I became an acupuncturist after experiencing its amazing effects for myself. I’ve had migraines all my life, but for a couple of years in my late 30s they hit a peak – as many as ten every month, with visual disturbance, nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity and excruciating pain for 24 to 36 hours every episode. I’d surface from one and within a few hours I’d be down with the next. No triggers, no causes, no reliable predictors. The headache clinic at York Hospital tried hard, but couldn’t really help. I had scan after scan, all of which showed precisely nothing. I worked my way through every single migraine medication, but nothing even touched it. My family barely saw me, and I gave up trying to have a social life of any kind. I was terrified I was going to spend the rest of my life within 15 minutes of a quiet, dark room with an ice-pack and a handy bowl. I really can’t express how utterly miserable and frightened I was at that time in my life.
Then a friend suggested acupuncture. I couldn’t have been more of a sceptic, but by that stage I’d have tried anything. Even so, at my first appointment I lay on the couch feeling cross with myself for being gullible enough to even try this “mumbo-jumbo”, as I thought of it.
You can probably guess what happened. It worked. Brilliantly. Within three months my migraines had reduced to just one a month, and after six months they had pretty much gone. They’ve been under control ever since. And I just felt so much better all round – I was clearer-headed, more emotionally balanced, I had more energy, and my insomnia vanished overnight (bad pun – sorry!).
So I got my life back again. I was delighted and profoundly grateful – and despite my initial scepticism, I was a complete convert to acupuncture.
Becoming an acupuncturist
In 2010 I enrolled on the Masters degree course at the Northern College of Acupuncture here in York, one of Europe’s most respected Chinese Medicine teaching institutions. I graduated with Distinction, and I’m a member of the British Acupuncture Council, the UK professional body that holds acupuncturists to the highest standards of clinical excellence, safety, hygiene and professional development.
So you could really say that acupuncture has changed my life! Now I work with patients to pass on the benefits of this incredible therapy.
While I was doing my training, I also took an additional course in tui na, a vigorous form of Chinese massage that works wonders for all kinds of musculo-skeletal problems, joint pains, mobility problems and conditions arising from muscle tension and pain. I often fuse tui na and acupuncture in a single treatment: because they use the same principles of energy channels and stagnation/deficiency, they work brilliantly together.
Working with you
I’ve treated patients of all ages for a very broad range of conditions – from asthma to Zenker’s diverticulum! I have particular interests in migraine (of course!), musculo-skeletal dysfunction, gynaecological conditions and digestive health.
By the way, if you’re interested: I do still get migraines. But I get maybe two or three a year, and they’re much easier and quicker to pass, with little or no need to take any meds. I have acupuncture maybe once every six weeks at a ‘maintenance’ level, which helps me to stay on top of them.
If you have a health issue you’re worried about, or something that’s robbing you of your quality of life, I’d invite you to try acupuncture and/or tui na to tackle not just the symptoms but the causes of the problem. I offer a half-hour ‘taster’ session for just £10, which gives me chance to understand more about your health condition, and allows us to have an honest discussion about how acupuncture and/or tui na might be able to help you.