The start of a journey of discovery.
My story is one that many of my patients will recognise. It started with some pain and many visits to my GP. I was given many different diagnoses until my consultant established that I had endometriosis and a big fibroid. It was a relief. Finally, I knew what was wrong! Finally, I could be treated, and the pain would go away!
Except … it didn’t. I started my hormonal treatment and got many side effects from it. I made me deeply depressed and even sent me to A&E. I tried different types of medications which either made things worse or had severe side effects. In the end, my consultant looked at me and said there was nothing else she could offer me. It was a real shock. I was so sure that my GP and my consultant had all the keys to bring my health back. But the pain was still very much there. And they didn’t have an answer for me.
I was back to square one trying to figure out what I could do to help with the pain. This started my healing journey and the discovery of Acupuncture and Nutrition. A journey punctuated by life’s ups and down, trying to juggle home, two young children and work and a deep burnout.
I learnt a few things along the way.
Food can be used as, or instead of, medicine.
I know. I am sure you’ve all heard Hippocrates saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Still, I had never realised how powerful it was until I actually tried it myself! The one and only thing I did right at the start of my journey was to start eating more oily fish. This, on its own, was enough to bring my pain under control. It made me realise how much difference eating the right type of food can make.
Looking at the whole body is essential.
Sometimes, it can feel like there are so many things wrong all at the same time that it would be impossible to tackle them all. We are used to seeing a specialist for each individual complaint. We then tend to forget that we are a whole body with all its parts connected to each other. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine gave me a map to relate all those seemingly unrelated complains. For example, it taught me how stress can influence the digestive system and the relationship between emotions and balanced hormones.
When it comes to health, there isn’t a one size fits all.
When it comes to symptoms, we all experienced different things, so it makes sense that we need a different type of support too. I thought that if I was eating according to the ‘Eat Well Plate’, I would have ticked all the boxes of a proper diet and good health. But I get achy and tired when I eat dairy or gluten, so this was clearly not for me.
In my practice, this is something that I come across often. There are so many possible causes for any symptom that you can never use a catch it all formula that will work for everyone.
Healing work doesn’t stop once you are back home.
This only hit home when I was so burnt-out that most things were a struggle. As I was getting regular acupuncture treatments or started to modify my diet, one thing became clear: I could have all the healing sessions in the world, I also needed to do some work at home too. So, I learnt how to get a better work-life balance and to have some time out. I learnt how to nourish myself, not just how to nourish my body with the right foods but also how to nourish myself spiritually by having the right (for me) relaxation techniques, reading books and making time for sustaining activities. I learnt what sort of exercise worked the best for me (I found yoga is the right mix of movement and stretching alongside the meditative effect of concentrating on your breathing).
Self-care is often branded around as the solution to all ills. But having a roadmap, someone to guide you towards what is the right type of self-care for you is essential. That’s why it is always part of the work I do with my patients. It is about building a toolbox that will help you feel well now and in the future.
More about Sabine
I trained initially as a chemical engineer and have kept from those times a real interest for complex issues and all science things.
I graduated from the Northern College of Acupuncture in York with a postgraduate diploma in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in 2010. Since then, I have been a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). in 2020, I finished my post graduate diploma in Nutrition with London South Bank University.
I am always learning new ways to better support my patients, be it a new technique, deepening my knowledge of Chinese Medicine and nutrition or through supervision.