Pinning down pain with painless acupuncture by Carl Munson

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In the great A-Z of complementary therapies, Acupuncture usually gets top billing, followed equally predictably by concerns as to whether this ancient eastern treatment hurts…

In the great A-Z of complementary therapies, Acupuncture usually gets top billing, followed equally predictably by concerns as to whether this ancient eastern treatment hurts.

Whilst it’s an understandable concern (who in their right mind would want to become a human dartboard in the pursuit of good health and wellbeing?), I have to say in my experience – the answer is a resounding NO! Sure, there are those who have experienced pain at the mercy (or lack of it) of ham-fisted therapists, but done right, acupuncture should not – in my opinion – be painful.

Keeping an eye on the local scene, I’ve come across one acupuncturist who prides himself on his pain-free approach, especially when it comes to working with children – Ramin Khaknegar-Moghaddam, who, for obvious reasons, generally uses his trading name “The Barefoot Doctor“.

Before I tell you about his fascinating and thoroughly reassuring technique, I feel it necessary to share with you The Barefoot Doctor’s motivations for becoming an acupuncturist. He has an interesting story to tell, which involves Mayfair’s Ritz Casino, a degree in Engineering and his mother’s previously poor state of health.

Graduating from London University as an engineer in the eighties, Ramin took an unusual step, in a different direction, and started his own catering business hoping, as he put it: “to find contentment through financial success”.

”Although the business benefited from a healthy turnover from its conception, I felt more and more enslaved by its demands. It became clear that the freedom that I craved could not be realised through financial security,” he told me.

The experience ultimately left him with a question most of us ask at some time or other: “what is the purpose of life?”

Feeling the answer would come in time, he took a job as a receptionist at – of all places – The Ritz Casino in London’s West End. In his extra time, and over some five years of soul searching, Ramin finally gave up on his search for the answer to humankind’s biggest question, and joined the rat race full-on, becoming the Ritz’s public relations executive.

No sooner overwhelmed by this world obsessed with material gains, the answer hit him. “Out of the blue I experienced the answer I was looking for – LIFE!”

Ramin revealed that this was no simple realisation. He sought a full and real experience of life and in recollecting his executive, high-flying lifestyle, told me: “I became aware that what I referred to as life was mere existence and was closer in quality to death.”

“The experience brought with it a complete change of perception; of my self and the world around me,” he added. “It was clear that I could not continue in my job. I left the company by the end of the same year. I was clear that I wanted to serve my fellow men, and I was confident that a path would present itself.”

“Around the same time my mother was suffering a great deal of pain from three slipped discs, which could only be partially contained with strong pain killers,” Ramin continued, as he told me more about his epiphany. “In my search to find an alternative therapy for my mother’s condition, I came across acupuncture and the philosophy on which it was based. This philosophy was in true alignment with my newly found understanding, and I felt secure in the knowledge that I could truly serve others through this style of medicine.”

He went on to complete a three year degree course in acupuncture at The College of Traditional Acupuncture, and added a one year post-graduate course with the Toyohari Association in Amsterdam.

“Toyohari,” he explained, “is a refinement of acupuncture’s 2,500 year old tradition, derived from classical Chinese medical knowledge. I now use specialised needle techniques, unique to Toyohari, which are very gentle.”

“Since the treatment is pain free and less invasive than other forms of acupuncture, it is particularly suited to children and for those who are wary of needles. In the course of my studies I have gained knowledge of paediatric acupuncture, allowing me to treat infants and children without the use of needles,” he added.

I’d say acupuncture is increasingly accepted, both by the medical establishment and the general public, as a reputable and safe way of treating a wide range of conditions. The strength of this “Barefoot Doctor” style of treatment is its ability to address the underlying cause of a condition as well as its symptoms.

A universal principle among complementary and alternative practitioners is that the presence of symptoms is an indication that the body has lost its natural ability to regulate itself, creating an imbalance in the system. Treatments, like Ramin’s acupuncture, re-establish our self-regulating system, which in turn may correct the imbalances causing the symptoms.

“I feel passionate about supporting individuals to experience their full potential through regular treatment, and to that end I offer a free half-hour consultation,” says Ramin. “Every seventh treatment is free of charge and I offer a money-back guarantee if no improvements are seen in the first course of treatments. I also offer an easy-payment plan.”

Ramin “The Barefoot Doctor“ Khaknegar-Moghaddam has clinics in Dartington and Newton Abbot. He is a member of the British Acupuncture Council and can be contacted on Freephone 0800 434 6595