Author: Rita

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine – Healthcare On The Go

I love Xmas and New Year, primarily because I always travel – usually around Asia – and miss the worst of winter completely! It’s part of my work/life balance promise to myself. My patients are incredibly understanding for which I am eternally grateful.
It’s not all fun in the sun as I also take the opportunity to either do some further professional training in Chinese Medicine, volunteer providing acupuncture to people who would otherwise not have access to any healthcare or as I did this year, discuss potential collaborations with other healthcare charities and NGO’s. This year I spent 6 days in Kolkata, India with an amazing western medicine NGO called Calcutta Rescue. They work with the poorest and most deprived people in Kolkata. Those who live in abject poverty, have little or no education, and suffer from very serious health conditions such as TB, HIV and diabetes, Hopefully we will be able to work alongside them providing acupuncture in the near future.
I love Asia as it offers so much and this year I’ve been in Thailand and Laos, travelling and meeting up with friends. I always carry my needles with me and often have need to use them on myself, and others. Particularly useful for stomach problems in this part of the world.  I’m quite a useful friend to have around!
The weather has been erratic, the pollution considerable and we’ve been in and out of air-con which has led to chesty coughs that don’t easily shift.
One friend who lives in Bangkok has been badly affected and she was already run down so her cough developed and became particularly nasty. I needled her to expel the virus and support her lungs which improved some of the symptoms but then she developed a fever of 38.9. She felt very weak indeed and coughing was wearing her out. She felt too weak even to eat. 
I needed to get her fever down so I used Guasha. Guasha is often performed with a thin but soft edged tool which is used to ‘scrape the skin’. Sounds awful doesn’t it? And actually looks worse than cupping! It can be mildly uncomfortable to have, but the results are significant. I worked around neck, between the shoulder blades and across the chest.  It works to bring blood to the surface of the skin that sets off an inflammatory response which then serves to heal the area. It also brings down fever.
 
Guasha tool
Within an hour her temperature was down and a short time later, it had returned to normal. She was able to eat and although still weak, she was on the mend.
I often treat the people I meet when travelling – I never charge. It’s wonderful to see them realise how effective it is and go back to their home countries eager to start treatment, often for conditions they’ve lived with for far too long.
For me one of the great joys of Chinese medicine is that it’s so versatile. I can treat pretty much any health conditions at some level – to relieve or eliminate symptoms, boost immunity and reduce pain – and my little bag of tricks is pretty much all I need. 
While in Kolkata, I showed the doctors there my pouch containing acupuncture needles and told them I could do hundreds of treatments with just that bag, pretty much anywhere, in almost any conditions. They couldn’t quite believe it!
 I always come back having learned something to add to my Practice and therefore support my patients better.

Managing chronic pain with acupuncture – Kara’s story

Kara contacted me 10 days before she was about to start a new job, after 8 months of not working due to some serious and complex health conditions. Neurological pain is particularly difficult to treat and utterly debilitating.  In Kara’s case, her pain levels were pretty much off the charts and despite heavy medication, life was a real struggle. This inevitably affected her emotional health as well.

Kara has a chronic condition that needs regular management so that she can lead a fulfilling life; work, socialise, travel and have fun. So Kara comes every week, without fail, and is treated with acupuncture, TuiNa massage and cupping. Treatments significantly reduce her pain, keep her feeling balanced and support her general wellbeing. It is an investment in both time and money but she is committed to staying well. So much so that she hasn’t taken one day off work for illness.

 

Kara’s story:

I had a fully herniated disc (between C6 and C7) that caused paralysis of my right arm for 4 months when the disc crushed the nerve; this had to be surgically replaced with a disc implant.  6 weeks after recovering from that major spinal surgery, I developed an extremely rare form of shingles called Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which then took a turn for the worse when it spread to my spinal cord, entire central nervous system, and brain (this is typically fatal).  As my inner ear was affected by the shingles, in addition to excruciating pain I also experienced severe vertigo. In addition to this, I was offered my dream job, and was suffering from stress and anxiety about trying to start work when my body was going through so much and my pain levels were so high.

