Gabriella Doran
London Acupuncture

What is Five Element Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing that has been used in the East for over 3000 years. Today, it benefits us as a gentle, yet powerful form of treatment, as masters through the ages have reviewed it and adapted its use to pass on to future generations.

Gabriella practices a style of acupuncture known as Five Element Acupuncture, pioneered in the West by the master of this tradition, the late Professor J.R. Worsley.

The ancient Chinese discovered that the body has numerous points where energy, or Qi, can be readjusted and the flow restored by making contact with a fine needle. By treating the imbalance, it returns to the body its natural tools to fix its symptoms, wherever they manifest, so enabling it to heal itself as it was designed from birth to do.

The Five Elements, found all around us in nature (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) are also present in all living things and are vital to their good health. Five Element Acupuncture works on the principle that there is in every person an imbalance in the natural flow of the energy of these elements which is that person’s underlying cause of illness. This could consequently mean the inability to reach an optimum level of health or the inability to recover after an injury or illness.

Therefore acupuncture works as a way of reminding the body how to look after itself, through minimum intervention, with the only side effect being a greater sense of general well being, reaching beyond any physical symptoms originally presented. This happens because the skilled acupuncturist combines knowledge, genuine interest in each unique patient and strong rapport, forming a healing partnership with the patient.

What can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture works by restoring your body's own healing potential, so it can help with all kinds of physical, mental and emotional problems - without side effects. Also, because it is a holistic medicine, acupuncture treats many symptoms at the same time.

Gabriella believes that there is no condition, symptom, disease or state of mind that cannot be touched by acupuncture.

Here is a guideline for some of the reasons you may wish to seek help from Gabriella, but the list is by no means extensive. Please do call if you would like to talk to Gabriella confidentially about any problems you may wish to address, whether you see them listed here or not.

Common complaints

  • Arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, sports injuries
  • Asthma, shortness of breath, bronchitis
  • Eczema, psoriasis, acne
  • Headaches, migraine, sinusitis, hay fever, allergies
  • Anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, neuralgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), fibromyalgia
  • Digestive problems, heartburn, IBS, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea
  • High blood pressure, angina, palpitations, poor circulation
  • Cystitis, water retention, weight problems
  • Painful or irregular periods, pre-menstrual tension

Less common complaints:

  • Recovery from stroke / heart attack
  • Debilitating side-effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
  • Minimising side-effects of long-term medication
  • Managing your condition with less (or no) medication
  • Difficulties conceiving
  • Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes
  • General malaise / feeling run down
  • Work-related stress symptoms
  • Emotional problems e.g. bereavement, relationship break-up, moving on with your life
  • Gabriella has extensive experience in the area of auto-immune disorders.

What will happen when I come for acupuncture treatment?

The first session lasts about 2 hours, and is diagnostic, allowing Gabriella to find out how you would like her to help you. She will ask questions relating to all aspects of your health and life and carry out a short series of physical examinations, which includes taking your pulse, blood pressure and assessing the distribution of temperature throughout your body. This will help build up a complete, holistic picture of your health, thus enabling a course of treatment that is individually designed for you and your unique constitution.

Gabriella's acupuncture Treatment Room in west London, maida vale area.

Your first treatment consists of a powerful energy cleansing procedure, which allows any conflicting energy that is working against your good health to clear. Work can then begin on unblocking, balancing and boosting your energies. The first treatment may take up to 2 hours. Treatments thereafter should last from between 45 to 60 minutes. Each time there is a discussion about what has happened since the last treatment, which then determines the treatment for that day.

Acupuncture frequently asked questions

  • Is acupuncture safe?
  • Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of treatment available. All needles are single-use and disposable, and come in a sterile pack. They are so fine that it is rare to draw any blood. Also, they are solid rather than hollow, so no substance can pass through them into your body, as is the case with the needles we are familiar with in the doctor's surgery.

