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How Meridian Acupuncture’s treatments are evolving !

Now open for Urgent Care

Following guidance from my governing body the British Acupuncture Council, Professional institutions and Public Health England I am now able to open up to face to face appointments, with certain conditions in place. Please bear in mind that the following is an “evolving guide” outlining who I am able to see, and how I am working hard to keep us safe. I do think there is a serious risk of COVID-19 re-appearing, and hopefully you will be reassured by the steps I am taking, so that the benefits of continuing to have treatments far outweigh the risks.

My full risk assessment and procedures have been based on the British Acupuncture Council’s Guidance for Returning to Work.


How do I know if I qualify as an Urgent Care patient ? well consider if you:

  • Are in Clinical need  – in pain, have worsening symptoms, is there disruption in your daily life – work, sleep etc.  Maintenance patients will still benefit from coming regularly to prevent acute flare ups, leading to multiple visits
  •  Require urgent help  – a condition that is worsening, concerns over sinister / serious underlying causes
  • without my help may need to access NHS services – by seeing me this would potentially reduce the strain on the NHS

I am now offering video consultations so that I can teach you Acupressure points on your own body, or we can just talk about things that are happening and I can lead you through a guided meditation, whilst simultaneously offering distance healing. Just call me on 0798 398 2232 or alternatively email me at

Who am I not able to treat face-to-face?

I am not seeing anyone who is shielded / extremely clinically vulnerable or is self-isolating/presenting with symptoms consistent of COVID-19.  If you have co existing health problems, or are in a household with someone who is shielded, or in an extreme risk group please discuss this with us prior to booking.

See NHS sources for further guidance if you are unsure. 

How Meridian Acupuncture’s Treatment Protocols are evolving  during COVID-19

You will recognise that some of the Infection Control procedures below I have followed for years, and some are new.

Initially I’ll ask you to fill in a Pre-Treatment Form. The day before your appointment you will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire, which ensures it is safe for you to attend the clinic.  Unfortunately you will be not allowed entry to the clinic if this is not completed.  Temperature checks may be taken and recorded, though it is acknowledge some people are asymptomatic (so not the best measure).

Please wait in your car or at a safe social distance from other people. This is so that there is only one patient being seen at a time, enabling me to do a full 15minute wipedown of all surfaces. You are invited to wash your hands and/or use the alcohol hand gel provided.

I invite you to bring your own mask and I will be wearing a mask, wipedownable apron, face shield and gloves. If possible, please avoid bringing personal belongings such as handbags, into the clinic.  The only exceptions will be a few toys /iPad needed for children’s appointments. Where this is not possible I will provide a small box with removable plastic bag, so that you can place phones, keys, purses and then take the bag away with you at the end of your session. Please ensure any items brought into the Clinic have been cleaned appropriately before bringing them in.

Track and trace: If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within three days of having treatment please contact me immediately, so that I can advise the Local Authority and all other patients that I have come into contact with following your visit.

High standards of cleanliness will be maintained

  • Treatment rooms disinfected and aerated between every patient.  Commonly touched areas will be disinfected multiple times a day.      
  • No couch covers or pillowcase covers: This is so that the couch and pillow cases can be wiped down between patients
  • Staggered appointment times: We will be staggering appointment times so patients don’t cross over in the clinic, and a full 15 minute wipedown can be carried out
  • No fleecy blankets will be provided: so if required please bring a clean covering of your own
  • Handwashing: as you know I always wash my hands several times during a treatment
  • My own health: I will be monitoring my health daily, and my temperature will be taken and recorded prior to the working day. I track and trace procedures in place should I become unwell.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me and we will be happy to discuss it with you.  If you feel there is anything else I could be doing to help you feel more comfortable about treatment at this time, please feel free to let me know.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in these uncertain times.

