Self-Care Journey: Acupuncture at Anahata Health Clinic

In the spirit of ‘trying new things’ and locally I should add, I was invited by the lovely peeps at Anahata Health Clinic for a mini Sunday of wellness and chose to try acupuncture with Leigh Martin. I went with an open mind and inquisitive soul but wasn’t prepared for the positive transformational effects of the session at all.

If you’ve been following the blog or my Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been on a bit of a journey to look after myself this year, trying new things to understand my compulsive and emotional eating cycle. This self-care journey isn’t all spa visits and weekends away with girlfriends which is all very nice but rather superficial to attack my deeply ingrained eating habits.

In January I tried veganism and 31 days alcohol-free. I started group psychotherapy, practising mindfulness and discovering my inner child. I learned about facial massage with SkiNirvana, how the face holds stress and techniques to relieve it.

ACS_0019I mainly chose acupuncture out of curiosity. A friend had received treatment when trying to get pregnant and that’s the only first-hand account I had really heard. Of course, we’ll not really know what part it played in her eventual conception but she did say it was relaxing.

I’ve seen alternative Chinese medicine advertised for weight loss but the acupuncture I chose wasn’t specifically for that. Yes, I would still like to get my body/ weight ratio under control but ultimately I’m steering clear of anything advertising ‘weight loss’. Because I’ve been down that road and handing over the power to a club or product to lose weight doesn’t solve my compulsive eating issues.

And, by the way, I have only admitted for the first time this year I am a compulsive, emotional overeater – it is an eating disorder. I stopped trying to benchmark my habits against what society (and powerful food companies) deems acceptable and focus on what I want for myself, my body and well-being.

What I was looking for from this first acupuncture session was to see if it could treat some of the symptoms which drive my compulsive eating; the key one being stress.

After being offered a lovely turmeric tea, I headed to the treatment room for a consultation. Leigh was incredibly understanding. She made me feel comfortable enough to shared my journey, what realisations have come from psychotherapy and my concerns about the road ahead. Her reassurances and calm accepting manner were important to me because I’ve been more honest with myself this year than any other point in my life.

One of the first things Leigh established was how I feel about the needles. This is usually the first concern of clients she tells me. They didn’t bother me at all, I pierced my own ears! She opted for only three fine needles, one in my right foot, the other in my lower leg (shin area) and the underside of my left forearm – a few inches above the wrist. Leigh had me take a deep breath in and she eased the needle in on my out breath. I naturally felt a teeny scratch, then nothing.

ACS_0020Once the needles were in, she then burned moxa (which contains dried mugwort) on the end of the needle in the lower leg. This slowly created a gentle warm sensation down the needle into my leg and through to my foot. At this point I was floating away, taking in the herbal scent of the moxa, closing my eyes and noticing my breath.

When the session finished, Leigh carefully removes the needles and encourages me to sit up very slowly. I found out immediately why, as I nearly fell over. My body felt like its weight had been lifted from it three times over. I drank some water, popped on my shoes and walked cautiously back to the Anahata team to share my experience.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the pain-relief – my body was purely pain-free for the first time in ages. I put up with back pain and shoulder tension daily, to the point you don’t notice it. Until the pain disappears. Walking back uphill, up Egremont Place through Queens Park by body felt energised and nimble. And later that evening I slept solidly. It was my usual 7/8 hours just superb quality. I felt I’d really sunk into my REM cycle.

ACS_0021The best thing about Anahata is the low-cost scheme they have for specific treatments on set days and times. Which means treatments like acupuncture are accessible to those with varied disposable incomes. Multi-bed acupuncture treatments start at £25, Leigh’s services start at £35 for an hour session.

I would most certainly recommend this to my readers especially for pain relief, sleep issues, stress or anxiety. For more specific health issues, it’s best to chat to the clinic or Leigh first to discuss a treatment plan.

Here’s me chatting with Leigh after the treatment on Anahata’s YouTube Channel.

Disclaimer: I received the treatment free of charge in exchange for this honest review. Any queries I have with reviewing products and services are settled with the company before writing, so I fully understand the experience. 

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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