An Interview with Rochelle
Rochelle Hammond is the most recent addition to our team of acupuncturists at WSW. With a current passion for Japanese Acupuncture and a background as a school science teacher, we wanted to know how she got to be where she is and what makes her tick.
Here’s what she had to say…
All acupuncturists have a story about what brought them to their practice. What bought you to the study and practice Traditional Eastern Medicine?
My passion started almost 20 years ago when I was struggling with my health. Over a period of about 3 years, my ‘on and off’ health problems became more regular and persistent as my health declined. I started missing work, which at the time was as a school science teacher, I was in pain and felt unwell and not myself.
I saw a number of doctors and specialists during this time but no-one had a long term solution and I was left wondering what was going on.
I was talking with a friend about it and she suggested giving acupuncture a try. “It might help, why not give it go” she said, So I did and that’s when my journey with eastern medicine began.
She introduced me to her acupuncturist and then after about six months of regular acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs, my health was back to “normal”. I really felt more balanced and my vitality returned. I couldn’t quite believe something thought to be alternative was able to help me where mainstream medicine had no answers. My love of Eastern medicine was born and from that time I’ve never looked back.
So how did you go from being treated to doing the treating?
I wanted to know more about this amazing craft. What do Eastern medicine practitioners feel, see and do? How does it work? How is related to Western medicine? What are its traditions and philosophies?
What started out as a necessity of healing, became a passionate interest and a pathway to learning that led me to my work as a practitioner.
Given the successful experience you had with your own health, do you now expect acupuncture to work for everyone?
Everyone is different and people respond differently, but clinical trials have consistently established the effectiveness of acupuncture and Traditional Eastern Medicine and that is what I tell my patients. Studies have even found 80% of doctors now refer their patients to consult a registered acupuncturist which tells us at last the practice is gaining the recognition it deserves.
In my personal clinical experience, I find most treatments are effective in alleviating the symptoms the patient is suffering from, especially when combined with simple lifestyle changes. Even complex and long standing health problems can be resolved.
How do you handle it when a patient says “I’ve tried acupuncture before, it doesn’t work.”
I tell them not all acupuncture is the same and not all acupuncturists are the same. Personally, I’m drawn to acupuncture techniques in the Japanese styles. The Japanese styles broadly involve the use of touch and palpation for diagnosis and feedback and soft and gentle needling techniques coupled with moxibustion for treatment. I find that with this ‘hands on’ approach to treatment, patients will often relax as the needles and moxa do their work, even on people who may have thought acupuncture wouldn’t work for them based on past experiences.
What areas of health and wellness are you most interested in?
My practice has gravitated to figuring out complex chronic health complaints and working with clients to develop a treatment plan that addresses their major health concerns rather than focussing on providing short term relief from symptoms.
I would say I am like a general practitioner with acupuncture and as time goes on I see more and varied health complaints in clinic including; women’s health, hormonal imbalances, IVF and fertility support, chronic neck and shoulder pain, headache, anxiety, insomnia, stress related conditions including digestive complaints and autoimmune disease. I also support patients undergoing conventional cancer treatments to manage and reduce the impact of common side effects.
Is there anything you won’t treat?
Not really. As long as there is a person who wants to work out what’s happening in their body to improve their quality of life, I want to help them do it. In my experience everyone benefits from acupuncture and sometimes in ways they least expected, like coming for digestive problems and leaving with improved sleep and more colour and vitality in their face.
What would you say to someone scared of trying acupuncture for the first time?
Some first time patients are a little anxious about the use of needles based on their experience of needles used to take blood or inject medicine. However the needles used in acupuncture are much finer and most patients comment that they do not feel any pain or discomfort when the needles are used.
So my advice is give it a go! Acupuncture offers drug free support for your health by activating your body’s powerful self-healing ability through a time-honoured process. It’s worth it!
What are your interests outside of the clinic?
No. 1: cooking!!
What I now have come to know is that Traditional Eastern Medicine is a holistic approach to healing that promotes balance and harmony. This knowledge has seeped into my love of food and cooking, helped me to see the value of reflection, mindfulness and deep relaxation and over time has became my way of seeing the world. I love to share these insights with my patients.
Many thanks to Rochelle for sharing her story and insights into acupuncture. We are extremely fortunate to have her as part of our team and will be posting more from her to come, including some of her fav recipes. Keep an eye on the facebook page and the blog.
Interviewed by Siegrid Delaney 12/5/17