Life as an Acupuncturist
a snap shot of 2022 and plans for 2023!
I don’t know about you but so often time just feels like it vanishes and what feels like 2 months ago can be years ago, recently now means anything in the last 10 years to me I think! I happened to bump into a patient I’d supported years ago with their fertility journey, now had you asked I’d have guessed their kid might be maybe 3, 4 at an absolute push … fooking SEVEN years old.. just no!!
Seasonally winter is in Chinese medicine terms linked to essentially hibernation, a chance to slow down, and in January it’s the perfect time to pause for reflection, to turn inwards and consider where are currently at, and where you’d like to be.. and then as spring starts to kick in, our energy shifts and we can put all these plans into action. If you are the person who decided 1st of jan (or more commonly the 2nd or even the 9th of jan this year that things were going to change and you are struggling..
1stly show yourself some compassion – Rome wasn’t build in a day – and perhaps slow down, enjoy this quiet, restful month and then as Feb comes along, we can start to feel that energetic shift towards spring and we can start SLOWLY and with small changes, and you'll see they’ll soon add up, and with far less of a battle.
I will be running the 3rd of my workshops on the 3rd of February where we can dive much deeper into this concept of living seasonally and how to Turn water into Wood – more details here.
My year as an acupuncturist in Glasgow
It has certainly been a unique couple of years, covid restrictions and all – and practice still doesn’t look quite like it did back in 2019! I've had the great honour of being part of many peoples journeys and some very unusual cases for me this year.
It is absolutely one of my favourite things about acupuncture, its ability to help our bodies regulate themselves means there is very little that I can't have a good go at trying to help!
Even 15+ years in practice I still get firsts in terms of who and what conditions I help to treat. I even had the most wonderful honour of supporting a pre teen that I helped the parents to conceive!!
My regulatory body: the British Acupuncture Council, asked us this year to share all the different conditions (from the Western biomed perspective) that we have worked with.
I was surprised at just how big a list that was: (link here)
I used acupuncture to help patients with the following biomedical diagnosis: sciatica, long covid (and other post viral fatigue conditions – yay to Covid at least making that more understood!), anxiety, stress, depression, headaches, arthritis, PCOS, Endometriosis, PMT, perimenopause and menopausal symptoms, vagismus, vulvodynia, post operational pain, post stroke, insomnia, nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting), brand new to me was a tic condition similar to Torretts syndrome.
Negative acupuncture outcome.
I also had, a rather amusing negative outcome.. patient 1 came to me first – got treatment, felt great, a few months later referred their partner (patient 2). Patient 2 presents with insomnia, waking early and being unable to get back to sleep as their brain was instantly in chatter, what if mode… it took 3 sessions before they noticed an improvement in their sleep.. and they admitted they were starting to get worried as it they thought the acupuncture sessions had helped patient 1 very quickly (not the same presenting condition). I am pleased to say, that after the 3rd session they noticed a dramatic improvement to their sleep… however, this left patient 1 with a NEW sleep problem.. namely patient 2s new snoring as they are now sleeping so much deeper and longer!!
As ever in addition to supporting the glorious souls that choose me for support.
My training in 2022
YES I am addicted I to bettering myself - and therefore my ability to serve my patients!
I have completed a fair few courses:
Renewed my first aid course, thankfully still never needed it either in or out of work, but definitely a handy set of skills and awareness to have. I also completed a mental health first aid course (not in 2022) in case you didn’t know such things existed.. I would HIGHLY recommend everyone do these courses.. it gives you a plan, an idea and a sense of I know what to do in this situation…
I also completed my Muscle energy techniques course – thanks to the bodies who volunteered themselves! This massage technique helps to stretch and relax your muscles, great for helping to further enhance the acupuncture treatments for MSK conditions in particular.
I am now also a certified mindfulness teacher – and intend to run my first free course shortly – sign up to my mailing list for more info.
ON TOP of all that I also completed my longest course in a LONG time – with a wonderful teacher I hope to learn from again. A course on all the stuff that is so engrained in the culture they assume everyone knows it.. and as such don’t bother writing in books e.g. having ginger tea when your poorly! Its called Yang Sheng, which translates roughly as nourishing life… This deep dive into self care, gave me such a fantastic new perspective on, not only improving my own health, but on how I can start to filter that info through to my gorgeous patients to help empower then to take back the control of their health. I reckon I already knew about 50% of what he shared, but was great to see it through a new lens, to expand and deepen my understanding which in turn helps YOU.
