Common Questions

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Who will I receive my treatment from?

James Mutkin

James Graduated from Middlesex University with a BSc (Hons) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. This full time five year course is respected as one of the highest standing Chinese medicine degrees in Europe.
Within the five years of study James gained invaluable experience from working alongside various doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine in England, New York and China.

Clinical Experience
James works in various NHS Hospital clinics, including the Whittington and North Middlesex Hospital and is currently providing acupuncture in the maternity ward in the Whittington hospital. Furthermore James is the Manger of Complementary therapies for Oncology and Haematology
James is a practitioner at the Asante Academy of Chinese Medicine, the affiliated teaching and research centre of Chinese Medicine for Middlesex University and is the resident acupuncturist for the Active Birth Centre

Professional Body
James is a fully insured practitioner and member of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM), the largest professional regulatory body for TCM in the UK and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine ( RCHM)


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the most popular and well-established forms of complementary medicine in the UK. It is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that’s been practised for thousands of years.
Acupuncture is the insertion and manipulation of fine sterilised needles into the skin and subcutaneous tissue at certain locations known as acupuncture points. Acupuncture points regulate the body and help to restore the body’s natural balance / homeostasis.
The principle aim of acupuncture is to treat the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the
individual, as Chinese medicine links them together.


What will happen on my first treatment ?
On coming to the clinic you will be asked to fill out a patient record, briefly documenting your personal details and your chief complaint. From this James will ask further in-depth questions about your condition and general routines such as sleep, digestion and diet.
Your pulse will be taken and the tongue and abdomen will be checked. All these techniques will help to show how your body is functioning internally, allowing James to get an insight into your condition.
The first consultation will be longer then subsequent visits. However, it is needed to fully document your condition and to explain the treatment plan specifically suited for you.  

What happens during an Acupuncture treatment?
For acupuncture loose clothing is worn allowing clothing to be moved aside or removed such as points on the back. Depending on the techniques used after the needle is inserted the feeling is often describe as a heaviness, distension, tingling, or no sensation at all. The needle is retained for approximately 30 minutes (however this is dependent on your condition). Within this time the body is reacting to the stimulation given by the needles.

Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a safe technique when used by qualified practitioners.

What types of Acupuncture are there?
Certain styles will be combined depending on your specific complaint.

TCM acupuncture
Uses acupuncture on the basis of viewing the body as a whole with the aim to balance the physical and mental aspects of the body. It uses traditional concepts to see how the blood and qi is flowing through the body’s meridians.  The needle will be manipulated depending on whether the point needs to nourish the body or help take away excess from the body.

Japanese acupuncture
Japanese acupuncture uses the abdomen ‘hara’ and other points on the body to diagnose the patient’s condition. These points which when active show the practitioner where the imbalance is. These active reflexes will be deactivated by using acupuncture points away from the area. The needles are inserted superficially and in certain directions on the meridian but are not stimulated in the same degree as  TCM acupuncture.

Sports/western Acupuncture
Western acupuncture/dry needling is based on one aspect of traditional Chinese acupuncture. The majority of points used are already included within traditional acupuncture. Western acupuncture sees acupuncture in terms of muscles and nerves in the body. Releasing muscles that are referring pain and or resting incorrectly on the nerve or blood supply giving rise to tender points or trigger points on the body. A muscle in the neck if it is contracted and knotted can refer pain to the head such as a headache or can give sensations of numbness to the arm. This knowledge is already known and used in the treatment of TCM and Japanese acupuncture.  However the knowledge of nerve innervations and muscle insertion and origin is an important technique to be used within the treatment as a whole.

What Conditions can be Treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Musculoskeletal and Rheumatological
Back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, neck pain, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, RSI (repetitive strain injury), traumatic injuries, sports injuries, Arthritis – Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid, Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia

Neurological Conditions
Headache, migraine, MS (multiple sclerosis), CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), Hemiplegia, Bells palsy

Diarrhoea, Constipation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), indigestion, nausea vomiting

Gynaecological and Reproductive
Irregular periods, painful periods, PMT (pre menstrual tension), menopausal symptoms, ovarian cysts, infertility (male and female) and assisted IVF

Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Fatigue

Sinusitis, common cold, rhinitis, tonsillitis, sore throat, cough, bronchial asthma

Hypertension, palpitations

Eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, herpes, impetigo, vitiligo, facial rejuvenation, alopecia,

If you would like further information on any of these topics, or conditions that are not listed above please contact James.

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine, has developed alongside acupuncture over thousands of years and consists of leaves, fruits, seeds, flowers, and roots. Each herb has a particular characteristic and action on the body.  These herbs are combined together to produce formulas which are individually chosen to suit the individual.

Are Chinese Herbs Safe?
Herbal medicine is safe when given by a qualified practitioner. James is member of the ATCM (association of Traditional Chinese Medicine), which is the largest self-regulatory body for TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in UK
Only suppliers that have been quality assured are used in treatment.

What Types of Chinese Medicine are there?