Master Mantak Chia: How to Protect yourself from Coronavirus – video (14 mins)

#Coronavirus #CoronavirusOutbreak #COVID19 Master Mantak Chia about Protect yourself from Coronavirus “Good hygiene and practise social distancing at home” ⚛️ For ourself, keep our organs and heart is full of joy, our immune system becomes extremely powerful by use inner smile to reduce the confusion, fear and worry greatly reduced. ☯️ #stayingpositive ☯️ Creating a daily health routine to managing your stress.

Boost Your Immunity With This 2-Minute Acupressure Routine

“Acupuncture strengthens natural resistance to disease.”

I recently came across that sentence when I was leafing through some old notes from acupuncture school. It was underlined twice and highlighted. Although I don’t remember writing it or which of my teachers said it, the words clearly resonated with me at the time. Rereading them now, especially during peak flu season, they still do.

It’s a simple idea and yet profound. Forget endorphins. Forget improved blood circulation. Forget placebo. This is how acupuncture works — by strengthening our natural resistance to disease.

Whether we’re talking about the flu, and hence its immunity-boosting ability, or back pain, acupuncture makes us stronger so that we can naturally resist illness and pain. This is true whether it’s happening due to fired up neurotransmitters or a practitioner with exceptional bedside manner.

In the end, acupuncture works by making us better equipped to cope physically and emotionally.

The Acupuncture Flu Shot

For the above-stated reasons, acupuncture is primarily a preventive form of medicine — it makes us stronger so that we can avoid disease rather than dealing with it after it happens. The following four acupuncture points help strengthen immunity and will improve your chances of avoiding the flu this year. If you’ve already suffered through the flu, these four points will help prevent a recurrence.

In between regular acupuncture treatments — the best way to stay healthy throughout flu season — you can press these points yourself. You also can perform the routine on children or other loved ones who are in extra need of an immunity boost.

Kidney 27

Kidney 27 is an immune-boosting superstar and especially helpful for people who are prone to upper respiratory flu symptoms. In acupuncture, the Kidney system is said to grasp Lung Qi, meaning it helps distribute the air that enters the lungs throughout the rest of the body. When this interplay doesn’t happen correctly, shortness of breath and cough can occur as well as fatigue because your body is not being properly oxygenated. Kidney 27 is easily accessible, located about one inch from the midline on the lower border of the collar bone. Click here to see the exact location.

Large Intestine 11

Although better known as a fever-reducing point, Large Intestine 11 also is used preventively for colds, flus and other immune-compromising conditions. In fact, one well-known style of Japanese acupuncture (Kiiko Matsumoto’s) considers Large Intestine 11 to be the master immune point in the body. It’s actually a point that falls just slightly below and outside Large Intestine 11. The exact location is determined according to sensitivity in that area. The most sensitive spot is usually the most effective when pressed or needled. Find Large Intestine 11 at the lateral (thumb side) edge of the elbow crease. Click here to learn more about Large Intestine 11′s uses and location here.

Lung 7

Make a thumbs-up sign. When you do that, you’ll see a depression at the base of your thumb (referred to as the anatomical snuffbox). From that depression, Lung 7 is located approximately two finger widths up your arm. Click here to see the exact location. This acupuncture point is good for bolstering your body’s defensive energy, helping to keep your immune system strong. Symptomatically, Lung 7 is a frequently used point for cough, headache and stiff neck.

Stomach 36

Stomach 36 is one of the most effective acupuncture points for strengthening the immune system and recovering from fatigue. Acupuncturists often incorporate this point into treatments because it is such an energizing point. Stomach 36 is found about a hand length below the patella of the knee, just outside the prominent tibia bone. Sometimes pressing this point, if it’s done firmly enough, will produce a strong sensation that travels down the leg. Click here to learn more about Stomach 36′s uses and location here.

How to Do the Routine

Here are a few quick tips on performing acupressure on these points:

– Before performing acupressure on any of these points, get into a comfortable position from which you can easily access all four points (don’t worry — not at the same time!).

– Begin with Kidney 27 and work your way down the body. So, the order should be Kidney 27, Large Intestine 11, Lung 7, Stomach 36.

– For Kidney 27 and Stomach 36, since you have both hands free, press the point on both sides of the body at the same time.

