As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we sat down with Georgie and Grace, the 27-year-old co-founders of The Elements Project, to discuss the role that acupuncture can play in a healthy body
Words by Niamh McCollum
The conversation around mental health has become one that we can’t get away from. Nor should we try – considering almost five times as many young people suffer from a mental health condition compared to just 10 years ago.
As specialists grapple to ascertain the exact source behind the mental health epidemic we’re currently facing, millennials too have struggled to find ways to cope with their own fluctuating mental wellbeing.
From meditation apps, to talking groups and medication, the complicated reality about mental health is that there’s no one clear path that works for everyone.
But the good news is that more people are facing up to their own anxiety, depression and other mental health problems by taking action in the form of holistic therapies, such as meditation, aromatherapy and acupuncture.
We sat down with Georgie and Grace, co-founders of The Elements Project, an acupuncture practice modelled on the principles of Five Element Acupuncture.
Together, we discussed the potential healing benefits of acupuncture on worried and frantic minds, and why it could be worth bringing the 2,000 year old practice back within the reach of modern day society.
How did you get into acupuncture?
Georgie: I was in a really dark place, and my friend recommended that I see an acupuncturist. I was reluctant and thought, ‘well what the hell are needles going to do?’ It was a very subtle and gradual change, but slowly things just weren’t so awful, and then there was a real sense of peace.
Grace: I had an incredibly strong reaction to acupuncture when I felt totally disconnected after University. Within six months of starting treatment I had moved out to Morocco and set up a business on my own, which is an absolute delight to run. I put that down to having had acupuncture – it’s about making you thrive and giving you access to your potential.
How was The Elements Project created?
Grace: We both took a nine-month intensive training course which is run by Gerad Kite (a leading Five Elements Acupuncture practitioner, renowned for his work in treating a range of conditions.) We lived and breathed acupuncture, and it showed us a totally new way of looking at life. Since then, we started treating and set up our own practice – we’re really excited about where this is going to go.
What conditions can acupuncture be used to treat?
Georgie: Because it is a holistic form of medicine, you can treat many things. The majority of ailments that we treat are related to mental health – anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, and just a lack of energy.
Grace: It comes from the idea that a very healthy body, if imbalanced, can correct itself. We are built to heal ourselves, the fact we can just cut our leg and it heals is quite magical. We should be able to do that mentally as well.
How do the individual sessions at The Elements Project work?
Grace: A patient will come in and talk with us, so we can get the full picture of everything that is going on. Then we move on to treatment. The needles allow us to activate energy within the body and guide it to the right place.
Georgie: We recommend that patients come once a week for the first month, but the gap in between sessions may increase as the person gradually feels stronger, to once every two or four weeks.
Grace: Acupuncture is about maintenance though. A big thing with Western medicine is this idea that you fix the problem and then you’re done, but life continues to happen. We are constantly having external circumstances thrown at us that create stress. So even if you’re feeling fantastic, it’s important to continue treatment.
What do you think is having the biggest impact on millennial’s mental health?
Georgie: I think it’s just the information age in general because we are absolutely inundated, and we don’t know what we’re reading is real and what’s not. We’re also constantly comparing ourselves on social media.
Grace: There is also this idea that because we are a generation that exists in a post war era, we have never had to live through this idea of ‘survival’. This has enabled us to stop looking externally at ‘the panic’, and starting to look within, becoming more aware of ourselves. We have been privileged enough to be able to look internally, but that’s why I think anxiety is becoming increasingly common. Our goal is to make sure that people know that acupuncture and holistic medicine is about mental health, and it should be accessible.
The Elements Project has two practices based in Brixton and Vauxhall. Visit the website for more details.
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