  • Can I claim acupuncture treatment on my medical insurance?
  • Most insurance companies will agree to pay for acupuncture as a complementary therapy. It's a good idea to check with your insurers what kind of cover they will offer you.

  • I have a cold. Should I come for my treatment?
  • Absolutely! Treatment helps rebalance the body and will help you get back on your feet sooner. The same applies whether you have hurt your foot or are feeling low and not up to much. Getting good energies flowing round the body is a great way to a speedy recovery. It's also a good idea to call to arrange an extra treatment if something unexpected crops up so that your rebalanced energies can help life to get back to normal as soon as possible. Treatment after a long-haul journey from another time zone helps reduce the time you experience jet lag, as it helps to readjust your body's energies to this climate and time zone by bringing them back into balance.

  • I'm on medication. Will acupuncture affect this?
  • Acupuncture will have no detrimental effect whatsoever on any medication you are currently taking. It will however help to reduce the side-effects you may be experiencing whilst on medication.

  • I would like to stop taking medication. Can acupuncture help me do this?
  • If you would like to reduce or stop any prescribed medicine, in many cases acupuncture can help you to do this, but it is essential you talk to your doctor or specialist about your intention. Gabriella will work alongside the advice you receive, and between you, your doctor and Gabriella, a plan will emerge to help you achieve your wish with full support. It is never advisable to stop a long-term medication suddenly. In such cases, acupuncture helps you to gradually reduce medication as it helps your body to get used to doing the work the medication was doing.

  • Nothing has helped me so far. Why would acupuncture be any different?
  • Acupuncture approaches you in a very different way to conventional medicine. As a holistic medicine, it looks at all aspects of your health and life. As your practitioner, Gabriella makes sure you and her have the time needed to get to the root cause of your problems. She is not simply looking to relieve your symptoms, she is hoping to find a way to go beyond that; to fortify your whole system and help you achieve the health and happiness that is your own individual potential.

  • Can children have acupuncture?
  • Definitely! Acupuncture helps with all sorts of complaints that have become increasingly common in children, such as asthma and eczema. It can also help where an emotion appears out of balance, perhaps manifesting as temper tantrums, to give one example. Appointments with children tend to be shorter and a parent is always present. Written consent from a parent or guardian will be required.

    Children respond remarkably well to treatment as their energy is so fresh and vital, with the added bonus that they can be more grown up about needles than some adults!

  • My doctor has suggested I have some acupuncture, but I don't know how it works and I don't really believe in it. Will it still work?
  • Of course it will! It's Gabriella's job to understand how it works. All you need to do is turn up for the treatment, and leave the rest to her. As part of the treatment, some changes in your current lifestyle that would help you to achieve the changes you are looking for in your health and well-being, may be discussed. In this way you can actively participate in your healing process as it enables you to feel in control of your progress, but the workings of the whole process you can leave safely in Gabriella's hands.

    But I can't stand needles!

    For some, the biggest hurdle to trying acupuncture is the needle. So, does it hurt?

    Acupuncture needles are very fine; around the thickness of two average human hairs, and are designed to push the cells apart rather than to pierce them. Some needles are inserted at a fairly superficial depth in the skin, around 1mm, and some will go a little deeper. The sensation you will feel is not created by the piercing of the skin, but by the needle making contact with your Qi energy. If contact is not made, you will generally feel nothing. Most needles are in for only 1 or 2 seconds, so the sensation will be brief. You will feel something that can be described as a tug or a burst of energy in the local area, which lasts no longer than a few seconds, and is quite tolerable. After the first treatment, Gabriella will normally only need to use between 2 and 4 pairs of needles each time, and she only uses sterile, disposable needles to ensure the highest standard of hygiene. Part of the treatment consists of moxibustion, that is warming the point with a herb called moxa (Chinese Mugwort) prior to needling, which patients often describe as very relaxing.

    patient receiving moxa treatment before needling with acupuncture.
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