– For Lung 7 and Large Intestine 11, try pressing the point on each side of the body to determine whether one side is more tender than the other. If so, focus your acupressure sessions on the tender side. If both are equally tender (or not at all), you can pick either, or take turns pressing the points on both sides.

– Spend 30 seconds on each point. Apply firm pressure while breathing steadily into your abdomen. You’ll probably find this routine very relaxing, so feel free to repeat it. Especially this time of year, you can’t overdo it.

– As a maintenance routine, shoot for doing the two-minute routine once in the morning and once before bed. If you start feeling fatigued, weak or like you might be coming down with something, up it to three times a day.

Coronavirus: Millions of Britons will need to contract COVID-19 for ‘herd immunity’

Sir Patrick Vallance tells Sky News about 60% of people will need to become infected in order for the UK to enjoy “herd immunity”

Millions of Britons will need to contract coronavirus in order to control the impact of the disease which is likely to return “year on year”, the government’s chief scientific adviser has told Sky News.

Around 60% of the UK population will need to become infected with coronavirus in order for society to have “herd immunity” from future outbreaks, Sir Patrick Vallance said.

Herd immunity is the resistance to a contagious disease within a population because enough people have become immune, and so it is harder for it to spread.

There is currently no vaccine available for coronavirus.

What is herd immunity? And how will it help prevent spread of COVID-19?

What is herd immunity? And how will it help prevent spread of COVID-19?

Key Points

Mass gatherings in the UK will be banned from next week under plans being drawn up by ministers

  • The London Marathon is among a number of sporting events cancelled
  • Anyone entering New Zealand will have to self-isolate for 14 days
  • US President Donald Trump has declared the outbreak a national emergency
  • More than 145,000 cases and almost 5,500 deaths have been declared worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University
  • Italy recorded 250 cases in a day, bringing its total to almost 18,000

So far, 11 people in the UK who have had COVID-19 – the disease which develops from coronavirus – have died.

The number of confirmed cases in the UK reached 590 on Thursday – up by 134 in 24 hours, although Sir Patrick believes the actual number of people infected in the UK at the moment could be between 5,000 and 10,000.

More from Covid-19

  • Coronavirus: New Zealand brings in ‘world’s toughest border restrictions’ to fight outbreak

  • Coronavirus: Sport, entertainment and political events cancelled or postponed

  • Coronavirus: Newborn believed to be youngest COVID-19 patient in the UK

  • Coronavirus: Mass gatherings to be banned under government plans to combat COVID-19 spread

  • Coronavirus: With the sporting world in turmoil, Klopp delivers a dose of perspective

  • Coronavirus: Trump says US may have to include UK in European travel ban

Sir Patrick described COVID-19 as a “nasty disease” but stressed most people would only experience a “mild” illness.

Patrick Vallance still
Image:Sir Patrick says most of population need to get coronavirus to achieve herd immunity

He described how a majority of the UK’s population of more than 65 million would need to be infected with coronavirus for the risk of widespread future outbreaks to recede.

“We think this virus is likely to be one that comes year on year, becomes like a seasonal virus,” he told Sky News.

“Communities will become immune to it and that’s going to be an important part of controlling this longer term.

“About 60% is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity.”

What are the four stages of government's plan?

What are the four stages of government’s plan?

Despite suggestions the death rate from coronavirus could be around 1% of those infected, Sir Patrick said estimating how many might die was “difficult” because there may be many more people that haven’t been detected yet.

“That’s why some of the new tests that are being developed now are going to be so important, so we can really understand how this disease is spreading and we don’t have a handle on that yet,” he added.

Sky’s Thomas Moore explains how countries around the world are preparing to contain COVID-19
How to contain a global pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic following the spread of coronavirus across many countries.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday confirmed the government is entering the second phase of its response to COVID-19 – moving from trying to contain the virus to delaying its spread.

Anyone with a new persistent cough or a high temperature will now have to self-isolate and stay at home for seven days, while schools have been urged to cancel planned trips abroad.

