Hi, my name is Sharon Bradbear, and I am a qualified acupuncturist. My working life had previously been in admin, which although I enjoyed, I never really found the work satisfying or particularly rewarding. I did notice though that I felt better about my work whenever I was employed by an industry that served the public in some way, such as the NHS or Education. So the seeds of looking for a new career were sown. My path then crossed that of someone who owns a clinic where at that time, they were primarily treating people with sports injuries, and I began to be fascinated by the treatments that were available to people and the positive effect these treatments had.
So I started to focus my research for a new career on something I could do to help people back to health whilst working in a clinic environment, and my research came back to acupuncture again and again. At this point, I had heard of acupuncture but never tried it myself.
I was very lucky with my choice of college - The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine - as it is one of the best in the country. Founded in 1993, it has an enviable reputation for its training, and is leading the way in lobbying the government to introduce regulation for acupuncturists. The degree is a science one, and covers western medicine, point location, tui na (massage), professional practice, treatment and diagnostic skills and techniques, research and reflective practice, as well as Chinese Medicine. The course takes just under 4 years to complete. I really did fall on my feet when I was accepted to study there.
So I began my first year of training, and I still had not had acupuncture myself! I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for most of my life, nothing ever seemed to improve it, so I thought I would have acupuncture and see. Acupuncture coupled with the dietary advice I was given has been the only thing to totally relieve my of my IBS symptoms, and whilst I know I still have it, it is extremely rare for me to have an attack now.
Acupuncture treats everything that Western Medicine treats, and I see a wide variety of illness in my clinics. For me, there is no job more rewarding than this, relieving people from pain or discomfort, and seeing them recovered and happy.