Loose herbs to be used as a normal tea. They are not as strong as decoctions but can very helpful from respiratory disorders from coughs to morning sickness.

Herbs can be dispensed in a variety of ways. Traditionally loose herbs are given which are boiled to make a ‘decoction’. The taste and time to prepare these herbs is can be off putting,  but great results are seen through using them

Pills are traditionally used in TCM and are useful if compliance is an issue and are normally used in chronic long standing conditions.

Granules/ Powders
Granules and powders are either administered in capsules or taken with water. Granules are considered to be stronger then pills 

What is Tuina-Chinese Massage?
Chinese massage is closely related to acupuncture in its use of the meridian system. It is an effective and comprehensive therapy. Tuina massage is predominately carried out over the patients fully clothed body, using different hand techniques to massage the soft tissue of the body. Acupressure
techniques are applied to affect the flow of blood fluids and energy flow ,and manipulation techniques to realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships. Additionally, further massage techniques, Oils, plasters and cupping can be used on the skin.


What is Moxibustion?
Moxibustion (moxa) is rolled or compressed mugwort leaf (Folium Artemisiae Argyi), which is lit to apply heat to certain areas of the body. Moxibustion can be used directly or indirectly on the body. Indirect moxibustion uses a stick of moxa which has been rolled into a cylindrical stick. Direct moxibustion, places moxa over a protective medium which is then placed onto the skin.
Moxibustions deep penetrating heat and herbal vapor increases the circulation of qi and blood in the area, it warm meridians, reduces swelling, pain and increases immune function.

What is the science of Moxibustion?
Moxibustion has a wide array of actions on the body.
The heat produced allows for an increase of blood circulation and lymph drainage in the area of application.
It can relax tissue in oxygen-starved areas that cause pain, allowing an increase in blood flow, thereby reducing pain.
It can increase the production of white and red blood cells, showing beneficial immunoregulatory effects.
It has a role to play in depression and anxiety, through the induction of neurotransmitters.

How do you use Moxibustion?
The areas to be used would need to be exposed. When using indirect moxa the stick will be placed above the patients skin and moved using various methods; static, circling, sparrow –pecking and needle-running techniques.
Direct moxa is applied to the skin using a herbal paste or raw herb in-between the moxa and the skin. The use of herbs and paste are combined with the moxa to increase its effects and prevents damage to the skin. Some techniques produce a small insect bite feeling, repeated several times in succession, reinforcing the action of the acupuncture point. Moxa can also be placed onto the needle allowing for heat and vapor to penetrate through the needle. Direct and indirect moxa can be used on most of the body and treatment lasts for 10-15 minutes. The patient will experience a warming sensation and reddening of the skin as the flow of blood increases in that area.
Moxibustion can be used in smoke and smokeless forms.

What can Moxibuston be used for?
Moxibustion can be used for a variety of conditions
Arthritis – Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis
Neurological conditions – Chronic fatigue and pain syndromes,
Sports injuries
Digestive disorders: IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), constipation
Gynecological conditions – painful periods
Infertility – assisted IVF
Breech presentation
Common cold and fatigue
Anxiety and stress


What is Cupping?
Cupping is a therapy that stimulates the flow of blood and qi and removes blockages within the meridians. By producing a vacuum inside of the cup. The skin’s pores are opened and the local blood supply to the skin and muscles is increased, enhancing nourishment to the local area releasing tension in areas of muscle rigidity.

How does cupping work?
Cupping improves the circulation of blood within and around muscles and joints, allowing the removal of congested blood, and excessive fluid via the lymphatic system.
Through cupping toxins are removed allowing new blood to go into area of congestion.
Cupping stretches soft tissue allowing for increased flexibility and range of motion in contracted areas of the body.

What happens during Cupping?
In cupping therapy there are various techniques, running, stationary and rapid cupping. Cupping can be used all over the body.
Running cupping is used with oil on the back allowing the cup to glide over the skin. The feeling is like a deep massage.
Static cupping is applied onto the skin without manipulation. Commonly used on or around areas of pain, releasing tension and allowing an increase in range of movement.
Rapid cupping is the continual applying and reapplying of the cup in the same area used as a strong technique loosening tense muscle.
During the treatment a warm sensation will be felt the skin will turn red as the blood circulation is increased. After treatment the patient may feel relaxed and energized, with a feeling of lightness and increased flexibility in the area of cupping. Skin complexion can improve and seem smoother and the appearance of cellulite can be reduced.


What can Cupping be used for?
Cupping can used for a variety of conditions
Pain – musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, chronic pain and aches.
Respiratory conditions – cough, chronic bronchitis, common cold and reduces fever.
Stress, anxiety, tiredness, insomnia.

Are there any risks in cupping?
Cupping is completely safe when performed by a trained practitioner. Adverse reactions are rare. Cupping will leave a dull mark if static or rapid cupping is used and normally disappear within a week. Running cupping does not leave cupping marks.




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Active Birth Centre
25 Bickerton Road London
N19 5JT
020 7281 6760 / 07811 667 067