This advice that has been repeated to us since early in the pandemic:

  • Wear a mask
  • Maintain social distance
  • Wash your hands regularly

Although this advice smacks of common sense, it is still flagrantly ignored by some. On an almost daily basis, we get patients who complain about having to wear a mask for a whole 30 minutes.   Wearing a mask is not just to help protect you, it’s also to protect others. So yes, we require you to wear a mask.

Facts Support Wearing A Mask

In the USA, COVID is essentially out of control and sadly wearing a mask has become a political issue, even though expert scientists have developed many models and forecast that over 100,000 lives could be saved in the next few months, if everybody just wears a mask. That’s as many US troops who died in fighting from the D Day beaches in 1944 to Berlin in 1945. Deaths that are mourned to this day. And now its ok, and all for the sake of wearing a mask? Really?

Ok, this is not the USA, but look at the size of the numbers and consider this in our own country. Every time I go shopping I see many not wearing masks. We are thus not immune to the same fate.

Double Your Risk

For those who are unconvinced, a recently announced real world study has proven the benefits of wearing a mask. In the state of Kansas, the state governor recommended mask wearing on 3rd July. Some counties in the state followed the recommendation, others didn’t. Two weeks were allowed to let the change take effect. Since then those counties where masks have been worn have stayed level on the number of new cases. Those who chose to ignore the advice have gone up and continue to go up. Right now, the number of cases in counties not requiring mask wearing is DOUBLE those who do. This is not a small study. It’s based on nearly 3 million people.

The facts are simple.

Not wearing a mask doubles the risk for you and for those around you.

Safety always comes first for you and our staff. We require that anybody in the clinic wears a mask. Our staff wear full PPE all day, so asking you to wear a mask for the short time you are in our clinic to help protect everybody is not an unrealistic expectation. Your help helps keep us open and thus allows us to continue to help you.

We strive to make our clinic as safe as it can be and it’s most certainly safer than the many other environments that we all need to visit to exist.

We are here to help you and we will do our part to be as safe as we can be. We need you to do your part as well, not just by wearing a mask while at the clinic, but also by living as safely as you can by following simple common-sense advice. That way, you keep yourself, your family and your friends safer as well.

Many of us are frustrated and confused by the arguments and counter arguments we constantly hear about just about anything.  How can expert A argue the complete opposite of expert B? Well it depends in part if they were asked the same question.

So let’s start with something that probably most of us know about - RDA. RDA was introduced around the end of World War Two, to eliminate problems caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as scurvy and rickets. That’s 75 years ago, before most of us were born.

Go to any food store today and you will find examples of what percentage of RDA a particular product provides. (Ask yourself how many other things are still judged today against a 75 year old standard) Not a bad thing in itself, but at the end of WWII, the western world was devastated, there was food rationing and it’s hardly like that today. Unless your diet is particularly bad, you should easily manage to get RDA levels in your diet.

Hence, and quite rightly, you will hear comments like ‘vitamin supplements are a waste of money’, or the one I really like, ‘vitamins just make expensive wee.’ If you are eating a decent diet, all this is true. Provided that is, you are only looking at RDA levels, which are only to prevent sickness.

Fast forward 75 years and our knowledge and understanding in just about everything has grown massively. An example of which is that a group of leading authorities on diet and nutrition in North America created a new nutrition standard, called Optimum Nutrition.

The intent of this new standard is to improve health, the polar opposite of RDA, which was to prevent sickness.

In current times, with the global coronavirus pandemic, can you think of a better time to strengthen your defences?

Now various studies have shown that due to modern intense farming methods, the vitamin and mineral content of today’s fruit and vegetables is a fraction of that in 1945. Combine that with higher levels required for Optimum Nutrition and it soon becomes clear that it is practically impossible to get sufficient vitamins and minerals without supplementation.

Now ask the right question. Do vitamins and minerals just make expensive wee? Not if you understand the purpose of Optimum Nutrition, which is to IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH.

Nicky and I have been taking optimum nutrition levels of supplementation for a number of years, plus we eat a diet which is as healthy as we can make it. Many GP’s we talk to are taking plenty of supplements at the moment, maybe not at optimum nutrition levels, but their intent is clear. Our bodies need every bit of help they can get at the moment.

High quality comparative information on supplements is available in North America and we choose to buy ours from a company that always scores right at the top. They make their own supplements and to pharmaceutical standards, which means you are guaranteed to get precisely what it says on the label.  Most companies do neither.

Generally, the people I talk to are very sceptical about supplements because of what they have heard.  I get that. But what question was being answered?

