I spoke about the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine to address physical, psychological and mental conditions. This seems to have resonated deeply with the attendees and it was great to see such level of interest, presumably because of the very high mental and physical toll on carers. Seventy-two percent of respondents to Carers UK's State of Caring survey said they suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while 61% said they suffered physical ill health. Many of the attendees wanted to know what they can do to help themselves, whether that is getting treatment or learning tai chi or qi gong (Chinese exercises that are based on principles of relaxation, balance and breathing, among others). They had conditions such as migraines, sciatica and tinnitus that respond well to acupuncture.
Apart from anything else, it was great to team up with my friend Lina Ramchand, whom I first met in Hong Kong about 20 years ago when we were both copy editors at the South China Morning Post. She is now practising reflexology, Indian head massage and sekhem energy work, and I am now an acupuncturist so we can help patients and carers in so many ways.