I qualified as an acupuncturist in 1991 and have been treating patients in my practice ever since. I love my work, and engage in lots of further study to keep up to date with the all the new research and developments in acupuncture.
I currently practice at the York Clinic for Integrated Healthcare, opposite the racecourse in York, North Yorkshire. Its a lovely old building and we have over 20 practitioners practising a range of therapies from the Alexander Technique to psychotherapy. We work together as a team to provide the best for our patients and this creates a friendly supportive place to work and to come for treatment.
I have a fairly pragmatic approach to acupuncture, and I’m delighted to be involved in the research which increasingly shows how good acupuncture can be for treating all sorts of health problems. I often suggest exercises or diet and lifestyle advice to support patients as they get better.
Working with fertility and pregnancy
Since working with Sophie Carr, a yoga teacher who teaches yoga for pregnant women, I went on to do further training in infertility and ante-natal care with Debra Betts and Jani White. I’ve since been involved in setting up the Acupuncture Childbirth Team (ACT) Yorkshire, a professional acupuncture group offering specialist treatment for fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal health. This group is affiliated to other ACT groups and meet regularly to develop best practice, explore the research base and provide peer support to maintain a high standard of care for our patients.
I’m a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), the UK’s largest body of traditional acupuncturists which aims to guarantee excellence in training, safe practice and professional conduct.
Education and teaching
Over the last 10 years acupuncture education for members of the BAcC has undergone considerable development and is now taught at honours degree level. Our courses now involve research, professional practice education, extensive understanding of Western medicine, a minimum of 400 hours in clinical practice as well as a thorough knowledge of Chinese medicine.
I work for the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) which fosters and monitors high quality educational standards, so that the general public can be assured that all new graduates from BAAB accredited acupuncture programmes are knowledgeable, reflective, competent and safe practitioners.
I have been taught and advised on acupuncture programmes since 1998 with various teaching institutions including The Acupuncture Academy, London Southbank University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Lincoln, University of Salford, Northern College of Acupuncture, the College of Traditional Acupuncture, and the College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Working in China
In 2004, I took a group of recent graduates from Salford University to study acupuncture at the No. 1 Teaching Hospital, University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Tianjin in China. It was a real education to see Chinese medicine practised on such a grand scale. We worked in several of about 20 out-patient acupuncture clinics running all day 6 days a week. The hospital also had 3 floors of in-patient wards, as well as herbal, Tui Na and physiotherapy clinics. Particularly interesting was their treatment of the after effects of stroke. We saw many patients being treated and getting great results. One in-patient was an American lady, with severe disabilities from her stroke who had come especially to receive treatment at this hospital.
More recently, I went to Heilongjiang University in Harbin, in the north of China to discuss developing an academic partnership with London Southbank University. The teaching hospital there had excellent clinical and teaching facilities and we were able to establish a joint acupuncture course between the two universities.
In 2007 I gained an MSc in Health Services Research at the University of York. My research project was a pilot study looking at possible benefits of acupuncture treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. This research was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC). There has since been a number of large trials showing the benefits and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for this condition.
I am a visiting research fellow in the Health Sciences Dept. at the University of York, where we recently completed a large trial looking at acupuncture and counselling for the treatment of depression. Known as the ACUDep trial (Acupuncture, Counselling and Usual care for Depression), we recruited over 750 patients and employed 30 acupuncturists.
Currently I’m involved in work with the Complementary Medicine Evaluation Group in collaboration with the York Trials Unit on the ATLAS (Alexander Technique Lessons and Acupuncture Sessions) trial. ATLAS is funded by a £720,000 grant from Arthritis Research UK. We are researching the effect of acupuncture and the Alexander Technique on chronic neck pain.
I have also been involved with clinical trials about back pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You can find out more about my research on my ResearchGate profile.