WHEN Karen Willcock fell in a shower in China and hurt her nose, she had no idea that this would begin a lifetime love of acupuncture.

The young physio travelled to a nearby hospital where she said doctors were treating all patients with different forms of the treatment, depending on their ailment.

She was fascinated by the procedure and now, 25 years later, Mrs Willcock, aged 54, from Lostock, runs a well-established treatment centre in Bolton — and last week had me as her patient.

Acupuncture has never appealed to me, in fact I would go as far as to say the idea of lots of little needles sticking in me terrifies me.

But after hearing that acupuncture is not just for back pain and joint problems, but can also be good for stress relief, for insomnia and to give people an all-over energy boost, I decided to give it a go.

Mrs Willcock, who runs Bolton Therapy Centre, in Chorley Old Road, told me that acupuncture is also really good for period pain, the menopause, migraines and for women trying to conceive.

It has been used in China for thousands of years to treat illnesses and pain.

Soldiers on their way to long journeys often had acupuncture to give them energy.

In the recent Acupuncture Awareness Week in February, Mrs Willcock was promoting acupuncture for people with insomnia and says it can be much more effective than taking sleeping tablets, which can leave people drowsy the next day. I don’t have problems sleeping or any ailments or problems, so Mrs Willcock decided to give me some acupuncture that would be an energy boost, and leave me feeling revitalised.

It involved putting tiny needles in my feet, legs, hands, arms and head and leaving them there for 10 minutes.

Despite my reservations about needles, the ones used were so thin I could barely feel them. Once they were in my skin, Mrs Willcock gave them a wiggle until I could feel a strange sensation travelling up my nerve, which she said was the energy flowing. After 10 minutes, Mrs Willcock removed the needles and told me I should feel more energy throughout the day — and she was right.

I don’t know whether I would have acupuncture again, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a health problem that conventional medicine has not been able to cure. Mrs Willcock said: “Acupuncture is often seen as a last resort but we want to change that perception.”

Bolton Therapy Centre provides physiotherapy, acupuncture, Reiki, homeopathy, aromatherapy, chiropody and hypnotherapy. For more information, email boltontherapycentre.co.uk or call 01204 386 170.