Sir Patrick is helping to oversee the government’s response to coronavirus and defended the UK’s strategy in dealing with the disease.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has called the coronavirus  pandemic 'the worst public health crisis in a generation'.
PM: Those with symptoms should isolate for seven days

Ministers are facing growing questions about why the UK isn’t acting in a similar way to other European countries, such as France and Italy, who have taken measures ranging from banning large gatherings to quarantining the entire population.

Sir Patrick said the UK is “a little bit behind” where the coronavirus outbreak is in other countries due to early action in tracing and isolating those who are infected.

“What we don’t want to do is to get into kneejerk reactions where you have to start doing measures at the wrong pace because something’s happened,” he added.

“So we’re trying to keep ahead of it, we’re trying to lay out the path so people can see what the actions are that are being advised.”

:: Listen to the Daily podcast with Dermot Murnaghan on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifySpreaker.

Sir Patrick also described Thursday’s action taken by Mr Johnson as “a very big measure”, adding: “It’s going to have quite a big impact across a number of people, a number of households, a number of people.

“I don’t think that’s a trivial measure at all.”

Banning mass gatherings and isolating entire households are the next steps being considered by the government, Sir Patrick revealed.

But, he argued, most of the transmission of coronavirus occurs in small gatherings rather than larger gatherings.

Rewiring the brain with acupuncture by Dr Mike Cummings (BMJ)

For some time, a group on the US east coast have been quietly scanning brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and related techniques to examine the effects of acupuncture. They hit the headlines in rather a dramatic manner in 2017.[1,2]

At the beginning of the fMRI story we saw some extraordinary claims concerning point specificity in acupuncture from a famous name in the development of fMRI, but these were later retracted.[3] I was relieved to see the retraction, as the claims did not seem mechanistically credible from a neurophysiological point of view. The authors retracted their paper because the results were not in line with the body of developing evidence that acupuncture with typical deep tissue sensation (I prefer this term, but it equates to de qi) seems to cause a general deactivation of limbic structures,[4,5] rather than very specific and targeted functional activations.

So why am I a year behind the headlines? Well I was asked to discuss the research for a television programme, so I read the paper thoroughly in preparation and discovered an interesting observation that had previously escaped my notice. Then there was a mix-up with storyboards and we discussed other research instead. So I thought I had better put all those hours of preparation to good use by describing my thoughts on this rather complex area of research.

The team concerned here first came to my attention when they demonstrated a change in cortical mapping of the second and third fingers (D2/D3) in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) treated with acupuncture.[6] This was a departure from the fMRI studies prior, which had tended to simply watch what happened in the brain after acupuncture or control procedures in healthy subjects. Whilst it was an interesting finding, the study was observational rather than a strict RCT, and I felt that the change in cortical mapping was likely to be downstream of the main effects of acupuncture rather than a direct effect, ie a consequence of the acupuncture mechanism rather than part of the mechanism. This is always the problem with observational data – is the observed association causal or consequential?

The team continued to study CTS, and the research published in 2017 was a three-armed study of 80 patients with CTS [2] – a relatively large study in fMRI terms, but small and underpowered in terms of standard clinical trials of acupuncture in pain. The 3 different interventions principally involved electroacupuncture (EA): local EA (PC7–TE5), distant contralateral EA (SP6–LR4) and ipsilateral regional sham EA (non-points on the flexor aspect of the mid forearm). Manual points were included in the same regions as the EA in each group.

The symptom scores in all groups declined over the course of treatment with no significant differences, although noticeably bigger change scores in the local and sham groups, where the focus of treatment was in the correct limb. Despite this, the median nerve conduction latency improved in both EA groups and deteriorated in the sham EA group. D2/D3 cortical separation distance improved marginally more (not significant) with local EA than distant EA, and not at all in the sham.

