We thought we would pose a few questions to Rachel, the acupuncturist at the Therapy Rooms, to find out how she came to be practising this ancient medicine in Pembrokeshire.
How did you become an acupuncturist?
About 15 years ago I was in a stressful job and working very hard as an information analyst, but felt frazzled and a bit bored. I came across an advert for lectures on the Five Elements by Nora Franglen, so every week I would travel from Kent to London to hear her speak about this Oriental philosophy. At the same time I tried acupuncture for some health issues I was experiencing and was stunned by its effectiveness. My physical problems disappeared and I felt so good in myself that I was inspired to train as an acupuncturist. I graduated from the School of Five Element Acupuncture in London in 2005 after 3 years of degree-equivalent training and I have never looked back.
What is it you like about the Therapy Rooms Pembrokeshire?
We moved as a family to Pembrokeshire from mid Wales about a year and a half ago and The Therapy Rooms is the perfect place to work from. This is not just because of the practical benefits of a well-equipped room and private parking, but it’s also great to be part of an inspiring and supportive team. The patient’s needs are truly at the heart of the clinic. I really value that.
What do you enjoy about acupuncture?
I think the most satisfying part of being an acupuncturist is seeing the change in patients. This could be their relief from no longer being in pain, their joy at becoming pregnant after a long time trying, or seeing them flourish in their lives as they become free of anxiety or worry.
Every patient is an individual and providing individualised acupuncture treatment is a stimulating as it demands continual observation and reflection. I am never bored.
Who comes to see you for acupuncture?
I see every age from children to the very elderly and people from all backgrounds. People seek help for many conditions and I am usually the last resort! I don’t mind this though as it makes it even more rewarding when people return saying that they feel better.
What happens during a typical treatment?
There is no typical treatment with Five Element acupuncture as it is tailored to the individual and their needs. This approach also allows me to be flexible and provide a person with a higher level of support of they are going through a difficult time in their lives or perhaps a period of transition.
Most acupuncture treatments last about an hour, with the first treatment taking 2 hours as we need to take the time to discuss thoroughly not only the problem the person wants help with, but all areas of their lives. After a short, simple physical examination I would use very fine, sterile needles to stimulate the acupuncture points. I sometimes light a herb called moxa on an acupuncture point, and most people enjoy the feeling of gentle heat and the wonderful odour it produces.
What’s next for you?
I plan to spend the next year or so settling into the Therapy Rooms and spreading the word throughout Pembrokeshire about the many benefits of acupuncture.
I am also excited about being involved in some of the great Therapy Rooms team events we have planned. So watch this space!
Give us your three top health and wellbeing tips.
Be yourself. Find ways to express yourself, whether it is by singing, drawing or simply dressing to suit yourself rather than following fashion. Your uniqueness is beautiful. Treasure it.
Be guided by the seasons. Our modern way of life demands that we act the same throughout the year, such as eating the same foods regardless of whether they are in season. Rebel against this demand and return to a more natural life. Follow the natural rhythms of the year. Rest more in winter, exert yourself physically in spring and be more sociable in summer.
Make small, persistent changes towards a healthier more fulfilled life. Don’t be tempted to set unrealistic goals, start small and when that change becomes a habit then build on your success.