Hampstead acupuncture centre challenges myths of Chinese medicine

The ancient art of suctioning glass bowls onto the skin to alleviate pain is among novel holistic health treatments at a new acupuncture centre aiming to shatter myths about Chinese medicine.

Certified acupuncturists Alex Jacobs, Odette Aguirre, and Thanh Thy Ton have opened Hampstead Heath Acupuncture in South Hill Park, Hampstead, to bring their knowledge of Chinese medicine to north London.

Co-founder Mr Jacobs, 33, said:"I think that one of our inspirations is to break-up some of the misconceptions about Chinese medicine.

"There is hard science behind it, but there is also great reason to have respect for the tradition it comes from, and those two things can easily coexist."

A traditional Chinese medicine open day was held to launch the centre in September, which showed off its full range of therapies and activities.

One striking treatment on offer is cupping, the practice of suctioning glass bowls onto the skin to encourage blood flow and alleviate pain.

Another lesser known therapy is guasha, scraping of the skin with a spoon or a coin to improve circulation, as well as ear acupuncture and self-acupressure massages to learn how to ease basic aches and pains.

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Chinese exercises are also taught at Qi Gong classes to improve physical health and circulate qi - a Chinese word meaning life-force or energy flow - around the body.

"We feel that Chinese culture and medicine has a lot to offer," said Mr Jacobs. "There is a lot that people can do for themselves and get from Chinese medicine without having an actual treatment."

The acupuncturists already have a regular clientele and are also receiving passing trade.

"We all have a strong connection to Chinese culture, which is where I found the inspiration," said the centre co-founder."It gives people a taste of not just Chinese medicine, but also the culture it comes from."

Hampstead Heath Acupuncture www.hampsteadheathacupuncture.com 020 7205 2888