Pay what you can afford: Low cost acupuncture
In case you hadn’t already seen I have also introduced a new payment option for those who are financially struggling. One only needs to speak to me for about 30 seconds on any subject to see how passionate I am about Chinese medicine, which is about improving your health, creating that feeling of vitality.
I am deeply aware how much the current climate is affecting our ability to access and get support via the NHS, let alone affecting those on lower incomes and I want to ensure acupuncture is an option regardless.
So I have set aside time each and every week to help those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, my wee way of paying it forward.
If you know someone that might benefit from acupuncture but finds finances to be a barrier please share this with them.
There is more information available here
I have also been busy working with a few coaches, both personal and professionally, the latest of which, a fellow acupuncturist helped remind me how much my personal journey with being bigger bodied, with having back pain, with having mental health problems, both myself and in my family have all influenced how I work, how I treat my glorious patients and how I expect others in my space to also treat. I go in to way more detail here.
I would be remiss to not also talk about my personal life in 2022.
It was quite the year – at the start my mum finally succumbed to her long term health problems. She chose to not have a funeral, which is a-whole-nother story! I was executor of her estate, and wow the paperworkl! Along with dealing with family members and of course still running my business it made for a whole load of juggling. It has been almost a year and it has been an amazing time of reflection, of remembering the good times, of deep sadness knowing she’s no longer around to get advice and support from, of relief that she was no longer suffering (it was a long slow painful one for her unfortunately), creating really mixed feelings. I have weirdly enjoyed the process, being an observer of those thoughts and feelings, allowing myself to fully feel and express the sadness, the guilt, the relief, the humour. Watching how others reacted to the news, how my friends and family supported me, where I learned to speak up more for what I need.
Lost my business partner
My beautiful wife Michelle also finished the last slog of her 5 year degree in osteopathy at the start of the year, and from June 2022 left our business to work full time with an established Osteopath only business – Cram Osteopaths. It was an opportunity she could not pass up – getting to learn from 3rd generation osteopaths while also having an ACTUAL job, with sick and holiday pay!! Its been weird not working with her most days, but helps us both appreciate each other more with the reduced time together!!
Arthritis in my knees
Come October (I think it was) I was getting some serious pain in my knees that has turned out to be arthritis, the NHS while able to help with diagnosis haven’t yet offered any suggestions to help.. however, thankfully, with treatment (by me and Michelle, and a weekly massage off our newest therapist Allison).
I am no longer taking any pain killers and even stopped using my stick when walking for any length of time. I’ll be honest and say I thought I understood arthritic pain, but until I experienced it myself I really didn’t, and I am grateful that its taught me so much about the pain, and also the causes – i.e. they don’t know yet! They can see some correlation, but no cause, so I have a fight on my hands with the NHS and their view of it all being because of my weight.
Unfortunately I also had to stand up for myself with a fellow acupuncturist when they also blamed my weight on my pain, and have since just treated myself – with great success and no change in weight.
My lesson here - don't let ANYONE tell you that you can't naturally and safely treat your pain without losing weight!
Phew quite the year eh!!
I've leaned into who I am, what makes me the person and practitioner I am. I have had great times with patients over the year and held space for those struggling when needed.
I also did some super fun stuff like a date with my Dad (realised after i booked it sounded like a super romantic evening!) haha went to a fabulous restaurant (Saffron by Paradise) and then to a candlelight concert. And went to an escape room with some gorgeous acupuncturist friends of mine - gutted to share that we didn't get out in the hour (my 3rd escape room and 1st failure!).
Going into 2023 I already have plans in place.
I have just (the 14th Jan) began an advanced diploma in Clinical hypnosis and mind therapies, and am hopefully (interview pending) FINALLY starting my Post graduate diploma in Chinese herbal medicine.
The building I work from is currently getting a lovely freshen up – which while the work is happening is a right royal pain, I am excited to see the outcomes.
My plans this year also include
Regular free workshops inviting you to take control of your health over on my Youtube Channel (more accessible that other social media outlets) – these will be made available with captions 😊
A new monthly newsletter with super helpful tips to help you improve your health and well-being – sign up here.
If there is any specific areas you'd like me to focus on - be that a specific health concern, some acupressure, dietary advice, cultivating a better mindset etc, just let me know and I'll add to the list!
I also fully intend to continue to improve my own health and well-being, a journey that never ends as far as I am concerned and to help support those who choose me to help them create a new relationship with themselves, to empower folks to take control of their health, regardless of their body size, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial status – basically a human helping other humans!