Breaking News

There are now close 30 studies demonstrating that having optimum blood levels of Vitamin D reduces COVID-19 risks: reduced risk of infection, reduced risk of severe disease, reduced risk of dying.

Many researchers now regard the evidence as overwhelming

While many will say we need more research, ask yourself this: What have you got to lose?


Nicky & I have no financial link to any vitamin manufacturer. This information is provided merely to help you and the choices you make for yourself and those important to you.

It’s very important that we understand the implications of the words we use, as they can have a powerful control of our beliefs and the actions we take. Let’s take the word ‘Health’, a very common word and one with which we in the UK associate very strong beliefs.

Many years ago, it was decided for good reasons that our nation should have a National Health Service. The concept was admirable; government funded health care for all. Having personally lived in countries without their own NHS, and witnessed the inequalities that this causes, I can only say I am immensely proud that we continue to fight for our NHS’s survival.

But if we look deeper into world funding of health, as published by the World Health Organisation, we find that only 3% is spent on prevention, or health, and the other 97% is spent on treating episodes of sickness and injury. It is difficult to justify calling such a service a health service when in fact it is 97% a sickness and injury service.  This is not an intended criticism of the NHS, far from it, it is merely a statement of fact.

Now consider the implications, for a moment, if we had all grown up with exactly the same service, but it had been more accurately called the National Sickness and Injury Service, or NSIS.

Your health is your responsibility and yours alone

For a start, we would not have the belief that our health was somehow somebody else’s responsibility. We would have the reassurance that should something go wrong, we would have an excellent NSIS to call upon, but we would understand our health was fundamentally our responsibility and ours alone.

What impact might it have if we taught our children from day one that it was important to be healthy, to make healthy decisions each and every day, and to take personal responsibility for their own health?  Would the UK have the dishonour of growing fatter faster than any other nation on earth? Would we have 3 million suffering diabetes and another 7 million at risk? Would we have a decreasing life expectancy? Would we have a NSIS which simply can’t cope with the ever increasing demands placed on it?

Some may think this is just a play on words. I disagree. I speak to far too many individuals who believe health care should be free, based solely on their mistaken belief that our NSIS is a free health service. This in turn actually dissuades or even stops people from investing in their own health, which of course eventually places a greater burden on our national service.

I doubt anyone would argue with the merits of a government funded service where the majority was spent on prevention and health. But for now, we need to be realistic and understand we have an admirable service which provides care for episodes of sickness and injury. It is thus up to each of us to accept the responsibility for both our own health and for the next generation.

Accept that responsibility and your actions will inevitably change to lead you and your children to a healthier, happier and longer life.

At Nicky Snazell’s Wellness and Physiotherapy Clinic, we have embraced prevention as better than cure and promote wellness as a core part of our service. If you want to become more proactive about your health, we can help you with a roadmap to that healthier, happier and longer life.

Call now on 01889 881488. Erica and Jean will be happy to help

In ancient times they didn’t have the medical knowledge of the body or the medicine and technology that we take for granted now. But they still had to deal with the sickness, trauma, pain, stress and all the other symptoms of life that we experience today. 

This forced the ancient doctors to use their observational skills and take account of all aspects of the patient’s health; their food, lifestyle, fitness and mental state, when analysing the source of the condition and thus how best to treat it.

Thus, ancient doctors, called Shamans, were our social workers, psychiatrists, surgeons and nurses rolled into one. They used colourful language to describe conditions, for example, mental stress was described in terms of soul energy and demons. They believed patients who had been through a life altering trauma, whether mental and / or physical trauma, may have lost a part of their soul, or damaged their ‘spiritual force field’. In short, they looked at the whole body and its environment.

In todays world, these colourful descriptions might seem superfluous, as we have the benefit of so much more detailed knowledge. The focus of modern medicine, however, is to look at the smallest part, which can then be treated or cut out and replaced. In so doing, we have lost the observational skills of the whole, considering this to be largely irrelevant. Certainly, it is not part of modern medical training and without the benefit of training and understanding, it is often marginalised as ‘quackery’.

This, I believe, is a weakness of modern medicine and certainly there is a growing belief that other factors, not normally considered in modern diagnosis, are of sufficient significance to warrant consideration. Those practitioners who integrate Shamanic principles into their diagnosis are categorised as Holistic. I personally prefer the term Wholistic, as ‘whole’ signifies looking at the whole body and seems more appropriate.

