BA LicAc ClinAc(China) MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncturist & herbalist
Stephen Lee has a thriving acupuncture practice in Northampton where he has lived since qualifying as an acupuncturist in1984. His initial 3 year training was at the College of Traditional Acupuncture, Leamington Spa; this was followed by a further year's study in London. He worked in the Nanjing College of Chinese Medicine, China in 1987, before completing a 2 year course in Chinese herbal medicine in London. He has completed specialist training in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems, sports injuries and infertility
He is a member of the BAC (British Acupuncture Council) and the RCHM (Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine). He lectures on electroacupuncture for musculoskeletal problems and has published a book, the Electroacupuncture Handbook.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the acupuncture points which are located along channels of energy called meridians. Each of the points on the meridians has an influence on the functioning of the particular organ, such as the liver or spleen, that the meridian is connected to. Thus relevant points are utilised to treat the dysfunction in the various organs. There are 14 meridians along which lie 366 acupuncture points. The insertion of the needles is usually painless but when the needle touches the acupuncture point a tingling, numb or ''full'' feeling is experienced, which soon passes; this feeling indicates that the point is being activated. Depending on the nature of the treatment, up to 12 needles are inserted for up to 20 minutes. Treatment may also involve warming the points using moxa, a herb that is placed on the acupuncture points and lit; its heat gently warms the point and the surrounding area.
As an immediate effect of an acupuncture treatment people often feel very relaxed. Over the following 24 hours there is usually a noticeable improvement in their symptoms accompanied by a shift in their energy levels – they may feel tired and need to rest; or alternatively, experience an increase in their energy. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect over a period of time as the body is gradually brought back to a state of balance and health; this is usually accompanied by a general sense of well-being.
Acupuncture is an extremely safe system of treatment with occasional mild side effects that quickly pass. At Abington Park Clinic in Northampton we use single-use pre-packed sterilised disposable needles.
Chinese herbal medicine
Chinese herbal medicine works in a similar way to acupuncture, by strengthening and balancing the functions of the organs of the body. It utilises hundreds of different medicinal substances such as the bark, berries, leaves, roots, seeds and twigs of plants and trees as well as some animal products. Animal products are not used in the UK as they are illegal here. Chinese herbalists use over 200 herbs from which to make their formulas. Herbs are combined according to one of 600 classical prescriptions, all of which can be modified to suit the specific needs of the individual.
A herbal prescription may contain up to 16 or more different herbs; each herb has a specific action in treating the complicated patterns of disharmony in the body. As a patient improves in health the prescription is modified accordingly. Initially a prescription contains several herbs to address the symptoms of an illness, with fewer herbs to treat the underlying constitutional cause. As symptoms improve, the herbs treating the underlying cause are increased, while herbs treating the symptoms are decreased. It is important for the practitioner to ascertain the subtle changes in a patient’s well-being in order to make the necessary modifications to a prescription.
Traditionally Chinese herbs are boiled and then taken as a drink. Nowadays the herbs are processed into concentrated granules which are combined into formulas which dissolve easily in warm water. If a patient has a problem drinking the herbs, they can be put into capsules and swallowed.