I gained my BSc in acupuncture from the International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM) which is affiliated to the University of Greenwich. I practice Traditional, Five Element and Classical Stems and Branches acupuncture to formulate my treatments according each patient’s specific, holistic needs. I am fully insured and registered with The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) which ensures practitioners adhere to strict codes of professional conduct to maintain ethical, disciplined and safe practice at all times.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of treatment that has been used in the East to promote good health for thousands of years. Acupuncture can be used as a standalone method or in combination with conventional western medicine. More and more people in the UK are discovering how acupuncture can benefit them. It is safe for treating people of all ages, including babies and children.
Acupuncture helps to restore and maintain balance within the body based on the Daoist principles of harmonising with the energetic patterns of the natural world in which we exist. Energy, ‘life-force’ or Qi flows through the body in channels called meridians. When Qi and Blood do not flow freely through the body or become depleted, this can cause physical illness or emotional imbalance. In Chinese Medicine, the body and mind are considered inextricably linked and are treated as one. Acupuncture can restore the free flow of Qi and Blood, and thus restore health holistically.
Extremely fine, sterile needles are inserted into points along the meridians to help guide the body towards a balanced state. Needles may be shallowly or deeply inserted or non-insertion techniques may be used. Sometimes burning a herb (moxibustion) over points will assist the process or cupping or massage may be employed. The specific combination of techniques depends upon the patient’s distinct needs.
Subtle adjustments to position, depth and duration of needling ensure that each treatment is tailored entirely individually for each patient so their body/mind is supported to repair and to protect itself. Treatments are designed to improve immediate symptoms but also to benefit the patient on a deeper level from where imbalances may have their root. The aim of the traditionally trained acupuncturist is to produce relief from symptoms, rebalance the body/mind and to promote a sense of well-being for each patient. You may notice that other symptoms in addition to those you primarily want treated, improve after acupuncture.
Acupuncture is often used to treat painful conditions such as migraine, lower back pain and osteoarthritis. It is also used to help people with a range of conditions from anxiety to infertility. Whilst acupuncture is now available on the NHS, access is still limited.
If you wish to find out more about acupuncture, try the British Acupuncture Council’s website www.acupuncture.org.uk where you can also find their list of registered practitioners.
How does a Chinese Medicine practitioner understand a western diagnosis?
The translation between the patterns of Chinese Medicine and western conditions is a fascinating one. For a named condition you bring to your practitioner, say, nausea, there is a complex weave of different syndromes and patterns within which it is understood. The symptoms are important, a bridge between what you experience and how the practitioner, be they eastern or western, makes sense of what you bring to them. Every symptom has meaning within the eastern tradition that gives an insight into the individual patient’s needs and allows an individualised response to those needs. Two patients may present with the same condition but have a different root cause or reaction to it, Chinese Medicine takes these roots and reactions into account when formulating a treatment. The same condition may be treated entirely differently for each patient.
What happens during a consultation?
The first consultation and treatment usually takes 60 minutes, subsequent sessions may take less time, around 45 minutes. I will take a full medical history including your presenting complaints and previous illnesses, as well as family medical history and notes of any medications you may be taking. This will be followed by Chinese body, tongue and pulse diagnosis. At this point, I will consider the full picture to formulate a treatment strategy for you. Points for needling will be selected and any adjunct treatment such as moxibustion or cupping will be considered too. If needles are to be inserted, they are left in situ for 20 minutes while you lie back and relax. At any point during the process, questions are welcome.