Call it woo woo. Call it nonsense. Call it airy fairy. Call it whatever you like but acupuncture is an ancient medicine and it’s not going anywhere. By all means dismiss it if you choose, but it’s a medical marvel focussed on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. Fertility, backache, fatigue, anxiety, wrinkles… it’s not just about sticking the needle in. Here are 13 of the very best…
1. THE CLASSIC TROUBLESHOOTER: SINSOOK PARK
Sinsook is as focussed as a ninja-assassin. She has 18 years’ experience – her degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine was followed by a postgrad diploma in Chinese Medicine and Clinical Studies in South Korea and China. As well as practising in leafy White Hart Lane near Barnes, London, Sinsook has also worked in a GP team and taught Chinese Herbal Pharmacology. Be warned. She doesn’t sugarcoat it. If you’re running yourself into the ground she won’t hold back. Not a telling off as such, just enough pearls of wisdom and That Look to let you know you’re being a muppet. Weight management and pregnancy-related issues are favourites, Classic FM is on and warm heaters, cold flannels and scalp massage often come into play during her treatment. It’s all incredibly reassuring.
First consultation £60 (45 minutes) ; follow up sessions £60 (40 minutes) / www.whitehartclinic.co.uk/team/sinsook-park
2. THE NEEDLE PHOBIC’S FRIEND: LUI YEUNG
Practicing in Southbank and Clapham, Chinese-born Lui fuses acupuncture, tui na massage (sort of a pinchy pully massage action that feels way better than it sounds), nutritional therapy and that crucial this-is-all-kind-of-pointless-if you-don’t-change-things-up lifestyle advice.
Lui’s special interests lie in fertility. But she’s also a whizz with stress, anxiety and alleviating pain. ‘Fluent’ in acupuncture, you’ll hear lots of things like ‘You have too much heat today’, ‘Too much damp there’ as well as dietary solutions to get you back in balance. Her intuition merges with academic rigour, as she keeps up with all the latest thinking and evidence-based research. And she’s funny, a big bonus when you are discussing things like bowel movements. Even the needle-phobic benefit from her caring approach as she treats them slowly and gently.
First consultation from £65 (60-75 minutes including treatment); follow-up appointments from £55; facial acupuncture £90 / www.luiacupuncture.com
3. THE FASHION WORLD’S FAVE: ROSS BARR
After acupuncture was effective in helping him to deal with his father’s death a decade ago, Ross decided to re-train and is now one of the most feted acupuncturists around with clinics in Notting Hill and Wimpole Street. He specialises in Five Element Acupuncture – the ancient Chinese theory that mind, body and spirit are made up of the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) and that these creative and controlling energies should be in perfect balance to achieve ultimate wellbeing. This makes every treatment tailor-made and holistic; indeed, his acupuncture always addresses the root of the problem. As well as specialising in IVF, grief and heartbreak, Ross offers anti-ageing acupressure facials (a collagen-boosting alternative to botox). See why we love him? Also, he’s absurdly handsome.
Warming Anti-wrinkle Acupressure Facial £100 per session / rossbarr.com
4. THE MODEL TURNED ACUPUNCTURIST FIRECRACKER: OLIVIA INGE
Ravishing redhead with a heart of gold, ex-international top model Liv would book an acupuncture or massage session after long-haul flights to ease the physical toll of travelling across time zones. Her passion for traditional and ancient forms of medicine later led her to train as a stonking massage therapist and a gentle but powerful, acupuncturist. She would love to stick needles in the current Cabinet. “To keep them in the right frame of mind so they can make the right choices and not do things on a whim,” she says. She practices at the Charterhouse Clinic, W1, and at the Natural Health clinic in Brackenbury, W6.
A free 30-minute consultation is followed by sessions at £70 each (book six and pay only £400, saving £20) / livinge.co.uk
5. THE AGE DEFY-ER: JOHN TSAGARIS
Having studied in his Greek homeland and the UK, world-renowned acupuncturist John Tsagaris specialised in dermatology and anti-ageing applications at Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. Sure, he also treats the usual – hormonal problems, infertility and digestive concerns etc. – but Tsagaris was one of the originals weaving the cosmetic side of his craft and he does so with a firm touch. He holds a postgraduate diploma in skin disorders and beauty. He reckons beauty acupuncture (yes that means loads and loads of needles in the face) triggers healing and facial rejuvenation to encourage production of collagen and elastin, enhancing hydration levels as well as reducing the appearance of lines and improving firmness. During the treatment you will look and feel like Pinhead from Hellraiser but God, that peachy glow and line-free face after is worth it.
6. THE BABY MAKER: EMMA CANNON
Fertility and women’s health expert, acupuncturist Emma Cannon is an Earth mother. You’ll just want to sit and spill your heart out to her for hours over copious cups of tea (her own herbal ones, obvs). In 25 years as an acupuncturist and fertility specialist, she has helped countless patients achieve their dream of having a baby. In addition, she’s written four books, including the best-selling The Baby Making Bible and Fertile, done a Ted Talk, the works. As well as offering treatment for fertility issues, she treats women who are pregnant and helps them after the birth. Emma holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is a member of the British Acupuncture Council and The College of Medicine. A loving touch coupled with a sharp brain and strong opinion– her results say it all.
