I am writing to explain how in a relatively short period of time, Chinese medicine – acupuncture and herbal formulas administered by Celine Leonard – has transformed my present and redefined my future. Until a month ago I was living with a dismal, mainstream medical diagnosis that suggested I would be living with a chronic, untreatable bladder condition for the rest of my days. I am only 63 and until my difficulties began 18 months ago I was robustly healthy, energetic and outgoing. A fairly constant urge to pee slowly erased my capacity for a normal lifestyle. On a bad day I could make as many as 60 trips to the loo and at night sleep was frequently interrupted. Leaving home, even for a short time, became pitted with anxiety about access to public lavatories and I was often distressed about whether or not I would get to a toilet on time. I am not incontinent and my fears were never realised but the stress and physical discomfort were exhausting and debilitating.

For over a year I have been through a range of diagnostic procedures and at one point my symptoms pointed towards the early stages of bladder cancer. This mainstream medical process now indicates a condition known as ‘interstitial cystitis’ and while I wait for 10 months for a diagnosis and biopsy under general anaesthetic, I was advised to experiment with an alkaline diet and to consider acupuncture. The US website www.ichelp.com proposed a strict diet and I rigidly adhered to this for 6 weeks without any easing of my symptoms. At the same time, a friend recommended Celine to me and a few weeks later I had my first consultation.

The mainstream system had a prescribed route of inquiry from which there was no deviation. Boxes had to be ticked in one particular order and with lengthy waits between appointments I despaired of ever finding out the cause of my condition. My observations about my own body were never elicited and when proffered they were not valued. My experience of Chinese medicine has been utterly different. I felt listened to and understood for the first time in eighteen months. After two acupuncture treatments and some herbs I was already experiencing great ease. I began to remember what normal life felt like and the relief was considerable. Only when things began to get better did I allow myself to see the pressure I had been under and the release was surprising and emotional.

I am continuing with my treatment and have a different view of what the future holds than I did just one short month ago. I have been treated with skill, professionalism, respect and great care. I am surprised, relieved and very, very grateful.