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Happiness On Offer !

If happiness is a state of mind then why is it we spend our lives pursuing it outside of ourselves? An old joke tells of a man going home late one night. As he walks down the road he sees his neighbour on his hands and knees searching the ground beneath a streetlight. Being a helpful fellow he asks what his neighbour is looking for, and his neighbour, obviously the worse for alcohol, tells him he is searching for his house keys. The two men spend some time looking together, but having no luck finding the keys our helpful friend eventually asks his neighbour, “Where did you drop them?” The drunken man points back down the street to where it’s dark and says, “Over there”. Our friend is puzzled and says to the drunk, “Then why are we looking here?” The drunk looks confused for a moment at what he obviously thinks is a stupid question, before replying, “Because the light is here”.

That is how it is for most of us, most of the time. All we really want is to be happy, and even though we know that happiness is a state of mind we think that it can be found in the world outside of ourselves. So, like the drunk, we spend our lives looking in the wrong place for happiness and, not surprisingly, we never really manage to find it.

If happiness is a state of mind then the method for achieving it must, necessarily, be through the mind. Meditation is a method for learning to control ones mind and so achieve real and lasting happiness. As our mind stabilises through meditation, our lives become more peaceful, and the quality of our everyday life is transformed.

Regular meditation has beneficial effects upon both the mind and the body. Stress levels are reduced and blood pressure may be lowered. Through greater awareness, mind and body become better integrated, as a result of which pain conditions and illness are more easily managed. Meditation exercises our mental capacity, stimulates our creative abilities and opens us up to the path of self-knowledge and self-development.

Regular practice gradually helps us bring about profound change, enabling us to cope with all that life may bring, the seemingly good and the apparently bad. It is a journey that requires commitment and effort, but it need not be an arduous one. The rewards of meditation are many and increase with practice, but one does not have to wait long for them to begin to arise. It is journey that would benefit us all and I commend it to you, it is a journey towards happiness and it should be a joyful one. I wish you joy on your journey.

Did you know that meditation is part of and maybe prescribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine? Would you like more peace in your life?

My Acupuncture Experience

We have just had Acupuncture Awareness Week for 2014 and it set me to thinking about what being an acupuncturist means to me. Most conversations that I have regarding acupuncture with patients, friends and others are spent either explaining that it is effective for more than just pain relief (as useful as that is), or that you don’t have to believe in it, for it to help (the latter frequently opens up a can of worms kind of conversation about the nature of reality; I find concepts in quantum mechanics and the Buddhist view of ultimate truth helpful, though frequently unwelcome at this point).

Sorry I digress, it’s a bad habit of mine, I was thinking about what being an acupuncturist means to me, what I enjoy about being in practice. The obvious answer is that of helping people. It is certainly true; someone comes to see me with a health problem, and hopefully with a combination of acupuncture, dietary, and lifestyle advice I can either resolve it or at the very least sufficiently improve the quality of their life.

There is the “buzz” to be enjoyed in helping a couple achieve a successful pregnancy, in seeing someone come in to clinic in pain and leave without any, in being part of helping someone take responsibility and control of their health, in managing the process of dying with terminal patients. To be an acupuncturist is to witness the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to…” to listen, and to help.

Finally, although I don’t “get a kick from Champagne”, I certainly do get one from the problem solving aspect of the discipline that is acupuncture; a Sherlockian world bounded by its own fascinating valid logic and rules. Almost alien to our culture, Chinese medicine is at least as much about wellness as it is about illness, about achieving and maintaining good health, about the journey and not the destination.

It is a pleasure practicing acupuncture, a compelling and potentially rewarding dialogue to have. Have you ever considered how it might help you? 

A recent study of women having IVF accompanied by acupuncture in Australia showed that the acupuncture helped the women to cope with the stress around IVF and that it enhanced their sense of personal resilience.

