We have three practitioners at WNT who use acupuncture in their treatments. They each have distinct approaches so to help you decide who would best fit your needs we have asked them some questions about how they work and who they work with.
There are 3 acupuncturists at WNT, please can you share a bit about your individual approach or style of acupuncture?
I practise East Asian Medicine (EAM), an umbrella term for many different styles which include my initial training in Traditional Chinese Medicine and 5 element acupuncture with subsequent courses in other styles including Master Tung, Channel Palpation and ear acupuncture, each with their own strengths. Training in TuiNa massage really changed how I work, and it was during that time that I started incorporating more hands on approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
Broadly, EAM can be used to focus internally on physiology in a holistic way looking at how the different systems interact and impact on a physical, mental and emotional level. It can also be used to look at the body in a more structural way, focussed on the musculoskeletal skeletal system, but still taking into account the background physiology that nourishes the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints. My training particularly in fertility and musculoskeletal acupuncture has incorporated more western concepts and diagnostic approaches, but EAM is at the heart of how I work.
My approach is to deepen and utilise the mind-body connection which is done by bringing my decade long Tai chi and meditation practice into the treatment room.
Whether it is acupuncture or martial arts, we always aim to create a good flow in the body and mind, as stagnation or being stuck is seen as the root of suffering.
So my treatments are often described as a calming flow between Acupuncture, massage and gentle guidance. Thus working on both the Body, Mind and Energy (QI) of the person.
I practice what is known as Dry Needling or Medical Acupuncture (DN/MA). This is an approach used to treat musculoskeletal problems. When I think it may be beneficial to use needling during a massage session I will discuss with the client first and use it in combination with soft tissue work (massage). I will massage the area first to detect where the needles are required and usually leave them in place for 20 minutes or longer if needed. I use DN/MA in approximately 50% of my treatments. I am foremost a massage therapist and I am aware that when people book a massage, that is what they want. I also respect that some clients have a fear of needles although I am happy to say I have introduced DN/MA to a number of clients over the years who have been converted when they feel the benefits of a needle versus my elbow!
What kind of clients do you mostly treat?
I treat a wide variety of conditions but since qualifying most of my additional training has focussed on four main areas which in turn determines the type of clients I mostly treat:
So, I see a lot of women for gynae issues like painful periods, PMS, menopausal symptoms, through pregnancy right up to the birth and beyond and a very wide range of fertility issues. This may be support conceiving naturally or while going through ART procedures like IVF and FET, often with background diagnoses like endometriosis or PCOS.
I also treat a lot of people with headaches, migraines, musculoskeletal conditions like sciatica, back and knee pain, often chronic recurrent conditions. I tend to refer athletes and sporty people with more acute conditions to Tessa.
I have built up good peer support and referral networks in the key areas on which I focus and that is so important in getting help with more challenging cases and signposting clients in the right direction if I can’t help them.
Although I see people with a wide range of health complaints, the most frequent conditions that I treat (and have success with) are anxiety, stress, nerve related pain, sinusitis and digestive issues.
I am also happy to say that I see a fairly equal amount of man and women (and everyone in-between). I am really happy to see that men reach out and attend to their mental health needs.
I use DN/MA on all types of clients. From those with migraines or neck/shoulder/back pain to muscle tears. From young semi-professional footballers with injuries to more mature clients to assist with pain relief and rehabilitation from many conditions including Osteoarthrititis and hip/knee replacements. Again I only treat with needles if the client is happy to.
What do you enjoy about using acupuncture to work with clients?
I love how very different we all are and feeling a connection with people. Everyone brings their own personalities, strengths and struggles, and it feels vitally important to get a sense of each person and what treatment means to them in order to treat effectively. That spark of connection is so important whatever people are coming for. There is invariably an emotional element to some degree, sometimes a key focus, sometimes more in the background.
Acupuncture with its holistic approach and focus on mind, body and spirit offers a versatile framework. It is so good at helping to achieve a sense of peace in our often hectic city lives, where that reset into more 'rest and digest' is a key element for healing. Whether people come with pain, with mental health struggles, wanting to start or grow a family or for another combination of reasons acupuncture offers a way to assess and address the physical and emotional together, and also to regulate the many complex interactions within our body as a whole. I like that approach, it makes sense to me to treat the body as the unified, interactive, self-regulating system and gently nudge it towards a more healthy balance.
I really enjoy seeing the change that I help to facilitate in my clients.
It's amazing how people can leave behind pain and find more comfort within themselves.
Love seeing people's attitudes and priorities change about their own health as that is what makes the "healing" sustainable.
Oh and I must say that I love treating new things that I perhaps have never seen in person before.
It's fascinating to see how the two of us can unravel what is the ongoing behind the labels of disease.
I enjoy seeing the positive results of DN/MA when used on my clients. It also gives me the freedom to multitask if there are a number of areas of the body I need to work on in one treatment. For example I can use needles in the neck and shoulders while using massage on the legs.
DN/MA doesn't work for everyone but I've had some amazing results and responses from clients. I used one needle on a hamstring tear in one session and the client had no further pain. My favourite response to the suggestion of using DN/MA being "ooh needles, yeah. I can feel it whooshing through my shoulders, it's fantastic. Love it!"
You can book online with Philippa, Mihaly (aka Mike) or Tessa or contact them directly if you would like any further information. NB: Sessions with Philippa or Mihaly begin with a 90minute session to allow for a longer consultation (sometimes on zoom) while with Tessa acupuncture needling is something that is incorporated into her regular sports massage treatments.
Blogs from the WNT team. For our blogs from before June 2020 please see individual profile pages - it's a good way to get to know practitioners too.