Chichester Acupuncturist treating issues and ailments
Vicky meets... Mark Shepherd, Acupuncturist
We know it’s about sticking needles in the body, but can you tell us in more detail about what acupuncture is and does?
Acupuncture originates from ancient China and uses stimulus in one part of the body to make effect on another. The idea behind it is to move oxygenated blood to an area to cleanse and feed it. There are many theories, but what we do know is that the results are repeatable. When treating someone in pain I very rarely put the needle where the pain is, which takes placebo out of the equation.
But what about people who shudder at the thought of needles?
The needles we use are so tiny. I liken it to brushing your teeth: you can feel something happening but it doesn’t hurt. ‘Is that it?’ is the most common reaction. Many people find it relaxing and a lot fall asleep during treatment.
How did you become interested in acupuncture?
I came to it as a second career. I was working in health insurance, but what I really wanted to do with people who were sick was be more hands on. I had been doing martial arts and I wanted to do a martial art called Shorinji Kempo, which appealed due to its combination of fighting teaching but also its teaching of health practices. Unfortunately the nearest class was in London so I couldn’t do it, but holistic therapies really helped me through a period of ill health so I started doing reiki and reflexology and then acupuncture.
How did you get trained up?
I took a three-and-a-half year degree course. I am registered with the British Acupuncture Council, the biggest professional body for acupuncture in the UK, and to be registered with them you have to have to be from a college recognised by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. It was hard work but I really enjoyed the training.
Is there an element of psychology involved?
Yes, definitely. Some people diagnose based on the traditional Chinese way, but today diagnosis can also be based on who a person is; their personality type and how they have been affected by life.
Has acupuncture become more mainstream?
It is much more commonplace. Acupuncture is an umbrella term really; there are so many different styles and it is still evolving. I have treated people aged three to ninety-three for all sorts of issues and ailments. For instance, acupuncture can be used in addiction and detox, for phobias, eczema, digestive issues – almost anything. My son is a gymnast and he sometimes relaxes in front of the television with a few needles in him! It is also used for post-traumatic stress – the US military use it.
What do you love about your job?
Meeting people and seeing the change for them. If you’re on the fence, step off it and give it a go. Acupuncture has so much potential.
Where can we learn more?
Call 07517 422 447 or visit www.shepherd-holistic.co.uk