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I’ve always assumed that doctors had all the answers. When you are ill, they make a diagnosis and then treat you accordingly. But what about when there’s no diagnosis to be made? Or, worse still, they know what’s wrong with you but don’t know how to fix it yet? The beauty of science is that it is constantly expanding and changing, spawning new ideas and development as we discover more about our world. The downside is that it isn’t finished yet... For me, every waking moment was an effort, yet my body was so exhausted that it couldn’t even remember how to sleep. Instead of dreams, I experienced disturbing hallucinations - a common sign of over-exhaustion. Because I didn’t sleep properly, I would wake every day feeling heavy and fuggy, as if gravity had hit me that little bit harder. Within a year I had gone from being an energetic, independent teenager with a great social life and huge plans for the future, to barely being able to climb out of bed. As well as using a wheelchair to get around, I needed help dressing, washing, and even brushing my teeth. This was a shock, but the worst part was the feeling of helplessness, since nobody is quite sure what they’re dealing with. In my case, this was heightened by a long, fruitless search for some pretty nasty, life-changing conditions. There’s a painful uncertainty that comes with not knowing whether you’ll be ill for a month or a year, and whether your condition will get better or degenerate further. Of course, at the time I was too tired to deal with the emotional aspect of the illness, but it hangs over you like a cloud, adding to the physical exhaustion that was already too much for my body to bear. The doctors were pretty useless, each one having a different idea that required more tests (more waiting on my part), but then losing interest when they realised they didn’t have an answer. Fortunately Acupuncture doesn’t require a specific condition to be effective. Chinese medicine deals with symptoms rather than causes, so even if there’s no medical diagnosis it can help you. My first session with Jonathan was cathartic and thorough - we went through my entire background, both physically and emotionally. In itself this was a rewarding experience, since I had never stopped to consider the impact on my emotional wellbeing. Dealing with each patient individually is one of the key advantages that I would emphasise in Chinese medicine. Through considering the whole person as opposed to just physical symptoms, they are able to attack the problem at a deeper level, further increasing the recovery rate. The benefits of the treatment soon began to show: within a few sessions my energy began to improve and I was sleeping more soundly. After experiencing such extreme mental fatigue, my brain fog also began to lift, which was incredibly motivating. There’s no such thing as a ‘miracle’ cure, but there are ways to encourage your body to trigger its own recovery. This is how acupuncture helps. In other alternative treatments (cranio sacral therapy, for instance) I had experienced negative side-effects, known as a healing crisis, which had left me with painful, migrane-like symptoms and more exhausted than I was before. But acupuncture is so gentle that I’ve never experienced anything like this. Mostly I leave our sessions feeling relaxed and refreshed. On top of the broader, general symptoms of recovery, acupuncture is great for dealing with the day-to-day troubles. It’s all the little niggles that make it seem unbearable. Acupuncture has helped with all of these whilst continuing to aid recovery on a larger scale. One year later and I’ve come a long long way. I sleep well almost every night and awaken feeling healthy and ready to start my day. This means I’m able to do physiotherapy to further improve and encourage my deconditioned muscles to move again. I’m far more independent; able to cook, wash and dress without assistance, which is greatly liberating. After such a long period of staying in bed, it’s also really good to be able to socialise with my friends. I would recommend Jonathan’s skills in acupuncture to anyone. On top of my therapy he’s offered dietary tips and lent me relaxation CDs to further encourage and aid my recovery, reflecting the idea that he is genuinely interested in your wellbeing. His bedside manner is also incredibly friendly and accommodating: he’s always willing to hear what you are trying to say, so you can be confident that he has chosen the right treatment path. - AP

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