Case Studies & Blog

We are compiling a blog full of case studies and examples of treatable conditions, to help you.


Case Study #1

One Summer morning a lady of about 37 years made her way into our Sanctuary for her first session of acupuncture. She was very kind and gentle, but I could see that her eyes were heavy and there was a quietness about her from a weight she seemed to be carrying. I asked to hear her story so I could work out how to help, as we do on every first meeting. I call it a story because each person we see is not just a case behind a set of signs and symptoms. They are a culmination of everything they have ever seen, endured and experienced. Whether we are using acupuncture, reflexology, bowen, healing or any other complementary therapy, our focus is on that person as a whole.

It transpired that this lady had been hospitalised with viral meningitis six months prior to our meeting, but the symptoms just would not go away. She was still experiencing severe headaches, neck pain, constant floaters and visual disturbance, fatigue that would often keep her in bed all day, brain fog that made everything feel muffled, inability to recall and remember things, sensitivity to light, nausea, sometimes vomiting, and as you can imagine, a vast array of emotions and frustration. She was forced to avoid basic day to day tasks, while her MRI scan, CT scan and lumbar puncture all showed no problems with brain function. She was taking an anti-epileptic medication but was still suffering. She had found suggestions to try acupuncture through the charity ‘Meningitis Now’, which brought her into our clinic.

I started by checking her pulse, looking at her tongue and feeling her abdomen. These methods all help to create a picture of what imbalances are present in the body, such as energy blockages. There was a lot going on! Sometimes the more complex someone is, the more you can do by just keeping the treatment simple. I also felt her neck and shoulders and straight away could feel an immense amount of what we call ‘stagnation’. Just touching this area she became tearful, which can often happen when blocked energy begins to move, especially when there has been some trauma attached to its creation/progression.

We started with five minutes of gentle cupping on her shoulders and upper back, to move some of that energy and allow the muscles to relax. I then inserted six fine needles into her neck for just ten minutes. By this point she felt a lot lighter but there was deeper work to be done for the treatment to really take effect. I then used seven needles in the front of her body – five on her abdomen and one on each leg, for twenty minutes. After discussing what to expect following acupuncture, we made an appointment for a week’s time (which is typical for a follow-up acupuncture treatment). A week later she reported that she had slept for two days, all day after the treatment. I mention this because it is important to understand, when the body’s own healing mechanisms are activated, the body has some work to do. This is why it is normal to feel tired, have slight headaches or other mild symptoms following treatment. We always encourage our patients to allow themselves the time to rest and relax during this period.

After sleeping for two days (and feeling quite emotional), her energy levels shot up from 3 out of 10 to 7 out of 10. She could stay awake until 9.30pm instead of 8pm, and she was easily getting out of bed in the mornings. There had been no headaches, no floaters or visual impairment, no neck pain, and a significant improvement in the brain fog and cognitive functions. A great start! This time six needles in the neck, one in the abdomen and one in each leg. By treatment three, still no headaches, energy at 8 out of 10, and no groggy feeling in the body. She had started to lose weight from being able to move around again.

By treatment four she reported energy levels of 9 out of 10, and said she felt back to her normal self. After this treatment she had one migraine so we continued working. Over the next two sessions she was symptom-free and was living her life again. Since this course of treatment, I have seen her a handful of times for what we call ‘maintenance’. People tend to become quite aware of when they need a ‘top-up’ after having acupuncture for something that has affected them so severely. She has also since set up her own business which is doing some incredible work in the community, so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to help on her road to recovery.

If you would like to know how we at the Sanctuary can help you, please contact us. You may want to try acupuncture or you may feel it is not for you - the key thing is that we as a team will always work together to try to find the therapy and therapist that is right for you.

Gursharan x

Single Dove
Case Study #2

John walked into the treatment room of The Upminster Sanctuary with a mixture of hesitation and suspicion. It was as if the peaceful tranquillity of the stunning gardens surrounding this magical place have not touched him.
For over a month now he was driving his family insane. Being kind and patient people they tried to help him in every way possible but nothing worked, so they sent him to The Upminster Sanctuary and directly asked for my assistance.

So what was wrong with John?

