For such a long time Natural Medicine alternatives have been considered “hippy” or “left of centre” but as the world is beginning to change and work towards a more sustainable future, many are also looking towards living a more natural lifestyle, ditching the chemicals and utilising natural medicine and I want to be a part of that change.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is an ancient medicine that’s based upon thousands of years of passed down knowledge and discovery. This concept can sound a bit dated but with the beauty of modern medicine and research, we are now scientifically proving with statistical data that these ancient techniques and knowledge, actually work and illustrate the incredible effects Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can have on people’s nervous system and both our physical and mental health.
The way acupuncture works put simply is inserting fine sterile needles into various acupuncture points located around the body to trigger off a healing response throughout the body. When needling it will interact with the nervous system and excites biochemical responses in the body via the nerves. The Acupuncture itself won’t create hormones but it works higher up interacting with the brain, which then triggers off a chain reactions to create hormones, whether that’s creating anti inflammatory hormones, simply circulating blood flow, interacting with your HPO axis (connection between your brain and ovaries to create hormones for your cycle) or just calming your stress response by putting your body into a parasympathetic state (healing state) to reduce your fight or flight response. In a roundabout way we are trying to get your body to heal itself through its natural healing processes.
My name is Emily Fewtrell and I’m an Acupuncturist and owner of Embody Acupuncture. I've always grown up knowing I wanted a career in something that could serve and help people but never thought I’d fall into something like Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I grew up with a very open ideology to medicine thanks to my family, they appreciate western medicine but were also very open to alternative medicine. Unfortunately I was very sick as a young child so trialed every western medicine approach under the sun until then my parents began to take me to various other alternative therapies like Chiropractor, osteopath, homeopaths, Acupuncture etc. As a child I didn’t think much of it or have an opinion, until in my last few years of high school when my illness started to affect me again. I then began to gather my own thoughts and opinions and I decided to look more into the alternative medicine pathway and saw an Acupuncturist which again helped me immensely. This triggered off my fascination with this incredible medicine but most of all made me question why more people weren’t utilising this medicine. This Acupuncturist made all my pain go away when all western medicine could do was pump me full of pain killers. This is what began my journey to be an Acupuncturist.
From there I decided to go and study acupuncture, this is a four year Bachelor of Health Science degree majoring in Acupuncture which covered western medicine as well and delving deep into Chinese medicine. We also complete over a thousand clinical hours to gain our registration to be able to practice throughout the degree. The more I studied and began treating in the student clinic the more my love grew and again my fascination of why more people weren’t open to this. So when I finished University and started my business I decided this was something I wanted to do - market myself to be approachable and accessible to the younger demographic and to educate people on how incredible this medicine is. My demographic in my clinic is now between 18-35 years old, which is incredible as younger people are now beginning to utilise this medicine and it’s becoming more normal already!
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine take a very holistic approach to treating, always looking to treat the root cause of the problem. If the root cause is not addressed you can fix symptoms but those symptoms will keep reoccurring if it’s driven from a deeper root cause. To do this we like to investigate all factors of your life, not just the one symptom, including your lifestyle, diet, sleep, stress, pain, trauma, immune system, past medical history, any medical reports such as blood, scans etc. A lot of the time by addressing many of these factors holistically you can create greater change throughout the whole body.
One of my main focuses and passion is treating mental health. The negative stigma around mental health and seeking help is something that I advocate to change with my patients as so many people are struggling alone when they don’t have to. Acupuncture can work on the physical effects of mental health. For many the physical symptoms of mental health issues are a huge part of the suffering, the heightened nervous system, anxiety attacks, bad sleep patterns, altered appetite or digestive issues, the list goes on. I always strongly recommend my patients seeking help from a psychologist so they can handle the talk therapy and then acupuncture can help manage the physical effects. Again education is a big component in creating a holistic approach to mental health for my patients. This incredible medicine can do wonders to calm the nervous system and help regulate your “fight or flight” response but the education on lifestyle factors has a huge effect on improving their symptoms as well. Every patient will leave informed about lifestyle changes they can try and utilise between treatments, like including adequate sunshine, various practices to calm their nervous system like breathe work or mediation, healthy diet to nourish their body, good sleep hygiene to ensure good quality sleep etc.
Don’t get my wrong, I love and preach alternative medicine, but this doesn’t take away from the need for western medicine too, medication can be vital for some, surgeries save lives, their trauma response is second to none. My hope is that these two types of medicine can harmoniously work hand in hand and complement each other. Opening up a space where Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help provide holistic treatments and preventative medicine and bridge the gaps in treatment that western medicine approach can sometimes miss, leaving our patients with the best possible treatment outcomes.
I have no doubt this change will come, it’s already happening. The more we open up the conversation around it, the more seeking help from these alternative medicines like acupuncture can be normalised, allowing more people to start accessing them. If you’ve ever considered trying Acupuncture or feel you could benefit from it, give it a try, it’s not all “hippy” and “left of centre”, it’s an hour of zen and relaxation that you’ll walk out feeling amazing.
You can keep up with Emily and get lots of helpful tips on Instagram - @embodyacu