Choosing Peachy Acupuncture was the luckiest piece of fate I have ever been dealt by the Gods of Google; I rang Rita to see if there was any chance she could fit me in the following day for an emergency appointment, and was supremely impressed by her medical knowledge and very clear expertise during our conversation. Despite having multiple conditions that needed treatment, she knew so much about each and everything I brought up, it made it clear that she is exceptionally skilled.  I have seen other acupuncturists in the past, but have never felt as comfortable and confident in the person I was seeing as when I spoke with Rita.  And the first treatment did not disappoint – with wanting to sound like I am embellishing or exaggerating the effects of my treatment, it was genuinely life-changing.

I am genuinely at a loss as to how to express the life changing difference that Rita has made.  Before my first session with her, I was barely able to walk due to severe vertigo, and pain had crippled me.  I rarely left my bed, and was not able to work or socialise at all.  Tasks as simple as washing a dish or bathing were things that I truly struggled with every day due to my high pain levels, and I was sceptical that she would be able to help but thought ‘What have I got to lose?’  I had been to countless specialists on the NHS as well as privately, and had been on every form of medication to try and help with nerve pain, but nothing was working. I sat up at the end of the first session and my vertigo was gone; I have no idea how one session was able to do that, but I went home and genuinely cried tears of joy.

When cupping and tuina are combined with Rita’s acupuncture, I feel like I leave as a new person.  My pain is gone, my neck and back are free, I can move easily, and I cannot stress how much relief I feel from having my chronic, daily pain evaporate in just one short hour.  I have been put on every form of medication under the sun to try and help me with acute nerve pain and various medical complications, but this is the only thing that truly works.

Since then, I see Rita once a week for additional treatments and it is the only thing that keeps me going.  Despite starting a new job with so many physical ailments, she has made me feel a level of serene peace that I have never previously experienced; after a treatment, I feel connected to the world and like I can manage my life.  But the biggest improvement has been my pain levels.  Although I still experience pain, she has given me my life back.  I can leave my house, work, socialise, and actually enjoy being alive – I no longer live in blinding pain.

Rita’s clinic is such a wonderfully soothing place, I feel like I am visiting a spa run by a member of my family every time I stop by.

The best thing about Rita is that she does not believe in treating a condition, she treats the person.  She will meet with you, talk to you about your body, your life, your mental health, and then decide on the appropriate treatment(s) for you.  She really works against the idea that there is a ‘one-size-cures-all’ approach.  I appreciate this so much because it means that she truly listens to me and my body, and does what is in my best interest.

 

Kara Webster, Crouch End

Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Tim’s story

Treating IBS is notoriously hard. Western medicine offers some respite but most of the people I treat with the condition, still suffer the symptoms. This is often a chronic condition although symptoms can flare up and recede after a few days.

*There is some evidence in clinical trials to show that acupuncture, electro acupuncture and moxibustion do have an effect on reducing symptoms. This is reflected in my own clinical experiences although some IBS can be intractable.

 

The most common symptoms of IBS are:

As is often the case, people have more than one pressing health concern that leads them to try acupuncture. Tim came to me with a couple of issues including limited shoulder range following a surgical procedure years before that also left significant scar tissue. He also wanted to relieve his IBS symptoms. He was somewhat nervous having never experienced acupuncture before but actually had no problems with it.

I used a combination of acupuncture, tuina massage and cupping for his shoulder plus guasha (skin scraping!) to break down the scar tissue.

 

Tim’s story

I wanted to try something different, acupuncture always interested me, but it seemed a little scary! I asked the Crouch End Appreciation Society Facebook page from suggestions in the local area, and they overwhelmingly recommended Rita.

Acupuncture, specifically for the IBS provided some good relief – a definite improvement, particularly if I keep up regular sessions.

On my arm which was an open fracture fix,  my range of movement improved and Rita has managed to flatten the keloid scaring dramatically – a much reduced scar line.

Rita’s great, very friendly and approachable – very modern environment, did fear it would be a bit too ‘new age’ for me – but it’s totally the opposite.

Rita’s a great practitioner and an active member of the local community, you see her around and she’s always smiling and wishing you well – would definitely recommend.

