Acupuncture / Needling

Acupuncture treatment

The aspects of acupuncture that Westerners feel most uncomfortable about is "needles" - their very existence, and "pain" - or fear thereof.

The needles we use are much, much thinner than those you would have encountered at clinics or hospitals. They are very supple and not hollow inside. I myself hate being pricked by the big medical needles at injections or blood tests, but that sensation is very different from acupuncture. Some acupuncture can be completely painless, though admittedly sometimes there is a little prick, but it usually immediately disappears.

Now, the pain... Let's start by saying that acupuncture has been extensively studied as a treatment for pain. Depending on many factors, you are likely to feel a sensation where your needles are doing their work. But it is not a sensation of "having a needle stuck in you" at all! It is most often a slight tingling, or warmth, or sometimes a dull ache. There is a separate word for this in Chinese: De Qi, and most Chinese people expect and enjoy those sensations when having acupuncture treatment. So in short: yes, you may feel something, possibly something you have not felt before, but it is not the pain that tells your body that something is wrong. Also, if for any reason you ever did feel uncomfortable, I will always be right by your side to adjust your treatment.

 

Cupping

Cupping has been used for a very long time as a traditional therapy both in Asia and in Eastern Europe. It involves placing cups in strategic places, most often on the back, in which a vacuum is created to provide a degree of suction. You can think of it as a "massage in reverse", as the stimulation happens through the vacuum suction rather than through pressure.

This technique, like most others, can be individually adjusted to the strength required. It is ideal for children, as it can be very gentle and pleasant! My kids actually ask for it a lot, not minding the slight temporary marks that cupping leaves.

 

Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a kind of heat therapy. It involves burning a herb called moxa, or artemisia vulgaris, or - more ugly sounding - mugwort.

There are several ways to do this, what I employ most often is indirect moxibustion, where moxa is shaped into a cylindrical form a bit like a cigar, lit and moved about 1 inch over the body. This can also be combined with needling when a particular effect is desired. I will work closely with you to make sure that the sensation of heat is distinct but pleasant, and most people find it rather enjoyable.

Moxibustion can help infuse warmth "deep" into a joint such as a knee and help with pain. It may also be used at particular acupoints for a distinct effect.

Shonishin

Shonishin is a gentle therapy of Japanese origin, mostly non-invasive, which is suitable for children from birth to about 12 years of age. In involves gently tapping and rubbing the skin with metal tools like little spatulas, working along the meridians and special acupoints. This therapy system is applicable to the same wide spectrum of conditions as regular acupuncture.

I studied Shonishin with Stephen Birch, who is an international expert not only of this paediatric technique but of widely understood acupuncture and scholarly research into Qi.

Please note that as a part of the treatment, I WILL ALSO TEACH YOU, the parent, how to apply simplified Shonishin at home. You will be able to treat your child in between check up, or follow up sessions with me.

Tui Na

Yes, you can book with me if you just want a massage! I practise Tui Na, which is Chinese medicinal massage. It will be a little similar and a little different to booking with a massage therapist.

How it will be similar: you will have your body massaged and kneaded, through which we will start dissolving tension in your muscles. You will emerge deeply relaxed, feeling looser and with increased mobility.

How it is different: I see Tui Na Massage as one step in the larger picture of healing. I am likely to advise on your posture and prescribe Qi Gong based exercises (read about Qi Gong here). Sometimes I will suggest combining the massage with other techniques, such as some fine needles in your ears, or I might leave you with a set of discreet plasters on some pressure points.

Tui Na is Chinese works according to the same principles as acupuncture. Only, instead of needles, I use my hands and several pushing, pressing and pulling techniques to move the Qi of the body. Tui Na means literally "push, pull", but you could think of it as acupressure massage. It is not necessarily more gentle than needling, just different.

Dietary & Lifestyle Advice

Chinese Medicine considers our social and physical environment to have a vast influence on health. Some things, such as climate or social interactions, may be difficult to change, but others are more within our control. Chinese Medicine emphasises a preventative approach to health, which includes long-term management of well-being through moderate diet, exercise and stress management. As your acupuncture treatment progresses, you will become more aware of how what you do on a daily basis can supplement - or sabotage - your treatment.

(By the way, this is not a stock photo, but my Mum doing qi gong - a type of Chinese exercise system - on a Polish beach :) ).