Thame Therapy Clinic

Facial acupuncture – would you? By Sarah O’Hanlon of Muddy Stilettos

I’m a long-standing fan of this alternative therapy clinic in Thame, a buzzy little market town on the Oxfordshire/Bucks borders that’s a handy five minute whizz from Muddy HQ. I reviewed the cupping treatment here last year but this time round I despatched Sarah to try out facial acupuncture. Turns out getting stabbed in the face with a load of needles is a lot more fun than it sounds…

THE LOCATION

Thame Therapy Clinic is right in the centre of the town just off the main market square, with up to three hours free parking right outside. There’s all sorts on offer here from hands-on treatments such as physiotherapy, osteopathy and massage to talking therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy and speech and language therapy. It’s open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm, except on Wednesdays when it closes at a working woman-friendly 9pm.

THE VIBE

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Beyond the big blue front door and the town centre bustle, there’s a network of basic treatment rooms. Nothing particularly posh or interior-designed but my view is ‘who cares’ if the treatments are amazing. My treatment took place in one at the back overlooking a peaceful, verdant little garden. Clinic owner Andy Roscoe was my designated needle-prodder on the day. He’s been practising acupuncture for 25 years and has run the clinic in Thame for 24 of those. This was reassuring – if you’re going to let someone stick needles in your mug, you want them to know what they’re doing.

THE TREATMENT

I opted for the Facial Rejuvenation treatment which is also known as cosmetic acupuncture. It’s gained popularity in recent years among A-list actresses and women who want to their skin to look brighter, plumper and smoother but don’t want to go down the invasive route of Botox or similar. Basically, it’s a halfway house between a softly-softly standard facial and more hardcore intervention – so needles, yes, but not ones filled with worrisome chemicals. I went for the 60 minute treatment, although Andy does offer a 90 minute option with some zero balancing thrown in. Yep, me neither – turns out it involves pressure being placed on certain joints to rebalance your energy. I was curious but apparently you have to clear your diary for the rest of the day because it’s so intense all you can do afterwards is float home in a state of nirvana. Which sounds lovely but is possibly not an appropriate vibe for the school run or back in the office.

Obviously I went along because quite frankly I want my face to look better! But Andy has an holistic approach and emphasized how feeling happier and more relaxed on the inside really does show on the face. It’s an obvious point but sometimes in the whirlwind of every day like, we forget this. We carry a lot of stress and tension in the face, so a treatment that relaxes it should have a positive knock-on effect on the whole body, promoting a broader sense of wellbeing.

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The treatment began with Andy taking my pulses, standard practice for acupuncturists, before, during and after the treatment. This is when you realise there’s no hiding place regarding any, ahem, less than healthy lifestyle choices. He spotted my liver was a bit in need of a boost – funnily enough I’d been celebrating a friend’s birthday the night before.

He popped some needles in points in my feet and hands to help detox the liver and rebalance my energy, then moved on to my face where he swiftly popped in around 10 more, far fewer than I was expecting. If you’ve never had acupuncture before, be assured they don’t hurt, they’re extremely fine and you feel just the mildest of pinpricks as they go in. With facial acupuncture, the theory is that as well as helping energy circulate around your body, the tiny traumas to the skin caused by the needles helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.

Wanna see a photo? Of course you do!

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I also went for the optional electro-stimulation where the needles are hooked up to a super-gentle machine, creating a very mild fizzing sensation. It took me a few minutes to relax but it’s just a slightly odd sensation rather than anything painful. The benefit of the electro stimulation is that you don’t need to use as many needles because it somehow turbo-charges them (not a technical term, obvs).

Andy removed the needles after 15 minutes and next came the facial rollers. The first one was warm and filled some amazing-smelling aromatic potion that sent me into a reverie and helps relax the face. The second one was cooler and apparently stimulates the blood flow. Then came a Chinese Tui Na massage, following the pathways of trad acupuncture and using organic argan oil. This was my favourite part – I could’ve happily had a snooze, and it makes the whole thing feel more pampering than you’d expect of a needles-based treatment.

THE VERDICT

I glided out looking like I’d enjoyed the best night’s sleep ever; glowing, radiant and unusually serene. There are no needle marks so you don’t have to slink home and hide or slather your cheeks with foundation. In the coming days, my face looked more relaxed – I wasn’t holding so much tension in it and seemed to be squinting and frowning less. And when I ventured into the Muddy HQ a colleague quizzed me at length about how perky I looked. Suffice to say, I will be back. I’m not a fan of serious cosmetic procedures such as fillers or Botox but this treatment sits well with me as it’s not so invasive and feels more meaningful somehow. Yes, my face looked pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself, but I also felt a deep sense of wellbeing and relaxation too.

THE DAMAGE

£60 for a 60 minute treatment – great value I say, plus you’d pay a lot more in London. If needles make you nervous, Andy charges from £45 for 45 minutes of facial massage. Or you can upgrade to the full VIP float-off-to-nirvana option, including acupuncture, massage and zero balancing for £90.