 

*http://www.atcm.co.uk/acupuncture-treatment-for-irritable-bowel-syndrome

 

 

Acupuncture for Women

Acupuncture is particularly well-suited to women’s healthcare. From fertility to endometriosis, emotional wellbeing to menopause, women require a holistic approach in managing key stages in their life.

Women’s lives have changed dramatically; we work longer hours, have children later, juggle home and work, and experience more stress than ever before. Our hormones play havoc with our mood and a greater percentage of women now experience anxiety. Being female brings its own challenges and medication isn’t a sustainable way to maintain our health or our peace of mind.

Women, generally, are more aware of their health, although men are slowly waking up to the fact that they need to take more care of themselves. Women are more likely to seek help, talk to a therapist or alter their diet to support their own wellbeing. They are also more likely to commit to ongoing treatment, and that’s really important in maintaining good health.

Female patients come to acupuncture because it works for so many of their health issues without treating them as separate individual problems. In Chinese medicine, we look at the whole person – as three-dimensional, multi-faceted individuals not simply a collection of random symptoms. In fact symptoms that appear random to a doctor and would be treated individually, often make total sense to an acupuncturist.  I’ve had patients referred from neurologists for migraine* and gynecologists for infertility* and menopause* as these conditions have been approved by NICE. *

Sometimes we are able to treat a patient so that the problem they present with completely disappears, and other times it’s a matter of treating patients so that their condition is managed without resorting to drugs. Often they remain on ‘maintenance’ coming once a month to stay well. That way we pick up problems before they get worse and nip them in the bud.

Kaylee came to me convinced that acupuncture would make no difference! But as she said ‘I’m desperate’.  I treated Kaylee predominantly with acupuncture and occasionally with TuiNa. But acupuncture has undoubtedly been the most effective for her. She now comes for treatment monthly to keep everything in balance.

Here‘s Kaylee’s story:

‘I was reluctant to try Acupuncture. I have a medical background and thought it was all a bit mind over matter “hocus pocus”, however, I was feeling that that the GP wasn’t really listening and couldn’t offer any medication or suggestions that worked without side effects. I had tried to manage my symptoms with exercise, healthy eating and herbal remedies but the added stress I was feeling from my work was making me very unwell. My colleagues said that acupuncture helped them and if anything I’d said I’d go so that I could say I tried it.

I have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which was the main reason for most of my symptoms. I have suffered from the below since puberty;

Water retention, chronic period pain, bloating, constipation, irregular periods, fluctuating mood, poor digestion and just general fatigue. All symptoms fluctuated and were exacerbated by the consumption of food and my irregular period cycle. 

I had weak ankles and they became sore when I was running. I also had a back injury caused by my crossfit exercise class. It was painful to sit and tender to touch when went for my first treatment. My overall physical health contributed to general anxiety but I was under a lot of pressure at work and was unable to manage my stress levels. 

All of the above symptoms have reduced significantly. 

When I first started to go, following each session I would feel immediate benefits. I felt more relaxed, my ankles and fingers (water retention) felt less puffy and my digestion improved. 

The most significant change was my period pain. The pain used to be so bad that I would have to dose myself with a concoction of 3 types of strong painkillers every 4 hours for 2 3 days. They made me drowsy but if the pain started at work I would not be able to make it home because the pain was immobilising. Now I take a maximum of 6 mild painkillers over 2 days. Close friends and family started commenting how much more relaxed I was. 

For a non-believer this has been a humbling experience. I think that this ongoing treatment has helped me physically and mentally.

Rita is kind, she listens and she understands. Id definitely recommend her.

*https://www.nice.org.uk

Volunteer acupuncture clinic in Gujarat, India

Charpada acupuncture clinic – November 2016

Thanks to donations from friends, family and clients I was able to volunteer with World Medicine as an acupuncturist in rural Gujarat, India. Over a period of two weeks, I worked with four other acupuncturists and did 960 treatments in a multi-bed clinic environment.

Our patients were impoverished farm workers predominantly suffering from musculo-skeletal pain – neck, shoulder, back and knee problems were severe due to the heavy manual labour they did every day.

It was a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat.

Read my blog here:

http://www.worldmedicine.org.uk/index.php/news-events/blog