Meet the Team : Michelle Aris

By 5 October 2020Latest, Meet the Team

Michelle Aris LLB BSc MBAcC, our in-house acupuncturist, has over 13 years of post-graduate clinical experience and training in Traditional and Classical Chinese medical acupuncture. She has been in practice since she completed her degree in 2007.

We asked Michelle a few questions so you can get to know her a little better……..


1. What were you doing before you started working in EFC?


I tried running my acupuncture practice in Ealing in a few different locations before I settled at EFC. I started working in Ealing after my daughter was born as I wanted to work closer to home. Before I became a mum I worked at a beautiful Japanese spa near Bond Street and a busy clinic in Waterloo. I’ve been in practice since completing my acupuncture degree in 2007.


2. Why acupuncture? What attracted you to Chinese medicine?


I initially studied law. Throughout my law degree and working at a law firm, and afterwards, I used kung fu as a way of keeping healthy and balanced, plus it was a lot of fun! I began to practice an exercise called Qi Gong as a way of improving my martial art skill. Qi Gong combines a focus on the breath, the mind, and movement to direct one’s internal energy. As well as being a component of kung fu it can be used for health and is an important aspect of Chinese Medicine. In learning about Qi Gong I started to read about Chinese Medicine and I was fascinated. The theories made a lot of sense to me. At the same time, I was beginning to feel more and more unhealthy being stuck behind a desk in the stressful environment of the legal world. I began to look for a different career path. Acupuncture really interested me because it allows a patient to experience the benefit of a clear and balanced flow of energy without them having to spend years training in Qi Gong. Once I had the idea of developing my interest in Chinese Medicine and becoming an acupuncturist that was it, my destiny was set. The idea of going back to university to do another degree was daunting but I knew I had to do it. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.


3. What do you like the most about being an acupuncturist?


When someone has been struggling, perhaps for many years or even their whole lives, with physical or emotional pain or some other difficulty, it is immensely gratifying when that issue is resolved. To see that person be able to enjoy their life without hindrance is priceless.



4. What makes you stand out from other acupuncturists?


My degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture provided an excellent foundation for my clinical practice. Wanting to take my understanding further, however, I embarked upon a commitment to continual study. I can now say that I offer an advanced level of acupuncture, able to treat severe conditions and emotional pain, and use acupuncture for spiritual purposes. An advanced acupuncture practitioner can use all 68 of the body’s channels, where standard acupuncture tends to make use of just 14. With command of these channels, we are even able to work with chronic degenerative diseases.

To understand what makes the acupuncture I practice so special, we need to look to history. In the 11th and 12th Centuries CE, Chinese Medicine became standardised by the Imperial authorities. For various reasons, 46 out of the 68 channels were omitted from the officially approved practice of acupuncture. These included the very channels needed to treat difficult illnesses. As printing became popular, this reduced curriculum of acupuncture became the foundation for the standard acupuncture widely taught and practiced today.

However, with an authentic line of transmission, where knowledge has been passed from teacher to student through successive generations, we can access the full rich body of knowledge needed to treat the full spectrum of diseases and disorders.

I feel very privileged and deeply grateful to have access to this knowledge through lectures presented by Dr Jeffrey Yuen, an 88th generation lineage holder and gifted teacher on all aspects of Chinese Medicine. I also attend lectures and study the work of his senior student Ann Cecil-Sterman. I continue the tradition of apprenticeship within Chinese medicine by apprenticing to my mentor within the lineage (and the only such mentor in the UK), Dr Hung Tran. These wonderful teachers strive to preserve the precious gift that is Chinese Medicine in its fullest form.



4. What do you do in your spare time? Your interests, hobbies?


I actually love Chinese Medicine so much that I often enjoy studying it in my spare time! One of my favourite ways to relax is listening to audio lectures about acupuncture in the bath! During lock-down I had a lot of fun creating an online study group for myself and my colleagues to discuss cases and the finer points of Chinese Medicine theory. Ok, I may perhaps be a bit of an acupuncture geek!

But apart from that, I enjoy the usual things…hanging out with family and friends, reading novels (very much enjoying “The Woodlanders” by Thomas Hardy at the moment) and I do like a gripping box-set. I love great food and I’m a pretty good cook, even if I do say so myself.


Michelle and one of her allotment accomplishments!

Another thing I did during lockdown was jump on the vegetable growing bandwagon. A neighbour wasn’t well and couldn’t manage his whole allotment and so I became a sharer on his plot. I’ve never really gardened before so it has been a massive learning curve and a huge amount of work but once you start being able to eat your own produce it becomes rather compelling. Plus it’s a real little community, everyone is so friendly and there is no lack of expert advice on hand for a novice such as myself. I recently harvested my first cauliflower. Apparently, it’s a rather tricky crop to grow so I was super proud showing it off to my allotment neighbours. Nothing beats the “Bob, Bob! Come and look at Michelle’s cauliflower”…” Oooh, that’s a lovely specimen that is…” conversation!


5. What are your plans for the future (career-wise)?


 I want to be an acupuncturist forever…just slowly getting wiser and greyer! And maybe teach someday.



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