An Oscar for The Acupuncturist?

As some of you will know, I have been part of a Better Blogging pilot scheme run by Marion Ryan and Judith Morgan throughout the month of February, 2012.

Tonight Marion Ryan inspired me. She reminded me of how to create high interest in your subject matter by relating it to current events.

As an acupuncturist and with the Oscars about to take place tonight, it made me think.  I wonder how many of the nominees have actually had acupuncture or some form of treatment to help calm their nerves before giving their speeches.

Not only is acupuncture incredibly relaxing, we know that it helps to reduce stress and panic attacks.  It also improves cases of stammering and generally improves self-esteem and confidence.

Most people, celebrity or not, want to look good on the outside; but more importantly they want to feel good on the inside. In this sense, acupuncture works beautifully.

People are genuinely surprised at how relaxing and soothing acupuncture treatment actually is.

In the past, I have successfully treated actors to help calm their nerves before a performance.

Hmmm let me think who would I have liked to have treated before The Oscars tonight?

Out of my virtual needle box I would have loved to have treated:

  1. Meryl Streep nominated for Best Actress (The Iron Lady)
  2. Janet McTeer  nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Albert Nobbs)
  3. Martin Scorsese nominated for Best Director
  4. Brad Pitt nominated for Best Actor (Moneyball)

Ok, admittedly I would only want to treat Brad to hear news on Angelina (sorry Brad nothing personal).

It’ll be great to see who actually wins the Oscars tonight. Personally, I am curious to see the results of the Oscars in relation to Sally Kirkman’s astrological predictions.

If you want to know more about how acupuncture works or how it can assist you, then feel free to email me Amanda Thomas

Does your child play games at the dinner table?

As an acupuncturist specialising in fertility and treating babies and children, sometimes it is difficult to switch my acupuncturist’s brain off.

Last weekend was a prime example. My daughter and I were invited to a friend’s for a meal. To our delight, we sat down at the table to a wonderful spread. Except all of us weren’t seated and when I enquired as to why one of the children wasn’t joining us, I was told.

” Oh she doesn’t eat real food.”

‘Uh huh.’ I gulped.

I looked at my friend and just said ” Shonishin.” “She would benefit by having some Shonishin treatment.”

In these situations, I never judge. But I can’t help but notice and occasionally I suggest that a child may benefit from the treatment. It is always SO much easier to observe energetics in someone else’s family and think about how you might do it differently. Most of us are from pretty dysfunctional families; I suspect that a lot are just better at hiding it than others.

In any family, it is easy to focus on one problem member of the family. In my view, this is probably the person who needs the most assistance, coaching or tending to. In a way, the little person pushes the boundaries in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. Sometimes the behaviour is perceived as negative. It’s probably the person who is pulling the most attention. Little people learn how to press the buttons of adults around them. It is a way of getting attention.

In this case, the young person has decided they are not going to eat regular food. Any parent will tell you this can be a sure way to press the buttons. Children are very clever. They see what’s important to you and  can push into that to see if you will hold them accountable. In this situation, I suspect its tricky as both parents have different views about the way they think the child should behave. The child sees that and in effect ends up playing each parent off against each other.

In my household, we are a 3 person family. I consider myself to be fairly astute, but sometimes the play-off still escapes our notice. I notice that the more as parents that we operate as a team, the more difficult it is for our child to play us off against each other.

Eventually our friend’s child joined us at the table. How could they not when a beautifully made and presented cake showed up.  All of a sudden the ” fussy eater” is not quite so fussy any more. Who can blame them?

Le piece de resistance

Do you have a child who is a fussy eater? Or do you know children with digestive problems. These are the kinds of children that would benefit from Japanese needling therapy, otherwise known as Shonishin.

If you have any questions about the treatment and how it benefits feel free to email me on

My Journey to the Dalai Lama (Part Two)


The Dharma Centre became one of the projects daily. Actually, it became the main focus for the participants on Mick’s training. As assistants we looked out for the participants. We also helped out with the volunteering.

As a team we built the rest of the stupa, painted, cleaned and planted the gardens. As the resident acupuncturist I assisted by tending to the Lamas who came in from neighouring Hawaiian islands. Anything that needed to be done. Got done.