A: Thame Therapy Clinic, 23 Upper High St, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3EX. Tel:01844 215 555. thametherapyclinic.co.uk

Words by: Sarah O’Hanlon
Full article can also be viewed here: 
https://bucksoxon.muddystilettos.co.uk/beauty/thame-therapy-clinic-acupuncture/

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WHAT HEALTH ISSUES COULD BENEFIT FROM ACUPUNCTURE?

As an Acupuncture practitioner I see endless applications of this therapy for everyday health problems. I thought it might be useful if I summarise the common issues I see regularly in the clinic to give you an idea of the scope of Acupuncture.

1. First up is ‘tiredness and stress’. This is the main complaint of about 60% of my patients. Typically I see this in working women in their 30/40’s with 2/3 children and a partner who works long hours.

2. Second is ‘pain’. Often acute physical strains from eg. Picking up a heavy weight or maybe a whiplash car accident, or a sports injury. But also physical pain coming from stress, such as sitting for a long time in front of a computer, or arthritic pain in the joints from damp and cold.

3. Third is ‘emotional overload’ causing mental stress and physical symptoms. This is very common and underlies most of the other issues I see. Helping people unblock emotionally is one of Acupuncture’s great strengths.

4. Fourth there are the chronic ongoing conditions such as headaches or IBS or menstrual pains where medical drugs don’t really address the cause of the problem. Many people are ground down by these issues and feel their lives are restricted.

5. Fifth are the patients who need help detoxing and strengthening. This could be during treatments for cancer or those getting off drugs like cigarettes or alcohol.

6. Sixth are the increasing numbers of women (and men) who use Acupuncture to help with fertility issues, including IVF assistance.

7. Finally there are some lesser known Acupuncture applications which sometimes feel like ‘miracles’. In this category come turning breech babies, overcoming the terror of flying, and controlling menopausal sweats.

For more information on Acupuncture please contact Andy Roscoe on 07932 011 281.

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What can I do about Hayfever..?

After a warm winter and a cold spring, the recent lift in temperatures has brought a sudden rise in pollen levels and for some the start of hayfever misery.

Medical solutions range from relatively harmless saline solutions to stronger suppressants such as anti-histamines and steroids. The latter two may be faster acting but often carry side effects such as drowsiness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds.

If you have tried these and are worried by the side effects, you might instead try acupuncture or homeopathy. Both approaches are sophisticated and holistic because they are tailored to your individual needs and constitution. Side effects are rare and although fast relief is not guaranteed it often happens.

Andy Roscoe, Acupuncturist, has been treating this problem for more than 23 years.

He recalls treating a combine harvester driver who had suffered for over 20 years from hayfever every harvest time. His symptoms almost disappeared in one session, and occasional maintenance sessions thereafter kept them under control. Both his livelihood and his life came back into balance.

Holistic approaches have the potential to reintegrate the mind and body, rather than just the suppression of symptoms.

If you are interested in trying  acupuncture or homeopathy then call Andy on 07932 011281.

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How Food Affects Your Inner Energy

INSIGHTS FROM CHINESE MEDICINE 

Chinese medicine believes that it is not just what you eat that is important but also when and how we eat it. Eastern Dietary therapy believes that what is right for one individual may not be right for another and that the best diet for an individual is based on many factors: lifestyle, metabolism, inherited constitution and internal organs all differ from person to person and all should be taken into account. Therefore this information is meant as only a general guideline and should only be used within the context of a full diagnosis and consultation.

Before considering any of the information below it is important to remember that food is our fuel for life and you get out what you put in. Food and our diet is too often seen as a burden or necessity in modern life but enjoying food and having a respectful and good relationship with food can make a huge difference in how you feel from day to day.

What we eat:

  • Choose food with strong Qi, that’s as close to nature as possible: Always choose fresh food over processed food and Organic over non organic. Wherever possible choose locally-grown in-season food. Try at all times to avoid over-processed and pre-packaged food, in order for these foods to have such long shelf lives and best before dates all the goodness and essential fatty acids are often removed. Yes, it is more expensive but how important is your health and feeling good to you.
  • Avoid the rubbish: You will be amazed at how much better you can feel by just avoiding certain foods. It is essentially important to avoid where possible additives that de-nature food and prolong its artificial life such as sweeteners, preservatives, colourings and flavourings. For example organic meat doesn’t contain the hormones and antibiotics that non-organic animals are fed. Choose good quality fats (extra virgin olive oil) and avoid cheap hydrogenated vegetable fats. If it’s cheap, it’s often because it has no nourishment to offer. What you spend on good food now, you might save on health in years to come.
  • Balance / Avoid extremes: Neutral foods (rice, pulses, beans etc) should make up the bulk of our diet, while foods that are more extreme in nature (strong flavoured rich, greasy, spicy, salty, sweet etc) should make up a small part of what we eat. This means that very concentrated and refined foods (like sugar and fruit juice) should only be consumed occasionally. We should also aim to avoid over-consuming any one type of food. In our current western society it is all too common for someone to eat a wheat based cereal, a sandwich for lunch and then pasta for the evening meal resulting in a diet consisting almost entirely of wheat. This is obviously imbalanced and may be the reason that intolerance to certain foods occur.
  • Mix things up: Try and eat a wide range of different foods rather than repeating the same meals week in week out. Colours can be a good guide to this, for example try to eat a range of different coloured vegetables with every meal – red, orange, green, purple will mean your getting a good range of nutrients.
  • Eat the right proportions: Eastern therapy believes that our diet should mostly consist of grains and vegetables (about 70-80%). And is said that roughly 10-20% should be made up of protein foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and additional fats.

