I booked an acupuncture session with Roland Lewis to help my digestion – which had been ruined by stress and rushed desk lunches. It was convenient for me, as he works Saturdays at Bristol City Yoga’s central clinic.
I had a super-size hangover; headache, nausea and brain fog, plus the embarrassment of turning up in such a pathetic state, but his large, bear-like presence and warm greeting immediately put me at ease.
On arrival, I filled a three-page form on lifestyle and health history, which included diet, sleep, exercise and emotions – thankfully with lots of multiple choice questions. Roland asked me to clarify some answers. Good therapists ask intelligent questions and I found it easy to give him the kind of personal information that I wouldn’t want to share with friends.
I was a relief to just lie down on the treatment couch. There, Roland took my ‘pulses’ by pressing his fingers to varying depths across points on both my wrists. This detailed ‘tuning-in’ is a key feature of acupuncture. ‘Taking pulses’ is an incredible diagnostic tool that ‘listens’ to the function of all the body.
Roland explained that my Earth element needed help. Earth is linked to self-care and digestion and is disrupted by worry and lack of routine, and on this occasion, from having drunk far too much the day before.
Roland learned Five Element acupuncture at CICM. This assesses each person as a blend of five elements (Earth, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood). The theory is that we each have a key element that needs re-balancing when stressed.
For those who think the needles will hurt – they don’t. Acupuncture needles are super fine. Often, you can’t feel the needle being inserted at all. By placing them at key points along energy pathways, called meridians, the elements can be balanced.
Roland also treats using cupping (suction-cups on the skin), Tui Na (Chinese massage) and Moxibustion: burning dried Mugwort herb above acupoints on the body to bring energy into the meridians.
The acupuncture treatment simply used pin-prick fine needles on my wrists, ankles, legs and ribs. After a short while I started to feel human again. My heavy hangover melted away and I bounced out of the room. I was full of beans and had a big smile on my face. It was a pretty miraculous change, considering the state I’d been in!
Three more treatments fixed my digestion – but it was the first treatment, which brought me back to life, that proved the healing powers of acupuncture to me.