The Blog

Fears UK could follow the US into opioid crisis


Overuse of powerful prescription medication could lead to an addiction crisis in the UK similar to that being seen in the US, mental health professionals are warning. The opioid crisis in the US is well known and the subject of much debate and media coverage; overdoses involving opioids contributed to over two thirds (67.8%) of overdose deaths in the US in 2017 alone, with 47,600 deaths in total. Britain has the world's third fastest-growing rates of opioid use and there are fears a similar crisis could soon be seen here.

Public Health England (PHE) looked at the use of five classes of drugs – opioids, benzodiazepines for anxiety, sleeping pills, antidepressants and gabapentinoids for neuropathic pain – which all carry a risk of dependency.

They published their review showing that 141 million prescriptions were handed out for strong painkillers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills last year. Doctors issued nearly 71 million prescriptions for antidepressants - a 97% increase compared to 2008. Opiates were up to 40.5 million - 22% more when compared to a decade earlier. And more than 500,000 sleeping tablets were also prescribed - a 10% increase.

The report takes great pains to emphasise that the drugs are clinically valuable when used appropriately, but suggests that while most prescriptions are for short-term use, sufficient care isn’t being taken to ensure patients don’t end up taking them for protracted periods that increase the risk of addiction and withdrawal problems, all placing a substantial burden on the NHS. One patient, was reportedly left on the drug for 15 years. Drugs manufacturers are also blamed for using aggressive marketing tactics to get the NHS to boost prescription of these pills. 

PHE’s recommendations for handling the emerging problem include providing NHS commissioners and doctors better insight into prescribing data, updating the clinical guidance on the five drug classes, provide more training for prescribers, and produce new guidance on managing dependence and withdrawal. 

World Acupuncture Day 15th November 2018


Celebrating World Acupuncture Day 15th November.

Did you know that your GP can refer you to me... with confidence.
I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).
The British Acupuncture Council is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), and that makes me approved by the General Medical Council for referral of patients.
Ask your GP today about being referred for acupuncture.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support what people around the world have known for centuries – that acupuncture can help with a wide number of health related conditions.

Call me to discover how acupuncture with a member of the British Acupuncture Council could help you.

Heel Pain

Acupuncture at the Amber Zone, Maidenhead can help treat heel pain.
Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst.heels pain.jpeg

Read the evidence

Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Wonderful video showing this couple's journey, detailing the growth of their baby from the size of a tiny seed to a watermelon!
Did you know that acupuncture can help you on this adventure?
For over 3000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has promoted specialised treatment for women in pregnancy care and postpartum recovery.
Why not find out more to see if it can help you?
Give us a call on 01628 773988 here at The Amber Zone in Maidenhead.

Watch the video

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Rebecca Adlington and Traditional Acupuncture

Many professional athletes use traditional acupuncture to help maintain optimal performance and aid recovery from injury. Four time Olympic medallist, six time World Championship medal winner Rebecca Adlington certainly knows how it can help.
Why not find out more to see if it can help you?
Give us a call on 01628 773988 here at The Amber Zone in Maidenhead.

Traditional Acupuncture versus Dry Needling?

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Great item on the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast show recently, which proved very interesting. Chris Evans - who has regular sessions of Traditional Acupuncture himself - was chatting to Dr. Carolyn Ruben as she treated Chris's 'sidekick' Vassos to an acupuncture session. They discussed the difference between Medical Acupuncture which is administered by Doctors, nurses, chiropractors, or physiotherapists, etc, that may have studied on a short course; and Traditional Acupuncture that is administered by professional, licensed Acupuncturists who have studied almost 4 years of Chinese Medicine to degree level. 

There is a very important distinction to make here, especially for people who do not know that much about acupuncture. The acupuncture that you might receive from a Doctor, nurse, chiropractor or physiotherapist, etc, is only a very small part of Acupuncture which has been adopted by the West, and is more commonly known as dry needling.


Dry needling basically means that a needle is inserted into a point of pain/discomfort known as a Trigger Point. A trigger point is often a taut band/knot of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and may often cause referred pain to other areas of the body. This type of treatment does not treat the person as an 'individual' or 'whole' and just targets the specific symptoms, ie a tight, sore and painful muscle, and only offers a short term relief. The intention behind dry needling treatment is to stimulate the muscle and release the tension. From a Chinese Medical perspective this is called an 'Ashi' point, but this is however, only a very small part of Acupuncture as a whole.


A British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) member who has studied Chinese Medicine for almost 4 years to degree level - meeting standards laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - will be treating the individual in a much more comprehensive way.

Traditional Acupuncturists take a holistic approach to diagnosing, preventing and treating
diseases by identifying the underlying 'pattern' or root cause of the illness and treating that, not just the signs and symptoms. Treatment may combine acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, Chinese herbal medicine, moxibustion, Tui na massage and dietary and lifestyle advice. It is underpinned by concepts such as Qi and Yin/ Yang. This is the style still practised in China today.

Therefore, the focus in Traditional Acupuncture is on the individual, not just their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. What makes this system so uniquely suited to modern life is that physical, emotional and mental are seen as interdependent, and reflect what many people perceive as the connection between the different aspects their lives.

For this reason, one would expect the results of Traditional Acupuncture and a following course of treatment to be far reaching and longer lasting. For more information on this please feel free to contact us.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia - also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) - is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as "fibro-fog") – such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating

Read Dr. Miriam Stoppard's recent article for the Daily Mirror.


How Does Acupuncture Work?

With Acupuncture Awareness Week 2017 fast approaching, here is a great video explaining how acupuncture works.


Acupuncture is part of an ancient Chinese Medical system dating back over 2,000 years. Modern evidence-based research shows that acupuncture safely treats a wide range of common health problems and can also offer an effective treatment for pain.

Watch the short video