On the day of the Dalai Lama’s visit, as volunteers we were all invited to be there to welcome him and witness the blessing of the stupa. With minutes to go before the DL’s arrival, Mick still in the role of service, realised they had run out of really strong gaffer tape to hold the carpet down at the edge. One of the participants, remembered that she had some back at her apartment. She approached a big, burly policeman with machine gun strapped across his chest who had been placed on the kerb opposite the entrance to the Dharma Centre for security.  Adopting her slightly  damsel in distress voice, ” Excuse me officer….” spoken in her bestest English accent.

The kind officer arranged for a police car to take her to her apartment to collect the gaffer tape. Blue lights-a-flashing and sirens going they whizzed off to her apartment. Yee Ha. The excitement was overwhelming for her. She got back with just minutes left for Mick to lay the red carpet in time.

To see the Dalai Lama was a TOTAL privilege. I saw him on two occasions there. I actually remember very little of what he said. But, what I do remember is his most incredible laugh. More of a chuckle at times. Incredibly infectious! He started his talk that day with a chuckle that rippled  around the grounds and he got everybody laughing.

Whether or not he realised the extent and effort everybody had gone to, in order to receive him. I’m sure he did, he is the DL after all. We worked happily ( for the most part ) knowing we were doing something towards an event that was much bigger than us. With a WHATEVER IT TAKES  approach and philosophy. If only we could always implement that within the context of our own lives. Now there’s a new daily mantra.

“Every day,

think as you wake up,

today I am glad to be alive,

I have a precious human life,

I am not going to waste it.

I am going to use all my energies to develop myself,

to expand my heart to others;

to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.” – Dalai Lama

My Journey to the Dalai Lama (Part One)

Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama) 2008, 2005 & 2...
Image via Wikipedia

When I was 5 months pregnant I travelled to Maui, Hawaii. No great feat I hear you cry.  Except that just before we set out my partner had ended up in hospital with pancreatitis, serious enough to think that we weren’t going to make it. We missed our initial flight but we were determined to get there, and as soon as I could get her out of the hospital and physically onto the plane we were off….

The reason for the trip, not just a holiday, not even whale watching. I think, truthfully we had just missed the end of whale watching season. Definitely no surfing, the waves are too high!

We were going to assist on a 30-day training Self Actualization training www.micpeakperformance . Which of course was considerably less than 30 days, by the time we arrived. Our friend and mentor Mick MacKenzie who was leading the seminar had been asked by  the Lama of the local Dharma centre in Maui, if he would co-incide his 30-day training with the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama was coming to visit to bless their stupa at the  Buddhist Centre . A stupa is a building (that is outside the main temple), it holds a prayer wheel; inside the prayer wheel holds thousands of rolled up prayers. When the prayer wheel is turned it is believed to send out messages of peace and happiness for everyone on the planet. The Lama there prays and chants twice per day on behalf of all of us.  The inside of the stupa was painted by a local artist with beautiful images inside.

It was a complete privilege to have the opportunity to:  1) assist on the training  2) use my skills as an acupuncturist to tend to the participants and work on the lamas  3) The experience gave me the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak.

 Our Deepest Fear – Marianne Williamson

” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Your playing small does not serve the world……”

Is your child cranky?

A Mum approached me in the school playground this morning.

“I wonder if you could help.”

Uh oh! Its 2 minutes to 9. I am rushing my daughter in for her last day. She has been off all week with a nasty stomach bug.

Fortunately, my partner is also there this morning for the weekly school session on behaviour. As luck had it, I unusually had some ‘Hummingbird Children’s Clinic’ leaflets on me. The rest of my family rushed off leaving me to chat with the Mum after handing her a leaflet.

Her eyes quickly ran down the list of things that the treatment I offer can assist with. ” Yep, yep, yep he’s got that.” She affirmatively commented with a tad of relief.

I looked into the push chair and attempted to joke with a grumpy tear-stained face. Doh! Somebody is ticking all the boxes for what the Japanese refer to as kanmushisho. To the layperson, that just means the irritable child. This can manifest in many ways such as insomnia, crying for no apparent reason, clingyness, night terrors, bad mood, cries a lot, biting people, abdominal bloating due to over-eating, temporary fever, vomiting milk, diarrhea, runny nose, stuffy nose. OK the list is pretty endless and I could have on.

