Updated: Apr 10, 2020
An ancient traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a form of treatment based on the belief that Qi energy flows through the body. Inserting needles into specific points is said to bring the energy flow back into balance. Blood pressure, fertility issues, joint pain, arthritis and more can be treated with this age-old healing practice.
Elaine Otrofanowei, founder and Lead Complementary Therapist at Ecotherapies talks to Culture is Free about this holistic approach to life.
What inspired you to become a Complementary Therapist?
When my body decided it wanted to enter the menopausal stage of my life early, I came to the conclusion that this was a natural phase in a woman’s life and that I would use nutrition, herbs, supplements and complementary therapies to help me cope with the changes. My first complementary treatment I experienced was reflexology and then acupuncture. I found the combination of all of them really worked well for me. This encouraged me to retrain as an acupuncturist and study for a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and have since studied functional medicine.
What can the holistic approach offer us in our daily lives?
An holistic approach in our daily lives can help us cope with the side effects of modern life. Aiming to balance our life can counteract the effects of stress caused by the way we live our busy lives. Making changes in our diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation can have a positive effect on the quality of our lives and health.
What do you feel are the common misconceptions around acupuncture?
Often the public is under the misconception that acupuncture is hocus pokus or some kind of voodoo. Research has proved that on the insertion of the needles physiological changes occur in different areas of the brain and at the actual site of needle insertion. Changes such as an increase in blood supply, release of endorphins, the body’s’ natural painkiller and initiation of the ‘rest and digest’ response in the parasympathetic nervous system are the opposite to the fight and flight response/ stress response. Acupuncture is just one modality of Chinese Medicine; it also includes herbal, dietary and lifestyle medicine.
What advice would you give someone who wishes to improve their lifestyle?
The best advice I can give, when making changes is to start small. For example in your diet, start eating real food, ask yourself would your great-grandmother have recognised that food you are eating. If the food is from a packet it shouldn’t have more than 5 ingredients on the list on the back. Or make sure you always have some vegetables or fruit with each meal. Sleep; try to go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier if you’re a night owl or no screen time for a least an hour before going to bed.
Exercise, find something you enjoy or do a small burst of exercise, dance around the kitchen while you wait for the kettle boil, whilst watching a TV program or do sum squats or sit-ups. Relaxation have a soothing bath with some lavender oil, do some deep breathing for 5 minutes everyday or meditate. Keep it simple, small and consistent.
What is your fondest memory of your career?
I specialise in fertility and women’s health, there are quite a few. Every time a patient gets a positive pregnancy test and when they meet their longed for baby for the first time. Or a patient with endometriosis is amazed the first time she experiences a monthly period without the usual excruciating pain. I love my job; it gives me such joy.