Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Could Sticking Pins in My Head CURE My Migraine? NO PAIN PLENTY OF GAIN... JUST ONE SESSION OF ACUPUNCTURE GETS THE ENERGY REFLOWING

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Could Sticking Pins in My Head CURE My Migraine? NO PAIN PLENTY OF GAIN... JUST ONE SESSION OF ACUPUNCTURE GETS THE ENERGY REFLOWING

Article excerpt

Byline: ANNA PUNSHON

SOMETIMES it's a nagging, dull thud, other times it feels like my head is being squeezed until it is about to explode. My headaches mean I often have difficulty concentrating and feel on edge, and they can even affect my vision. My most recent one had gone on for weeks, and I had no idea what caused it.

Enough was enough - I was at breaking point and sick of reaching for the codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen. They might provide instant relief, but they don't treat the actual cause of the pain.

So it was time to pinpoint the problem (if you'll forgive the pun) with some acupuncture treatment.

I am officially the world's biggest wimp and the mere thought of a needle was enough to give me sweaty palms. But with glowing-health celebrities such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow extolling the benefits of acupuncture, I figure it was definitely worth a try.

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

USED throughout Asia for thousands of years, acupuncture has become enormously popular in the West in the past decade. Last year more than a million

NHS treatments and two million private acupuncture treatments took place in the UK.

The system is based on 12 lines in the body, called meridians, through which our energy, or qi (pronounced chee), flows.

When the qi is blocked, it causes an imbalance in the body and we become ill.

Poor diet, overwork or emotional and physical trauma can disrupt the flow of qi. Acupuncture releases endorphins in the body, the same feel-good chemical released when we exercise or eat chocolate.

WHAT CAN IT TREAT?

THE London Acupuncture Clinic in Harley Street deals with hundreds of conditions, from back pain, digestive disorders and diabetes, to skin complaints and addictions. Fertility treatment is one particularly fast-growing area.

THE CONSULTATION I ARRIVE at the clinic with yet another headache after a restless night.

Acupuncturist Daniel Maxwell, 33, takes my full medical and lifestyle history.

What is my sleeping pattern like? Poor.

Diet? Also poor. Alcohol intake?

Significant. Bowel movements? Umm, they're fine thanks. How do I relax?

Drink wine and shop. I can tell that he knows he's got a hard task ahead of him.

Daniel then asks me to poke my tongue out. "The different parts of the tongue relate to different parts of the body," he says. "The tip is linked to the head and top of your body, the middle is linked to the middle part and the back is related to the lower section."

Apparently, I have lots of red spots on the tip of my tongue. These are related to body temperature and can account for some of my troubles.

Daniel explains my body is generating too much heat, which is travelling up and causing my headaches.

THE NEEDLES

WHEN the time comes for the actual

treatment I'm almost too scared to look at the needles. …

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