I’m sure as a parent that your child will have fallen into one of these categories at one time or another.

When they do go through one of these phases it can be hard to see an end to it. As the Mum of the toddler this morning said, she finds it hard because her son is clingy, it is difficult to get anything done, he won’t go to her partner when he is there, she also feels like she is neglecting her other older son.

It’s tricky sometimes. And at the risk of sounded clichéd, it can seem like catch 22.

This can arise through a general over-sensitivity within the child to various stimuli (environmental, nutritional, emotional etc.).

This could be something as simple as :

– my child doesn’t like loud noises

– they hate the sound of running water

– they want to turn the lights off or down

– they get really upset when anyone shouts

– they have a reaction to dairy products

In the Japanese view, behavioural issues are a manifestation of kanmushisho.

These days we talk about the “terrible twos,” there is almost an expectation that the behaviour of the child will change at age 2.

In the older, pre-school age child, the symptoms manifest differently. It can include the child whom is easily distracted or who finds it difficult to concentrate.

More extreme cases are where we see diagnoses of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In many cases even a light treatment sees positive effects. This is because, in a baby or young child their energy lies on the surface. In Chinese Medicine we attribute this receptivity to children as they are more in the “yang” phase of their life.

Also because the child’s energy is more on the surface, it is easier to access.

It is widely known that the stimulation of specific acupuncture points in the body causes the nervous system to produce endorphins (the feel good factor) and other natural chemicals and hormones. This process supports a healthy immune system.

Shonishin works in a similar way, it can help children to fight off infection (and lurking pathogens i.e. nasties) by building their immune system. The imprint of illnesses that remain dormant within the system can disrupt the autoimmune system in later life.

Shonishin can be used alone or alongside more conventional medical treatment. Of course, it is always advisable to consult with you GP if you have any concerns about your child’s overall health. It can also help to know that there are alternative ways of approaching health issues you may be dealing with.

Shonishin is safe and there are no negative side effects. By strengthening a child’s energy (Qi) it can assist in restoring their wellbeing towards being in good health. Along with a good diet and sometimes some lifestyle changes, I believe it can really assist our young people towards being healthier adults.

If you have any queries about your child’s health or questions about this article, feel free to email me on

Learning to Love Our Vulnerability

The offending article

My client this morning gave me some food for thought.

Do we allow ourselves to be as vulnerable as we need to be sometimes….?

The lady in question is a professional woman, a master in her field. She came to me recently for acupuncture as she had been feeling as if her ” body was letting her down.” Decreased energy levels, achyness in her limbs and a general feeling of having lost her ” get up and go.”

After a few sessions….she is starting to regain some of her old zest.

This morning, she came in for her session after she had slipped and fallen. She was in shock when she arrived and tearful. She turned up for her session, allowing herself to be vulnerable. Something that on reflection, I imagine she does not readily do. For that alone, I appreciate her.

When the chips are down, how easy is it to ask for the assistance of your friends/family/colleagues…?

A couple of months ago, whilst putting my daughter to bed we suddenly realised that she must have dropped her favourite toy in the local playground. After some cajoling -with reassurances that we would (somehow) get Sammy the Seal back – she settled.

On returning downstairs, my partner went through all the what ifs of what could happen to the toy. When I looked across the sofa and saw her tear-stained face, I realised that she was more affected than our little one about the disappearance of the toy. My partner had bought it as a special gift on the birth of our daughter.

With the prospect of a teary Friday evening ahead; I cracked.

” Right that’s it, I’m going to find it.”

To cries of….” No, you can’t its really dangerous, dark and all the local teenagers hang out there of a night-time…”

Undeterred, I wasn’t prepared to let that put me off as the list of what-ifs grew in my mind.

My partner said ” Right I’ll call Frank and see if he can accompany you to the park.”

Now it was my turn to be alarmed,

“NO! Its Friday night and he will be relaxing by now.” And for good measure, ” And he’s got work tomorrow.”

Crazily, I would have rathered go to the ‘dangerous’ park after dark than ask a friend for a small favour. I relented and let her make the call.

As I leant down to assist my client with her boot this morning, it struck me…what does it take for us to let down our guard and ask for the assistance we need…?

