her disability did not stand in the way of her studies.

A midwife for more than 20 years, Claire, of Solihull, made the decision to return to the classroom after seeing how acupuncture had helped some of the pregnant women and new mums she worked with.

She chose to study for a BA (Hons) degree at the College of Traditional Acupuncture which recently moved to Hatton near Warwick. And Claire loved every minute of it.

"The teachers were very good," she says. "I wear a hearing aid and I lip read and I would always sit at the front of lectures." Indeed, she was determined to be just like any other student.

"There is so much to learn," she says. "It is very thorough training."

Claire chose to study a form of acupuncture known as five elements.

"It is a traditional form of healing which derives from Far Eastern traditions in Japan, Korea and China," she says.

"It is all linked to following the seasons. It uses the meridians in the body to ensure balance of the body, mind and spirit.

"With acupuncture we are aiming to treat not just the symptoms but the root of the problem.

"With each client we will have an initial diagnosis in which we look at all aspects of their health and life. From that we look at which form of acupuncture would be the most suitable. We decide a course of treatment which can be needles, or heat provided by moxa or it can be a blend of different methods."

And while acupuncture can help with a huge range of health problems, 48-year-old Claire, married with three children, says it is important to be realistic.

"Acupuncture is not a cureall," she says.

"But it can alleviate a range of symptoms. I first became interested when I was working as a midwife and starting reading around the subject.

"I read a book by Sharon Yelland and Sarah Budd about how acupuncture had helped pregnant women and it really inspired me.

"When a woman is pregnant there may be medicines that she would be advised not to use and it can be a time when acupuncture can really help."

Claire continues to work as a midwife at Birmingham Women's Hospital and has built on her experience to specialise in acupuncture for pregnancy and childbirth. While she treats a wide range of problems, acupuncture can be used to help pregnancy and childbirth problems such as back pain, nausea, anxiety, heartburn, constipation, haemorrhoids, breech and posterior position, labour and delivery and postnatal treatment.

Claire is also soon to begin working at the Edgbaston Dental Centre at 127 Pershore Road on Friday mornings.

I wear a hearing aid and I lip read and I would always sit at the front of lectures

How to become an acupuncturist

DIFFERENT organisations will ask for different qualifications but do your homework to ensure the course is right for you. Entry usually requires two A-levels or equivalent plus five GCSEs at grade C or above although life experience can be taken into account for mature students.

A British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) course will take three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. For details of its accredited courses visit For more information on the College of Traditional Acupuncture, visit

Fact File

Acupuncture is a method of healing which has been used in the Far East for thousands of years.

A holistic treatment, it aims to re-balance a person's physical, emotional and spiritual health.

According to this tradition, each person's energy known as Qi or Chi is made up of a balance of yin and yang. When this balance is upset, it can affect a person's health and cause all kinds of health problems.

According to acupuncturists, Qi can be re-balanced by removing blockages in the body's energy channels known as meridians. This is done by applying a needle, heat or pressure to points along the meridians to help stimulate the body's own healing response and restore its balance.

Different methods used include: needles - applied to acupuncture points moxa - burning of herbs to warm an acupuncture point electro - using a mild electric current through the acupuncture point cupping - glass or bamboo cups placed on the back to draw out toxins.

Acupuncture is used to treat a range of conditions including pain, stress, migraines and headaches, asthma, insomnia, skin conditions, arthritis, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gynaecological and fertility issues, problems surrounding pregnancy, smoking cessation.

Acupuncture has its celebrity followers including actress Gwyneth Paltrow, model Kate Moss, Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair and Chelsea Football Club boss Roman Abramovich.

More information

Contact Claire on 0121 744 4844, email her at claire@traditional or click on


ACUPUNCTURIST...Claire de Jonge-Vors with some of equipment she uses including "Meridian Man" figure. Photosales no: JR160207Pins-11
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 27, 2007
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