In today’s world, Holistic [integrative] medicine heals the mind as well as the body. Orthodox practitioners, who are also healers, believe our soul essence has a powerful effect on wellbeing and the ability to survive disease. They can walk both paths, one of modern orthodox medicine, one of ancient wisdom, drawing knowledge and techniques from both.

Lifestyle stressors can cause depression and anxiety and will make you vulnerable to illness and bad luck. This is why when stress is part of the problem, you benefit from seeing a medic or therapist who also has an interest in shamanic healing and looking at the ‘whole’.

4 Keys To Health

Understandably, normal folks are likely to be put off by terms such as Shamanic healing and soul energy, as it’s simply not part of our modern thinking or terminology. That’s why I decided to bring these ancient skills into the 21st century and describe them in a way which most would comprehend and thus be more likely to believe.

My first book, The 4 Keys To Health, describes the need to look at the whole person, their mindset, food, fitness and lifestyle. This would include looking at their environment, their family structure and support, their work. To make planning easier, I created a simple red, amber and green traffic light system. Clearly, a person recovering from illness or trauma and with 4 red keys, should be more likely to realise that recovery would be slower than if having 4 green keys.

The principles of my book, however, were no more than a modern-day representation of Shamanic healing, a subject I have studied for most of my life.

When a person has become anxious, a serious and increasing problem in today’s world with a pandemic out of control, I have found that without listening empathetically, without allowing a person to be heard and understood and without applying Shamanic healing, then relief from this stress simply won’t be possible. Listening, combined with the physical touch in a healing, caring way is a truly powerful stimulus to the immune system.

I have just written a blog on such a case, which you can find here.

Japanese Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese form of alternative medicine called energy healing. Reiki practitioners use a technique of hands-on healing through which a “universal energy” is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.

Hands on healing is understandably a difficult concept to understand or even believe. A Reiki practitioner, to be effective, is most likely gifted with an innate healing touch. When being treated by such a practitioner, the patient will sense a calming presence and soothing touch. That connection builds a trusting relationship and a feeling of being looked after and anxiety melts away.

Reiki can be combined with ancient shamanic healing.

If you, or somebody you know, is suffering with anxiety or possibly pain that just won’t heal or is slow to heal, then we can help. Ask for an appointment with Nicky or Dean.

Call 01889 881488 and Erica or Jean will be happy to help

“Mr Roo referred me to you, said you are the clinic of last resort, as you fix problems others don’t or can’t, and he knows you will listen to me.

“I love my grandkids. I love my garden, I love to feed to birds, the hedgehogs, it’s my world, my life.  Right now, I can’t do any of this because it’s agony and I don’t have a life.

I get phone calls from my doctor who prescribes drugs that don’t work. I have just seen a private surgeon at £19 a minute. He didn’t listen to me.  I wanted help, I wanted him to listen, I wanted to know what I could do, who I should see. He just said nothing could be done with total disinterest, that surgery at my age was a waste of time and so was physio.”

Isn’t this sad, no one listened, no one gave her any hope.

“I have a scan, here, look, I don’t understand what it means. Can you help.”

This is what we did…………………

The scan showed a narrowing in a disc and some of it had squashed out like toothpaste, crushing a nerve in a rather arthritic little spinal joint. This little tiny part of her back meant she couldn’t pick up her grandkids, walk far, sleep or bend over gardening.

Detailed assessment showed us where the physical problem was, her general fitness and how she moved (her biomechanics). We needed to gently open up her locked down spinal joint, quell the inflammation in her disc, and release the muscle contracture trapping the nerve.

Just as important as the physical treatment, we also needed to explain how other aspects of her health and mental stress were affecting her and her pain. To do this we explained the 4 Keys to Health: mindset, fitness, food and lifestyle and how a simple red, amber, green traffic light approach could help guide her to take the positive steps to better health. This in turn would help protect her from COVID and her pain.

We gave the patient her life back

After just 3 sessions she was no longer in physical pain and perhaps more importantly, had got her life back, comfortable in the knowledge that she had been listened to and that what was important to her had been understood. In her sessions, we gave:

  • Advice on the relevant keys and how to move to 4 green keys.
  • Counselling to reduce stress/ improve the immune response
  • Laser to ease the pain and help reduce the inflammation.
  • Electroacupuncture to reduce the pain and inflammation
  • IMS dry needling to cut through fascia and remove muscle contracture, taking pressure off the nerves
  • Exercise to help reduce the disc bulge with specific manual mobilisations and robotics
  • Deep oscillation massage to soothingly reduce inflammation further
  • Gentle hands on healing to further boost the response

If you, or somebody you know, is in a situation like this patient and needs our help with physical and/or anxiety, then please call us now – we can help

Call 01889 881488 and Erica or Jean will be happy to help

With the daily media bombardment about COVID, it is no wonder that fear is generally growing.  Fear of the social impact of another lockdown, fear of the uncertainty of our livelihoods and even fear of our very existence. Staffordshire has announced that it will go to Tier 2 at midnight on Friday and this will inevitably raise the fear factor higher.