For me, my coach hit the nail on the head the other week, during one of my monthly coaching sessions.

She said, ” You have to treat yourself like you would your best friend.”

That has really resonated for me ever since. How kind are we being to ourselves? Do we give ourselves the self-care that we need? Or the appreciation? How easy is it to ask for a sticking plaster ocassionally?

Random Acts of Kindness

As I was going about my daily business this morning, rushing around town and popping into Tesco’s. I had an interesting interaction with the lady on the till. In my haste, I had put my shopping on the conveyor belt, realised I had forgotten something so ran off to pick it up. When I got back to the till, there was a queue and she was waiting for me. Apologetically, I approached the till but her smile disarmed me. She was in no hurry.

We exchanged stories, she rang up the goods whilst I packed them – the weather, our children, the usual; then she told me that her 12 year old daughter was being bullied for “having braces.”  I joked, telling her to coach her daughter…Effectively, the finger the bullies point at her… there are always three pointing back at themselves. She smiled. We both laughed. I walked away feeling strangely exhilarated.

My last client today came in feeling as if her body was letting her down. We talked about resilience. Modern day living – my observations are that we are putting ourselves under enormous pressure. I posed the question, how easy is it to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. When we are kind to others, not only does it release serotonin in our brain but those who are watching the act of kindness also feel good. A double whammy if you like.  So, every little bit really does count.

Many of you reading this will be juggling busy lives – being  good/wanting to be better parents, all trying to be the best at what we do, be the ‘top of our field.’ Undoubtably, we are all being the best that we can be RIGHT NOW!

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” – Dalai Lama



I am officially launching The Hummingbird Clinic – Baby and Childrens Clinic this Saturday 4th February in Whitstable.  My first client this morning KS amazed me.  Last time I saw her, I asked her if she would take one of my flyers and display it on her works’ notice board.  This morning she announced that not only had she photocopied the flyer, but also she had given it to all the Mums she knows at her children’s school. Also she asked the school about advertising my business on their website.  A person who loves what you do…..

The launch of my new children’s clinic is gathering interest and momentum.  I’ve got my stickers in place and coloured pencils as back-up.

Alongside my specialism in fertility/infertility I decided last year to train with Stephen Birch, one of the leading teachers in Japanese acupuncture – Shonishin.  The treatment is incredibly gentle, the tools have been used in Japan since the 1300,s the kids love it and are curious about the tools, it does NOT involve needling.

It is good for colic – for those that don’t know it’s when the baby is in agony when the digestion starts to mature around 6 weeks.  The experience of my own daughter having it led me to study Japanese Paediatrics.  It is also good for improving behaviour, tantrums, angry outbursts and moodiness. Here’s to more happy smiley moments all round.

“If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” – Thich Nhat Hanh 

Deer Antler tips

Deer Antler is widely believed in the Orient to strengthen all aspects of a person’s life, and is considered to be an ultimate primal essence (Jing) tonic. It is said to be a warm Yang tonic, although it is also known to contain Yin essence and is a major blood tonic. Extracts of Deer Antler have been found to strengthen the central nervous system and the heart. Deer Antler is believed to strengthen the mind and to enliven the Spirit (Shen). It is also widely used to improve mental power. Deer Antler contains many natural minerals and other nutrients. Deer Antler is the most precious and the most potent of the substances that fortify the Yang energy of the Kidney, Yang Jing. It is widely used in Asia to strengthen adrenal, reproductive and brain functions.  It is universally believed in the Orient to build sexual strength and to increase virility and fertility. Deer antler is used to build blood and improve circulation. Deer antler has been found to benefit the cardiovascular system. Deer antler is tonic to the marrow, which produces blood, including our white and red blood cells. Marrow tends to degenerate as we age and deer antler is believed to slow down or reverse this process.  This is a major aspect of deer antler’s youth preserving ability. Overall, deer antler is mainly used as a rejuvenating agent. Short term use is believed to quickly build strength and power, while consistent long-term use is believed to re-build deep life force, preserve youthfulness or even reverse aging, and to enhance longevity. Deer are not generally killed for their antler. The soft antler of the deer is removed from the deer when it has grown just two or three spikes and is still covered by velvet. The deer grows new antlers that same season, which are not harvested. The tip of the antler is the most potent part because it contains the most active substances.