Meet Kim Steer – Harrods’ acupunturist in residence at their Urban Retreat….
What is Five Element Acupuncture?
Five Element Acupuncture can help you maintain your health, enhance wellbeing and combat high stress levels. It was developed thousands of years ago in China. It is a treatment that treats the individual, not just the symptoms. According to the ancient Chinese, vital energy (chi) travels through your body along pathways called meridians. When you are in good health the flow of chi is smooth and uninterrupted but when illness strikes, this flow is disturbed. Needles on precise points along the meridian pathways unblock and balance your own energy and stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The five elements are Earth, Wood, Fire, Metal and Water. When the five elements manifest within us in a balanced and harmonious state, we experience health, wellbeing and joy of being alive.
What will the treatment involve?
A diagnosis involves an exploration of your physical and emotional make-up, weaknesses and strengths. At the initial consultation, you will be asked to identify your main complaint and full health history. The resulting treatment is always bespoke to your needs. It takes into account both your current symptoms, age, general constitution and life circumstances. However, you don’t have to have anything wrong with you to benefit from acupuncture treatment. Your dominant element will then be determined and you are treated accordingly. Your element is diagnosed by the colour of the face, sound, odour and emotion. No differentiation is made between physical and emotional imbalances. The burning of Moxa (from the herb Mugwort) can also be used as part of the treatment. It is formed into small cones which are placed on the acupuncture point and lit. The Harrod’s fire department are always warned about the excess smoke!
What is the relationship between acupuncture and Western medicine?
Acupuncture is getting widely popular and GPs are recognising the healing qualities as there is a lot of research being done into the benefits. Previously, the Chinese believed that research was unethical because you had to do placebo tests or sham treatments. Now that research is being done, the NHS understand that it is cheaper to give someone a course of acupuncture than to prescribe a course of anti-depressants.
Part of what makes you a great acupuncturist is your pragmatic approach to people’s problems…
It is reassuring when people hear that I have been a nurse for 20 years (particularly with a background in casualty nursing). It is useful when dealing with needle phobic patients. We use fine, sterile, disposable needles which are rarely left in situ in Five Element Acupuncture, so you won’t feel like a hedgehog! Meanwhile, people can talk to me about their problems and should not be shy. I am not easily shocked! One of the most important things about being an acupuncturist is the acknowledgement that it is a real honour. People tell you things that they have never told anybody. As a result of feeling comfortable, they tell me what is really going on in their lives. In this way, I can identify the right acupuncture points that they need in order to get better. We are not here to judge patients, we are here to help them.
How long have you been at Urban Retreat, Harrods?
I have worked at Urban Retreat for nearly two years now. I consider that being an acupuncturist is the best job in the world! It never feels like work. I’m lucky to meet so many great people and know that I can really help them feel better. It’s so satisfying when patients tell me what they’ve been able to achieve once they are feeling well, confident and in control. Two of my patients have actually become acupuncturists themselves after experiencing the benefits of treatment! Meanwhile, working at Harrods is fabulous and it makes perfect sense as Urban Retreat is all about beauty and looking amazing. A good acupuncture treatment will help you feel amazing on the inside and outside.
What results are people getting from acupuncture?
I had never been busier than when the recession kicked in. In my experience, people were not investing in the big things in their lives like holidays abroad, and they were not having the little things like their daily coffee, but they were keeping the things that really help them. One of the things that the acupuncture does is it helps people cope with their lives. It helps with both the physical and the emotional, and in today’s economic climate, people are having to cope with increased workloads, redundancy and major change. Acupuncture supports people as they embark on the major changes in their lives – be that changing jobs, moving house, getting married, having a baby or experiencing loss or sickness. Acupuncture is a holistic treatment – it looks at the cause of the imbalance and we make sure that it is all about the patient for the whole hour. Real change can happen in that time. Energy is realigned, people will feel better, more confident and in control. Five Element Acupuncture helps you reach your best health potential.
How can acupuncture help you adapt to seasonal change?
Acupuncture works alongside the seasons. We see energy blocks when the seasons change or when there are odd season transitions. Lots of patients come to see me at this time of year to get in tune with the seasons. People find winter particularly tough. However, stress is the number one thing that I deal with irrespective of the season. Stress can manifest in physical forms, for example migraines or neck pain, or emotional imbalances such as anxiety and panic attacks. Regular acupuncture treatment can help people cope.
How long is a course of treatment?
A typical course of treatment would be four initial weekly treatments followed by fortnightly intervals, perhaps proceeding to a monthly appointment basis with an aim to treat occasionally thereafter. Some conditions may take longer to treat and this will be explained at diagnosis. An initial consultation will helps us get to know you, and devise a treatment plan with a realistic goal. An appropriate time scale and schedule will be drawn up with you to keep you in control of your own expectations and progress.
Visit Urban Retreat for more information: www.urbanretreat.co.uk
Optional Introductory Consultation, 15 minutes – complimentary
Initial full consultation, diagnosis and first treatment with Kim Steer, 1 hour and 30 mins – £165.00
Follow up treatment with Kim Steer, 1 hour – £90.00
To find out more about acupuncture, visit The Worsley Institute’s website or read J.R. Worsley’s Talking About Acupuncture in New York.