When we eat:

  • Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper (or peasant): Our digestive systems are at their strongest between 7am and 9am, and at the weakest between 7pm and 9pm. Therefore it is best to give your body as many nutrients as possible during these times (7am) with a good hearty breakfast (i.e. porridge, muesli or a cooked breakfast). This will set your metabolism in motion and give you the energy you need to get through the day.
  • Avoid eating late at night: As mentioned above your metabolism starts to wind down after 7pm. Eating after this hour in the short term will overburden your digestive system and possibly affect your sleep. The food will sit undigested in your system and can cause you to wake tired, groggy and sluggish and disinterested in food. In the long term it will continually deplete digestive fluids and can cause weight gain and digestive problems.
  • When you’re eating – do nothing else but eat. Our blood can only be in one place at one time and when we eat our blood and our focus is needed in our digestive system. If we are doing something else, our blood will be diverted to another part of the body and taken from where it is needed in the digestive system. For example: if you stand or walk while eating, blood will be diverted to your legs, if you watch television, read, drive or work blood will be diverted to your brain. For this reason eating on the go, business lunches and TV dinners can weaken your digestive system over time. Animals are great examples of how we should eat, when you see an animal feed it does nothing else but focus on its food, and lets nothing distract it.
  • Aim to eat when relaxed and stay that way: Eating while stressed, nervous or uptight will lead to food stagnating in your digestive system. In the long term this can lead to digestive problems like heartburn or ulcers.
  • The Stomach likes regularity: So try to make your meal times as regular as possible as your body will prepare for digestion. It is important not to skip or miss meals as this weakens the body and digestive fluids. Equally constant snacking and eating late similarly depletes these important digestive fluids. Diabetics are only too aware of the need to eat a regular sensible diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Take time to digest: Your body needs time to digest once you’ve eaten your food. Try not to rush on to the next thing but instead take a while to digest your food and relax. Avoiding indigestion.

How we Eat:

  • Don’t drown your food: Healthy digestion requires an abundance of digestive fluids. Drinking a large quantity of fluid with your meals will water down these powerful digestive juices. Instead have a small amount of fluid (water, green tea or wine) with a meal and drink the rest of your daily fluids between meals.
  • Don’t chill your stomach: In the same way we need heat to cook food our digestive system needs a certain level of ‘heat’ to digest food. For this reason never eat food directly from the fridge or have iced drinks with your food otherwise your stomach will first have to warm the food to 38degrees before it can start to digest it and this takes a lot of energy. Avoid overeating raw food – especially if your digestive system is weak. Instead lightly steam or stir-fry vegetables to make them more digestible without losing valuable nutrients. Cooking soups and stews is a good way to retain more of the goodness from vegetables.
  • Your Stomach has no teeth: Digestion starts in the mouth and so it is imperative that you chew well. Giving your digestive system as little work to do as possible means that your body can quickly transform and transport the nutrients from your food to where it’s needed. Equally as important is eating your food slowly so that your body has time to digest. Indigestion is often a direct result of people eating too fast.
  • Don’t over do it: Try and pay attention to your body, stop before you get totally full. Overburdening your digestive system will lead to stagnation in your digestive system and will often give you that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Eating slowly helps to avoid overeating as the stomach takes a while to give the brain the message that it is full.
  • Listen closely: We are often over run with information on what foods we should eat through diets, science, news and handouts like this one. All this information can sometimes undermine our bodies own ability to know what is good for us individually. Explore how your body feels before, during and after eating different foods. Listen loud, trust and be proud.
  • Cravings: Craving for junk and sweet foods is a sign your digestive system is weak or that your hormones may be out of balance. Make sure you eat enough foods that maintain a steady blood sugar level (oats or brown rice), and if you must snack keep some healthy snacks ready (a tub of mixed seeds and nuts can be great for snacking).

The best changes are slow and gradual – ones that you can keep.

We think it’s important that this information is only used within the context of a full diagnosis and consultation.

USEFUL REFERENCES

‘HELPING OURSELVES’ by Daverick Leggett, 2008, Meridian Press

‘HELPING OURSELVES WITH WHOLEFOODS’ by Paul Pitchford, 1993 and since updated, North Atlantic Books

Written by

ANDY ROSCOE MBAcC

Acupuncturist and Director

Thame Therapy Clinic September 2013

23 Upper High St. Thame. Tel 01844 215555

www.thametherapyclinic.co.uk