The power of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Reigate

Ellie Farnfield at Chimes Body & Mind

Ellie Farnfield at Chimes Body & Mind - Credit: Archant

Rebecca Younger learns more about the power of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at the recently-opened Chime in Reigate

For most people who give up their day job and start a new business, there's a catalyst - a moment of realisation that your current lifestyle just isn't working. For Ellie Farnfield, that moment came at the age of 27 when she collapsed while giving an important work presentation. "One minute I was on the stage, the next I woke up in hospital," says Ellie, who unbeknown to her at the time, had suffered an epileptic seizure.

Ellie continued to have more convulsions over the next few days and weeks and, following many tests and examinations, was put on medication to try and help control the seizures. But it didn't seem to work. "It was when I had a huge seizure and was bed-ridden for two weeks that I decided, I had to find something else to help," she says.

Alongside medication, Ellie had been doing yoga and practicing mindfulness to try and help calm her body and it was at a class that she met an acupuncture practitioner, who made bold claims about its benefits. "I was sceptical at first but after the sixth treatment, my seizures stopped and I've not had one since," Ellie explains. "That was over two years ago." She was so amazed at the effect acupuncture had that she decided to study the practice so she could try and help others. Ellie qualified from The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine earlier this year and in April opened her own practice, Chime, in Reigate.

While my health issues are nowhere near as severe as Ellie's were, I am plagued by glute and knee pain on my right side. Physio and yoga have helped but it remains a daily nuisance - most probably due to hours spent behind a desk - so I was keen to see if accupuncture could help.

"It's not as simple as just sticking a few needles in," explains Ellie, who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and follows the Five Element system of thought. The latter outlines the relationship between elements in nature and the life force, or "qi," that flows through them. "There's a little bit of all five elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water - within us but we all have a dominant element, which we are born with. This helps explain how and why we may develop certain issues and ailments and determines our greatest strengths, physically and emotionally," Ellie adds.

During an initial consultation, Ellie goes through a questionnaire, covering everything from medical background and diet through to one's toilet habits to help determine how seemingly unrelated signs and symptoms are connected, and where the root cause of the issues stem from. She then looked at my tongue, observing its colour, shape, size, and coating, to help diagnose any imbalances and tailor a treatment schedule for follow up visits accordingly. In the meantime, she gave me an acupuncture 'reset' to help my 'qi' flow better.

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Ellie diagnosed me as predominantly Wood and identified imbalances in my liver, kidney and digestive system. She applied acupuncture needles to my ankles, where I instantly felt pressure, a bit like a surge of energy, particularly in my left ankle. This, Ellie explained, was the flow of energy freeing up more on one side. While the needles worked their magic, Ellie treated my knee with moxibustion, which involves burning mugwort near to the skin to regulate blood circulation and expel cold from the area. She also gave me a number of diet tips to help energy flow more freely around my body, such as eating warm foods when possible as they're easier to digest.

It seems a lot to take on board and acupuncture is by no means a quick fix but in the days following my treatment, I felt generally more balanced and in control. Plus there was less pain after exercise. While it's difficult to say if it might help my pain in the long run, it's had a postive effect on my mental attitude and that can only be a good thing.

Ellie Farnfield (pictured) offers acupuncture priced at £50 per treatment at Chime, 1A Church Street, Reigate RH2 0AA; 07553 497282;


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