John was stressed beyond reason: he couldn't sleep, had tension in his upper back, neck and shoulders, was constantly tired, short fused, anxious and unhappy.
He had trouble falling asleep and waking up so he drank coffee all day to stay alert. Due to the nature of his business he was forced to be on the phone all day so his daily workload would build up by the evening, meaning he had to stay up late. After hours in front of the computer screen, he could not relax to fall asleep and it was making him anxious. The more he tried the less it worked.

John was a dedicated husband and father so an ever-increasing workload took most of his family time away from him. He was frustrated he couldn't spend time with his boys who were growing up quickly - he had to miss birthday parties, family gatherings, anniversaries and even stopped enjoying football...
He was also genuinely worried: not only did he feel he was getting worse, if he were to continue this lifestyle it would not only affect the people around him but his health too. John tried exercising but it only worked short term.

This is not an unusual scenario and as a Holistic Therapist I come across it every day. In fact, most of us have been there at least once in our lives.

There are a lot of holistic treatments that can improve this condition quickly but there was one catch...

John could not bear to be touched. He hated to be touched. By anyone.

This meant he would rather die than have a massage or reflexology or any other therapy that involves a therapeutic touch. At this point in life he rejected counselling even as a thought.

I have a great compassion for those who are struggling but not giving up.
So, slowly and methodically, we started going through my arsenal of therapies that would help him to relax and let go.

A Massage or Deep Tissue massage that would relax John's tight back and shoulders was out of the question.

An Indian Head massage - a brilliant introduction to the massage including upper back, neck, shoulders, head and face massage in one treatment was still a massage and sounded suspicious to him.

Abdomen massage - a wonderful soothing sequence that not only detoxifies and balances digestion but brings a sensation of relaxation and peace with the use of Marma points and warm oil was a definite NO.

Reflexology or an Ayurvedic Foot Massage - both powerful treatments that have been successfully used for many misalignments including stress was a NO too because at this point John could not possibly imagine anyone touching his feet. It was a pity because the practicality of those amazing treatments was that not only did they produce immediate results, but all one needs to do is to expose his or her feet, making it convenient to blend into a busy schedule.

I did not see the need for Lymphatic Drainage Massage - a very powerful soothing one-of-a kind balancing treatment that moves lymph. John has not been recovering from surgery, had no swelling or Lympho/Lypoedima or any kind of injury and did not need to lose weight (lymph moves fat therefore is a good addition to a weight loss programme).

Surprisingly, a healing Reiki treatment, even though it had no contact and had often been successfully used for overworked and exhausted people or anyone recovering from a disease did not feel right for him either.

Bach remedy - powerful individually-prescribed remedy drops - was a good option for someone like John; all I need is a consultation to prescribe a remedy combination. However John he did not feel it was for him at the moment.

Finally, he said his face is the only part of his body he is prepared to entrust to me.

Looking back, I still think a Face Lift Massage is an interesting and intuitive choice. It can be looked upon by many as purely cosmetic because it gives a noticeable face lift and visibly improves appearance.
If followed by natural skincare, good lifestyle and individually prescribed regular face exercises, it will keep one's face unchanged for years to come but there is much more to it.

Non-surgical Facelift Massage is a powerful combination of balancing reflex points, deep powerful massage to relax face and neck muscles, healing Reiki to balance and regenerate and lymphatic drainage to move the build up of toxins away from the head area.
An example: a traditional Vietnamese face reflex map shows over 500 healing points responsible for the whole body. So, a quality Face Massage is always a win but sometimes you have to experience it to believe it.

As this Face Massage treatment is an hour long, we agreed that if John feels uncomfortable, stressed or upset during the treatment he will immediately let me know by raising his hand and I will stop.

Then the journey to the recovery began...

Needless to say, it was a 100 percent success. John said he had never in his life felt so relaxed as during this face massage. He could not possibly imagine one can get so deeply relaxed but still be awake at the same time. He noticed he looks different: refreshed and rejuvenated.

The best and the most important point for John and many other people who have experienced this particular Natural Facelift Massage was that it gave him a "thinking break" he could not achieve by any other means. This massage had freed his head from thoughts continuously going through his mind and keeping him alert, awake and eventually exhausted.
In his own words John "felt the best of himself ever".
His only complaint was why has he never tried it before?!!