£195 (1 hour); ongoing treatment £80 per 30 minutes / emmacannon.co.uk
7. THE UPSTART: JAMES MUTKIN
James may be the new kid on the block but he has that infectious youthful passion that kind of turbo-charges the treatment. James sees Chinese medicine as a holistic healthcare model which focuses on all aspects of the body. He also specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology, skin disorders, injuries and pain management, and has helped set up and run maternity and fertility support clinics within the NHS, as well as being involved in a number of both private and NHS pain clinics. Book in with him at the labyrinth of luxury that is E’SPA Life Spa at The Corinthia, where he also does cupping, using his grandma’s sacred cups, no less. You see, this sort of talent is not always just learnt, it’s passed on through the genes and generations: the ultimate health-giving legacy.
Consultation and first treatment £150 (60 minutes); further sessions £150 (1 hour) / espalifeatcorinthia.com/wellness/our-team
8. THE BACK EXPERT: GARRY TRAINER
Specialising in bringing relief from pain and restoring mobility, New Zealand-born Garry is one of the most sought-after back doctors in the country at his clinics in London’s Harley Street and celeb-saturated Primrose Hill, where clients include Emma Thompson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sir Paul McCartney. His background as an osteopath means that he treats clients with a combination of both practices: manual manipulation of vertebrae, with plenty of cracks, followed by precision placing of his needles, as well as massage where needed. The result is that many of his patients hop off the couch no longer needing conventional painkillers.
First consultation £150 (60 minutes) ; follow-up appointments £110 (45 minutes) / garrytrainer.com
9. THE BLOAT BEATER: KATE WINSTANLEY
Kate has spent 15 years treating infertility, women’s health problems, headaches, insomnia, chronic fatigue, stress and anxiety. But it’s for gut problems that many of her clients seek her out at her beautiful clinic in Parson’s Green, London. She’s so calming too – her favourite acu point is ‘yintang’ – on the forehead between the eyes. This apparently taps into the body’s third eye chakra to calm the central nervous system, “Ideal for patients who are running on adrenaline.” She sees many people with bloated gut and IBS, often the result of a sluggish system. These conditions respond well to acupuncture, but there is a mind-body connection too, with stress playing a major part (which acupuncture is also effective for). Kate takes a holistic approach, peppering you with sound advice on lifestyle and wellbeing, offering nutrition and mindfulness practice that works in harmony with her needle magic. She may be on maternity leave until January 2018 but she’s worth holding out for.
Initial consultation £125 (1 hour); follow up appointments £95 / www.katewinstanley.com
10. THE SPIRITUAL HEALER TYPE: AMANDA ROTHWELL
Former nurse Amanda has that good witch vibe. She gets right in there addressing the emotional and spiritual causes of illness and other issues as well as the physical – appropriate for a clinic based in the highly spiritual ether of Glastonbury. Much of her work for the past six years has centred around being a Lead Acupuncture practitioner on the Arrigo programme of personal retreats, known for their focus on TLC and cosseting, promising deep, transformational and lasting change, from the inside out. Amanda practices Five-Element acupuncture, traditional acupuncture integrated with Traditional Chinese Medicine. As well as promoting health and wellbeing, her approach examines the emotional roots of illness as well as lifestyle and familial traits. Following traditional pulse and tongue diagnosis, Amanda uses her techniques to free and redirect vital energy for better quality and balance, specialising in women’s issues: fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. A bit of a goddess.
She offers a free 20-minute consultation / chaliceleazeclinic.co.uk or 07779 101095
11. THE HOT SHOT: YUKI NISHIKUBO
Not content to simply wield those needles, Yuki is at the forefront of ongoing industry research, making her adept at analysing her clients’ needs and successfully treating them. Having previously treated the world’s A-listers at exclusive private island Parrot Cay in the Caribbean, she is now based at COMO Metropolitan London in Mayfair, where she brings two decades of experience of Japanese acupuncture and integrative medicine to the hot-shot, Asian-inspired COMO Shambhala team. A licensed acupuncturist and moxibustionist (heat therapy to warm and invigorate the flow of qi, or energy, which works extremely well in tandem with acupuncture), her compassionate and precise manner are reassuringly addictive.
£110 (1 hour) / comohotels.com
12. THE BEAUTY BOOSTER: HANNAH COOKSEY
Hannah’s ethos of cosmetic facial acupuncture has been described as ‘the all-natural facial treatment beating the Botox trend’. This ultimate, non-surgical face lift via a course of acupuncture treatment can be found at Grace Belgravia. It involves needles firmly but gently placed on specific body points to create internal harmony, combined with needles on the face to lift the facial muscles and stimulate collagen production to minimise lines. Boom! She can also target acne, eczema, scarring and uneven pigmentation as well as visibly reducing eye bags and dark circles.
Quick-fix/top up session from £135 (60 minutes); course of 10 treatments £1350 / www.gracebelgravia.com/medical/acupuncture
13. THE NATURAL MOT MAN: STEVE KIPPAX
Head of Complementary Medicine at Third Space Medicine in London and also working in Suffolk, Steve draws on his ‘alternative’ parental background, with a homeopath mother and Baptist father. Western herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture are his bag, focussing on musculo-skeletal pain, infertility, gynae conditions, anxiety and stress, skin problems and cardiovascular issues. The joy of his approach – combining acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet therapy, qi gong and massage – is that these therapies can offer a solution where conventional Western medicine may not. A holistic join the dots protocol and sage advice on tap.
Initial consultation from £65 (1 hour) then subsequent sessions from £55 (30-45-minutes) / stevekippax.com
By Suzanne Duckett, Founder of thisistheantidote.com