Undergoing IVF is a stressful experience and is usually accompanied by a large degree of anxiety regarding the outcome of the treatment. This is usually preceded by months or years of stress connected with inability to conceive. The women in this study talked about how acupuncture had helped them to feel calm and peaceful during the IVF process. One woman said of her acupuncture treatment:

“It gave me a very warm relaxed feeling, a very kind of centered feeling. And I’d leave the session just feeling okay and balanced and more positive. “

Another woman talked of how taken aback she was that acupuncture was so relaxing:

What I found really surprising was as soon as the first needle went in I just felt a sense of relaxation and calm. I wasn’t expecting that. It happened every time, yeah, and I suppose I always had this sense of calm and every, after every session regardless of whether I was there after an embryo transfer or just preparing for embryo transfer, or whatever, I felt calm and relaxed as I walked out the door. I wasn’t expecting that when I went into the whole acupuncture experience.”

For some women the benefits they gained from acupuncture were really profound:

“Acupuncture could offer me something that the traditional medicine couldn’t necessarily offer me and that was just a feeling of wellness and inner health and I felt with the acupuncture, I felt that like my being and my soul were being looked after as well as just making a baby. And I felt that the IVF program is just make a baby, make a baby, make a baby. And although that was my primary aim, I felt that in order for me to be able to make that baby I needed to be looked after emotionally and in my soul as well.”

This study adds to the literature that supports the use of acupuncture as a complement to IVF treatment and the authors concluded that it suggested that “acupuncture holds the potential to improve a woman’s psychological state before, during and after IVF treatment”.

The WellSpring Clinic acupuncturist is James Donaldson, who is very experienced in helping support women throughout assisted conception. If you would like to see James, you can call the clinic to make an appointment: 01892 676214

The study details are:

de Lacey, S.; Smith, C.A.; Paterson, C. Building resilience: a preliminary exploration of women’s perceptions of the use of acupuncture as an adjunct to In Vitro Fertilisation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009;9:50

Battlefield Acupuncture

Battlefield Acupuncture 

Acupuncture, the Chinese system of placing very thin needles at specific points on the body to treat a whole range of conditions, has been around for thousands of years. Over time it has evolved new protocols and techniques one of the latest innovations is that of Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA). This technique used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain is a specific protocol using points in the outer ear.

This remarkable pain-relieving system was developed by US Air Force Colonel, Dr Richard Niemtzow, originally introduced with the intention of eliminating wounded soldiers? pain while on the battlefield, the technique was so successful that the US Air Force began teaching it to physicians deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009.   BFA is now being taught at Nellis Air Force base where it is used for service men, women, their families and dependants for the treatment of acute and chronic pain associated with a whole range of conditions. The procedure was introduced in 2008 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre (LRMC), where it was applied to wounded service members and local patients for pain relief. The hospital near Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the largest and most modern US military medical facility outside of the USA.

Colonel Niemtzow is a traditionally trained radiation oncologist, researcher and forensic examiner who served as a Chief Flight Surgeon in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 2002 he became consultant for alternative and complementary medicine to the Air Force Surgeon General. He established the acupuncture clinic at Andrews Air Force Base.

The technique uses small gold coated, semi-permanent needles on five points of the outer ear. The needles are retained for up to two weeks; however the pain blocking for acute patients is usually experienced in just a few minutes.

BFA was introduced to the UK in 2010 at the British Acupuncture Councils conference, and was taught this year to a group of interested acupuncturists by US Air Force Colonel Dr Heather Pickett who has used the technique both in Iraq whilst on deployment with US Armed Forces and also at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada where she is currently posted.

I have begun using this technique at The WellSpring Clinic in Tunbridge Wells Kent. The technique can be used once an accurate diagnosis has been made, for patients who present with acute pain, where it can be used to achieve immediate pain reduction, following this other traditional techniques can then be used to treat the underlying cause. With chronic pain sufferers the treatment can be repeated at fortnightly intervals.

So far I have achieved some significant success with patients suffering from migraine, and acute and chronic, neck, back, and shoulder pain due to either, traumatic injury, or due to underlying pathological conditions. The technique is not limited to these conditions but can be used for any pain problem.

It is reported that only approximately 15% of patients do not respond to this acupuncture procedure, but of those who do, their pain reduction averages 75%.

For more information or to book an appointment contact me at The WellSpring Clinic, Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 01892 676 214.