John qualified as an acupuncturist in the TCM Chinese system at the University of Westminster in 2006. Prior to qualification he trained and practiced Reflexology. He lived in Japan for a few years and was introduced to the Japanese ‘Meridian Therapy’ system of Acupuncture. He formally became qualified as a Japanese Toyohari Meridian Therapy Acupuncturist and shortly after was made a board member of the UK branch of the International Toyohari Association, which is a growing organization with branches in Japan, Europe, the USA and Australia.
As of 2014, along with his own private practice, John has been working part time at St Joseph's Hospice in East London, Bethnal Green as 'Lead Acupuncturist' in their growing Complementary Therapies Department providing therapies to patients suffering from advanced illness as well as to family members and carers.
He is also in the process of creating a publication on Traditional Oriental Healthcare, to be released in Spring 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Acupuncture and how does it work?
It is an ancient system of medicine approximately 5000 years old that was developed in China. It involves the puncturing or stimulation of specific points of the body (called acupoints) to initiate a healing reaction. The acupoints are located on the body in specific locations and mapped out according to a 'channel' system of energetic networks that traverse the inner and outer parts of the body.
These channels or energetic pathways travel through the body and pass through skin, flesh and internal organs. There are 14 main channels used in a standard treatment. Although altogether, there are 72 listed channels in the body. Each channel is named after a various organ that it passes through and greatly influences. For example, the so called ‘lung channel' passes through the lung and travels up to the head.
There are specific various points where the energy of the channel passes closely to the skin and can be manipulated by an external force. These areas are called acupuncture points or ‘acupoints’. Commonly 365 points are used in clinical practice.
If a channel is weak i.e. not enough energy, or excessive i.e. energy is stuck, then disease occurs. The weakness in the body will show up on the related channel. For example, a person with serious digestive problems may have depressions or a tender area along his spleen or stomach channels. An acupuncturist then assesses which channel is weak and stimulates the relevant acupoint to get the energy moving again.
A healthy body is a body with no energetic blockages and a good flow of energy.
What is the modern scientific justification for acupuncture?
The original theories of traditional acupuncture are based on texts written thousands of years ago before the current scientific medical model was developed. Today, studies have been carried out showing the efficacy of acupuncture using research methodology. Acupuncture is now recognized as being effective for knee and back pain and it is now available on the NHS. There is also a strong correlation between the ‘trigger points’ used in physiotherapy and certain acupoints when treating muscular-skeletal problems.
There is growing amount of research on acupuncture in the West. The Goverment carried out a 15 month study into Complementary Therapies - in particular Acupuncture in 2000 and published their findings in the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee's 6th report. They found that there is a growing demand for all complementary therapies, that therapies like acupuncture are relatively safe and that they provide high patient satisfaction.
Scientific studies and research has been carried out on acupuncture in palliative care - for cancer as well as for osteoarthritis of the knee and back and has been found to be helpful. In the UK, there are two hospitals that provide acupuncture as a mainstream medicine and more and more doctors, nurses and physiotherapists take additional (albeit short) training courses in acupuncture and offer it on the NHS.
On top of that,
It is the oldest system of medicine today and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of how it has helped many people - Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah to name just a few. The original theories and ancient texts were the most sophisticated ideas of their time. They were based on Taoism – a philosophy designed to understand the world. There is no doubt a mystical element to the concept of channels and energy flow. In my belief, the detailed explanation of the channel system and energy flow found in the ancient texts were discovered by high level Taoist monks during periods of intense meditation. For practitioners of yoga, mediation and qigong, this idea may not seem so outrageous. Today, some researchers believe that the 'channels' may refer to the fascia layer of tissue that surrounds every muscle and organ in the body and can manifest areas of tension and restriction when there are problems in the body. Although, this theory needs more research.
Can it help me?
It is a system designed to treat everybody and every condition. If you have any specific query, please contact me to discuss. I am happy to answer any query by mail or phone.
Acupuncture helps effectively with:
Is it painful?
Very fine needles are used which are thinner than the hypodermic needles used in hospitals.
The practitioner takes every precaution to make needling as painless as possible. A guide tube – where a needle is quickly tapped into the skin makes insertion painless. In very sensitive people, contact needling (the needle simply touches the skin) can be just as effective as deeper needling. For children, treatments do not usually involve insertion of the needle. A metal probe or contact needling can obtain a satisfactory result.
As you can see, most needles are smaller and thinner than a matchstick. They are often needled shallowly. All needles come in protective sterilized packaging.
What is moxibustion?
This is a specialist technique where I burn a small amount of a herb (mugwort) over or on various acupoints. This may be in the shape of small cones, stick on, or rice grained sized moxa. It has a warming tonifying effect on the body and meridians and is great for the fatigue, weakness and boosting the immune system especially during winter. The whole experience is very relaxing and can be carried out safely at home to strengthen your body.
What’s the difference between Chinese and Japanese acupuncture and does it matter?
In a nut shell, Chinese acupuncture involves slightly thicker or longer needles and deeper insertion. The practitioner often tries to elicit a feeling in the patient of an electrical sensation around the acupoint a reaction known as ‘deqi’ (pronounced “day-chee”)
In Japanese acupuncture, needles are thinner. Sometimes silver needles are used. Insertion is shallow or there is only contact needling. The practitioner does not attempt to elicit a feeling in the patient but rather tries to feel something within himself - the reaction of ‘deqi’.
Due to cultural, political and geographic differences, acupuncture developed differently in these countries. For example, it became popular for acupuncture and massage to be practiced by blind people in Japan leading to the promotion of very shallow insertion techniques for safety reasons. In China, all the different traditions of acupuncture were effectively all encompassed into one single systematic system by the Communist government in order to make it more acceptable to the West.
Is it safe?
Yes it’s safe. I’ve been trained in anatomy with close clinical supervision. I am fully aware of the internal structures of the body – organs arteries etc. I use sterile disposable needles and practice other hygienic measures. Unlike medications, there are no side effects.
How long will it take for me to see a result?
Unlike something tangible like fixing a burst water pipe, results and speed of results can vary from person to person. It often takes a few days after treatment before you start to see an improvement in your main complaint. It’s also an accumulative effect. For a difficult problem - as you have regular treatments, you improve gradually until you either plateau or have come as far as you can with acupuncture. I am rewiring the energetics of your body and it may take a few days before these changes manifest in your physical being.
How many treatments do I need?
To start, it’s recommended to try a course of 4-5 treatments. It gives both of us the chance to assess how the treatments are going – whether you are responding effectively enough and some time to change the treatment protocol if necessary. You should see some results within this time. At a minimum, you should try out at least 3 treatments. Once a week is standard.