Meet the Therapists: Paula Macklin Creasy, Acupuncturist

Paula Macklin Creasy describes what inspired her to train as an acupuncturist at such a young age and how traditional Chinese acupuncture works on the mind, body and spirit of the person treating the person as a whole rather than just the disease.

About Paula

Paula Macklin Creasy is a licensed acupuncturist (Lic.Ac. Dip.China Master NLP Practitioner), who has worked since 1993 in multidisciplinary clinics in West Sussex.

Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world and is used to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, infertility, pain, menopausal symptoms, improve feelings of well-being and to boost energy levels.

To book call Paula : 07976 278512

To find out more please visit her website:

What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?

I was inspired to become an acupuncturist after watching my mum live with cancer for 10 years. She died when my twin sister and I were 19, so I changed my career path from Veterinary Nurse to trainee Acupuncturist. I really wanted to make a difference to people’s health and although much of the care and treatment my mum had was amazing, I felt drawn to a system of medicine which was aimed at wellness and preventing illness as much as possible to reduce disease.

And what training did you undertake?

My training began in China when I was 19. UK Acupuncture colleges wouldn’t take students under 21 at the time, so I studied in China in 1986 for a few months, initially travelling with a vet, so was involved in his veterinary acupuncture course before studying in a hospital where I had 4 professors to myself – and luckily a very good interpreter!

I travelled around Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa for a couple of years and enrolled on a three-year course in Leamington Spa as soon as I returned to the UK. Once qualified, I opened a practice in Worthing and jumped into another two year part-time course to study a complementary style of acupuncture which allowed me to study in a different part of China for a month at the end of it, to consolidate my learning at a hospital in Kunming.

I am continuously updating my skills, recently completing a Diploma in Applied Channel Theory which has taught me the valuable skill of palpating the acupuncture channels to improve my diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Listening to my patients, I have also found the need to expand my Chinese Dietary Therapy knowledge. I feel that if patients can do a little of something each day to help themselves, it enhances their acupuncture treatments – which is immensely satisfying for me too! To that end, I have completed some training in Nutrigenomics (nutrition and genetics), with a company called Lifecode Gx – looking at DNA reports to see where there are potential genetic weaknesses and using a ‘food first’ approach to nutrition as well as looking at exercise and environmental toxins which may be contributing to ill health. Chinese dietary therapy further aids this ‘bespoke’ system of nutrition by looking at a patient’s body type – ie. Yin or Yang deficient, damp/phelgm, cold, hot, qi and blood stagnation, deficient or excess. Medicinal Mushrooms or Mycology is proving very useful as a dietary supplement to help with many conditions – already used for centuries in Chinese Medicine, and something I continue to study.

Learning more about nutrition has also enabled me to understand when to refer to my colleague Nicola Russell, Cowdray’s gut health specialist and registered nutritional specialist. I find it so useful to have such a fantastic network of colleagues at my fingertips at Cowdray’s Therapy Rooms. It’s so important to give my patients the option to be referred to the other trusted professionals who also practice at Cowdray, if needed.

Can you describe what acupuncture involves?

When someone books in for an Acupuncture treatment, they can expect to divulge their medical history as well as answering a few questions on what makes them ‘tick’, because the more I understand someone and can ‘stand in their shoes,’ the more I can help. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture works on the body and mind and spirit of a person, so a predominant emotion, ie. If someone is feeling angry/sad or is grief stricken a lot of the time, that will help direct me to imbalances in the channel system which the acupuncture points can redress. I will palpate all the channels on the lower legs and arms, as well as taking six pulses on each wrist. This corresponds to the channels and direct me to feeling what is ‘over or under active’ in that person.

Looking at the tongue is also a great diagnostic tool – colour, coating, cracks and shape, all give me an inside look at what is going on in the body!

Once I have diagnosed where the imbalances are, or where the energy is ‘stuck’, I can look at which channel and point pairings would work best and needle accordingly. The needles are very fine, you may experience the occasional feeling of sharpness, but it is usually a momentary slight tingle or dull achy sensation – overall most people find the whole experience very relaxing.

And the symptoms you can treat?

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture really treats the ‘person’ rather than the ‘disease’ but some needles can be used to reduce muscle tension and spasm for musculoskeletal conditions, but I often see people for general fatigue, digestive disorders, hypertension, anxiety, allergies, period/gynae problems, fertility and to promote general well-being. I always work alongside medication and doctors – I practice an Integrative system of complementary medicine – I like to see myself as a ‘project manager’ of the body – looking at the whole system and treating/advising accordingly, looking out for red flags, or warning signs which may need a test or a scan to rule out anything sinister – therefore using the best allopathic medicine has to offer combined with the holistic approach to maximise a person’s health.

What are the origins of acupuncture (eg the history)?

One of the main reasons I chose to study Acupuncture was because of its rich history. There will never be just one system of medicine which treats everyone all the time – otherwise there would only be one system of medicine now! It dates back thousands of years which speaks for its efficacy otherwise, it wouldn’t still be used so widely today. I have many colleagues who translate texts from the Classics many centuries ago – so we are always learning – but I’m pleased these ‘academics’ amongst us do their job so well, because I much prefer being in the Clinic putting into practice what they have spent so much time pouring over many books to translate and share with me.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I love fresh air and exercise and now my two children are at university, I am indulging in my chosen sport of Dog Agility with my very clever Australian Cattle Dog, Roo. I often head off somewhere in the UK for a weekend of competition in my little Campervan leaving my husband behind to tidy the garden!

We have recently started a large vegetable patch, so I really enjoy that; with the added benefit of having beautiful pesticide free food to keep us healthy most of the year.

Click here to find out more about Cowdray Therapy Rooms and our other therapists. To find out more about Paula, please visit her website.

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