So despite there being no difference between groups in terms of symptoms, there was a clear difference in objective measures of nerve function and brain function. And there is more! The degree of improvement in D2/D3 cortical separation distance immediately after the 8-week 16-session treatment course predicted (correlated with) the symptom score at 3 months follow-up. That is very interesting, and somewhat counters my assumption that the cortical remapping is downstream (ie a consequence rather than a cause) of the effect of EA.

Another interesting aspect is the rate of deterioration in symptom score of the sham group after they were unmasked, and the continued improvement of the distal group after they learned that they had a genuine treatment. This makes me ponder over the influence of other brain centres – those related to cognition analysis and expectation – and how these can add unwanted noise in group means for subjective outcomes.

And there is still more! The bit I originally missed because it was just too much effort to read and understand. The team studied the microstructure of the white matter adjacent to the relevant areas of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). I didn’t even know this was possible, but it has been around for about 15 years. Fractional anisotropy is a measure of order in the structure of white matter based on diffusion of water. A perfect isotropic material would have an even pattern of diffusion in all directions, but uniform tracts of myelinated neurones will disturb this, and cause a degree of anisotropy. Got it? Anyway, the team discovered that the changes after real EA (local & distant) in fractional anisotropy near the S1 cortex related to the contralesional hand correlated with latency changes in the median nerve. This was not true of sham. Even more interesting is that this correlation between changes in fractional anisotropy and median nerve latency occurred in different areas of the ipsilesional SI cortex depending on whether the EA was local or distant.

This has to be considered speculative, since it was a bit of a fishing trip, but it is very exciting to speculate that in the future we may be able to develop ways of tracking the course of plastic changes in the central nervous system and design optimal treatment approaches as a result; moving us from ancient philosophy, through neuroscience from the last century (segmental neuromodulation) perhaps to real-time neural remodelling.


  1. Ditch the paracetamol and try ACUPUNCTURE. Daily Mail Online 2017. (accessed 24 Jan2018).
  2. Maeda Y, Kim H, Kettner N, et al. Rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex in carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture. Brain 2017;140:914–27. doi:10.1093/brain/awx015
  3. Cho ZH, Chung SC, Lee HJ, et al. Retraction. New findings of the correlation between acupoints and corresponding brain cortices using functional MRI. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006;103:10527. doi:10.1073/pnas.0602520103
  4. Wu MT, Hsieh JC, Xiong J, et al. Central nervous pathway for acupuncture stimulation: localization of processing with functional MR imaging of the brain–preliminary experience. Radiology 1999;212:133–41. (accessed 28 Aug2011).
  5. Hui KK, Liu J, Makris N, et al. Acupuncture modulates the limbic system and subcortical gray structures of the human brain: evidence from fMRI studies in normal subjects. Hum Brain Mapp 2000;9:13–25.
  6. Napadow V, Liu J, Li M, et al. Somatosensory cortical plasticity in carpal tunnel syndrome treated by acupuncture. Hum Brain Mapp 2007;28:159–71. doi:10.1002/hbm.20261

Battlefield Acupuncture

The ancient practice of acupuncture has gained traction in recent years, taking steps toward being legitimized among medical professionals. Now, the practice is being increasingly used among the Air Force’s health providers as a way to reduce pain in troops who have been wounded in battle.
Battlefield Acupuncture – Red Orbit, 30 January 2009

Course of acupuncture may raise success of IVF treatment by 65%
Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor – The Times, February 8, 2008

Since a fall last year I’d suffered an acute lower-back pain caused by a displaced and twisted coccyx …
Anna Chesters – The Guardian, Tuesday 24 June 2008

Acupuncture is as effective as drugs at combating the side effects of treatment for breast cancer, a conference was told.
Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor, 22 Sep 2008

Acupuncture in Australia and the way forward

A number of clinical trials of acupuncture on allergic rhinitis, pain and women’s health were carried out in Australia. Recent developments of acupuncture in Australia indicate that through adequate and appropriate evaluation, acupuncture begins to integrate into mainstream health care in Australia. Chinese Medical Journal – 29 Apr 2009

Acupuncture May Help Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

A pilot study shows that acupuncture may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine – Apr 2009