I have worked with John for over the period of several months. He tried most of my treatments but his firm favourites are still Reflexology and Natural Facelift Massage. We adjusted his diet to allow enough nourishment to support his lifestyle and avoid triggering stress anxiety and insomnia.

I'm pleased to report that, since then, John and his family have made enormous progress: "returning to his better self" as he called it, helped John to look at his life in a different light. He still runs a demanding business but managed to bring balance and positivity into it; he embraced a healthier lifestyle and in my opinion developed the most valuable skill - being in touch with himself. This intuition helps him to know in advance whether he needs a break, a treatment, a diet adjustment or more family time.
Taking constructive time off has not affected his business; it helped him to make the most of his work time to free up necessary rest and rejuvenation time for himself.
I still occasionally see John when he feels that one of my treatments will support him in his busy life.

I have the greatest respect to John as I believe the biggest fight is often with yourself. Overcoming the fear of touch, coming from stress and anxiety, to mindfulness and balance in just a few months is something to be proud of. Understanding, processing and sustaining it throughout life takes courage and faith.
On my business card I have a little proverb: "Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is what you are". As an Holistic Therapist I want my clients to live their life to the full each and every day and I enjoy helping them to achieve that.

Warmest regards,

Katrina Ray

Case Study #3

- Tuesday 12th February PM my waters broke. We went for a long walk and came back to have a nap and woke up with a wet bottom! Went to the bathroom and there was a large gush. 
- No other symptoms at this point, I actually felt absolutely fine and even felt energetic. I really wanted contractions to start so had a hot bath, watched comedy and napped a lot. 
- As things hadn't progressed by Wednesday lunch we were told to go into hospital. 
- We went into the birthing centre. I didn't see eye-to-eye with the midwife who assessed me. She was very negative and was adamant that I'd need inducing and I should be in the labour ward already. This was based on the fact that the waters broke the previous day.
- From this point onwards, I became panicky and and started fretting. I knew my body wasn't relaxed. This in turn made me feel more negative, as I knew the chances of things progressing naturally was decreasing.
- I was in conversation with Christine (Magical Baby Moments) as well at this point. We were discussing the pros and cons of going beyond 24 hours since waters breaking.
- Due to my anxiety, and the fact that contractions hadn't started naturally, we decided to go with the pessaries on by the evening of Wednesday 13th February. 
- I was then monitored Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
- In the early hours of Thursday I started to get some surges, these were varied in length and intensity but on average were 5 minutes apart. They progressively got more intense overnight.
- Thursday morning I was checked to see how much I had dilated and unfortunately I was at 2cm. 
- By this point we were all concerned about the baby as we were close to 48 hours since waters had broken.
- Reluctantly, I agreed to syntocinon, the following few hours were the worst contractions ever. 
- Thursday afternoon I was checked for dilation and I was still only 2 cm. 
- The doctors were really concerned as by this point it was over 48 hours since my waters had broken and I had really intense contractions which should have ensured I dilated but I hadn't. 
- They suggested epidural as the contractions were so intense but dilation wasn't progressing, they thought the epidural would relax my body and enable me to dilate. 
- I was given epidural Thursday evening and by Friday midnight I had dilated to 5cm.
- In the early hours Friday morning I had dilated some more and I felt great, I felt energised, due to cat naps in between the less intense contractions (numbed by epidural), and I felt confident within myself. 
- I started pushing around 5am Friday morning and due to the guidance from my midwife it took me slightly longer but baby was born 6.42am!
- The midwives I had over my stay were absolutely great, I went back to give them some chocolates and a card as they were genuinely amazing. I owe them a lot.
- In summary even though my birthing experience wasn't what I had hoped, it was absolutely perfect as it delivered my baby in a healthy state and both of us were fine. 
- I struggled with the swelling from the epidural and I had a 1 inch tear. But within a week, I was feeling heaps better. 
- I probably could have used hypnobirthing principles slightly better, to calm myself. However due to the prolonged labour I'm just glad it was a vaginal delivery. 
- I did a lot of practicing with scripts and reading and listening to scripts ,so I do think I invested a lot of time in hypnobirthing but didn't realise the benefits fully. Either way I'm glad I spent the time on it. 

Thank you for your guidance and support along the way, it was all really appreciated! 

Therapist: Christine Scott
Case Study #4
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