Acupuncture for stress
Acupuncture has a growing following for the treatment of everything from chronic pain to stress. But does it work? We visit Reigate Acupuncture to find out.
Samantha Hamilton-Stent’s acupuncture clinic is on Chart Lane in Reigate. There’s plenty of free parking on Chart Lane and in the neighbouring roads. There’s a small waiting room and two clinic rooms – both of which are beautiful, light and calm spaces. Think brilliant classic white with pops of art on the walls and fresh flowers. The treatment rooms feature extra-wide thermal treatment beds. The clinic is open Monday to Saturday from 9am-4pm, with late night appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The vibe here is serene, calm and tranquil. If it’s a warm day, the aromatherapy scents will hit you as you approach the front door – wafting from the open windows. Stepping inside, there’s a lovely little waiting area, and off that is Samantha’s office, two treatment rooms and a loo.
Samantha has been practising acupuncture for over 10 years and she has a really calming aura about her. Her softly spoken and gentle nature, puts you at ease – which is essential to the process. Samantha spent a lot of time getting to know me, taking a full and thorough health history, so she could assess my treatment needs. I’m an acupuncture newbie – and I felt totally at ease letting her stick needles into me.
Samantha is passionate about acupuncture, and its health and wellness benefits. She’s treated all ages, from newborn babies to nonagenarians, and a range of conditions.
First things first. For those not in the know, acupuncture is a holistic therapy based on the principals of traditional Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body and head – including the scalp, face and ears. It’s used to treat a wide range of health conditions from chronic pain and migraines to stress and anxiety. But for some, acupuncture is used to enhance general wellness. Samantha is also a specialist in fertility acupuncture.
Acupuncture aims to treat the whole person, rather than just a specific symptom. It’s based on the belief that an energy – or qi – flows through the body, and when the qi doesn’t flow freely it can ill health.
I was keen to improve my overall wellbeing, and help manage stress and the occasional bouts of anxiety. Research has found that acupuncture can have a calming effect, and it’s becoming a popular alternative treatment for anxiety. I’m in!
Before my acupuncture treatment, Samantha spent a lot of time going through my health history. We talked through everything from my diet and lifestyle to general and more serious health issues.
Samantha then took my pulse – in Chinese medicine, pulse diagnosis is a tool that practitioners use to assess the health of all the major organ systems of the body. And this is where she detected some areas to focus on. The main one was liver qi stagnation – where the energy of the liver, and the ability to move that energy is disrupted – which can cause irritation and frustration. Hmmm. Sounds a bit like me!
There was also a heart qi imbalance, and a need to nourish the kidney energy. The body is a complex thing, so it’s quite common to have overlapping patterns.
Samantha then started the treatment – inserting needles throughout the body to correct the imbalances. Samantha says the needles encourage the body to do its healing thing – a bit like giving instructions to the body. She used 18 needles for my treatment, four in the head – one between the eyebrows, one on top of my scalp and one in each ear. There were two needles in each arm, at the wrist and elbow, and five in each leg. I didn’t feel a thing when they were being inserted, except for the ones in the ear which was like a tiny scratch.
She then left me to quietly relax while the needles did their thing, checking on me midway through the 20 minute procedure. When she returned to remove the needles, I was feeling pretty calm and relaxed.
I found the whole treatment incredibly relaxing, and I felt really cool, calm and collected for the rest of the day. This is pretty normal, apparently. But has it helped manage my stress? It certainly has – and I think a regular schedule of treatment would no doubt be of great benefit. I had the best nights’ sleep I’d had in a long time for the next three or four nights after my treatment. And I generally felt pretty zen about everything. Mr Muddy is booking me in for weekly sessions!
The initial assessment and treatment is £120 and will last from 1.5 to 2 hours. Ongoing treatments are £60 a session (usually one hour).