Mental health has taken a back step with this pandemic and never before in my working life has there been so much anxiety, loneliness and grief hidden away in society.

Your pain, whether physical, mental or both, isn’t going to disappear and many of you are going to need a lot of help in the coming months. Increasingly, we are being asked to help guide people through these difficult times both mentally and spiritually, the latter problems only serving to multiply the actual physical pain.

We Are Staying Open

We know that stress lowers our immunity and raises our sensitivity to pain. Gold standard trials have also proven a relationship between lifestyle stressors and white cell count. What this means is that stress, if left untreated, will slow down your ability to heal, plus worsen your response to pain, inflammation and disease. Yet psychosocial pain is, I believe, wrongly still an afterthought in western medicine, even though more often than not, it holds the key to hidden trauma and deep emotional stress.

At this clinic, we have long recognised the importance of looking at the whole person, rather than just the location of pain. That’s why, even though I am highly qualified in western medical techniques, I have written 5 books on a more holistic approach. In my first book, The 4 Keys To Health, I introduced a simple traffic light scoring system which encompassed the psychosocial factors that affect our health and which can cause so much of our pain.

Our goal is thus to help people in all aspects of their health and never before in my lifetime has there been such an urgent need for this approach. Beyond treating your pain, we wish to get you to as close optimum health as possible to help protect your immune system.

That’s why at the clinic we love to build a relationship with our clients to prescribe a tailor-made treatment plan, working out the best way to help with the mind set and adding in massage, and technology such as laser, shockwave, deep oscillation, acupuncture and IMS dry needling.

Keeping Abreast Of Research

We are constantly monitoring recent research to find new techniques to help. As an example, a recent Harvard trial successfully used electroacupuncture to improve survivability in COVID infected mice. This is highly relevant research, as in some cases it has been shown that it is the human bodies over response to COVID infection which has caused excessive inflammation [cytokine storm], leading in some cases to death. The research findings are significant. Electroacupuncture treatment before the cytokine storm increased survivability by a factor of four, from 20% to 80%. When applied after the cytokine storm, survivability increased by three-fold, from 20% to 60%.  Both are huge benefits and it emphasises the benefit of preventative treatment.

As a result of our integrative approach to treatment, combining orthodox western medicine with alternative, we routinely carry out electroacupuncture here.

For those of you who need our help, we are open and will continue to be open unless forced to close by government ruling.

None of us know how long this pandemic is going to last, but the expectation is that it’s going to be a long time. If the availability of treatment is shut off there is going to be a drastic rise in pain and suffering. We have already seen this in the lockdown with patients begging us to see them. That’s why I believe it is so important that we stay open in the coming months.

Our patients are so grateful that we are here now to help them with their pain, pain they suffered for months without any help during lockdown. They have bombarded us with thanks. We will continue to stay open and help you unless and until the government dictates otherwise. Sadly, the chances are there will be few, if any, alternatives for you.

Control Your Stress Now And Improve Your Resistance To Disease

While the government is correct to react to rises in cases, we each need to keep in perspective what the tier trigger points represent, so that we can keep better control of our stress. Tier 2 is triggered at 100 per 100,000 population. Put another way, on average you would need to get close to 1000 people before you are likely to be near a COVID positive risk. How likely, if you are careful, are you to interface closely with 1000 people, especially in these troubled times? Maintain social distancing and always wear a mask to reduce your chances of infection further.

What does this tell us? Mix only with people you are reasonably sure act sensibly and act sensibly yourself.  Nothing is guaranteed in life, but by acting sensibly and taking all possible precautions, you can use your own positive response to improve your health.

COVID-19 has had a dramatic affect on all our lives and not surprisingly at Nicky Snazell Clinic as well.   Our foremost concern is the safety of patients and staff and we strive to stay fully up to date with the almost daily changes and wherever possible keep ahead of the curve. More on that later.


Even if you are an existing patient, but definitely if you are a new patient, we will take you through a screening process to make sure it is safe and justified for you to come in for treatment. There will be quite a few questions, and we ask you to bear with us on this as it’s all in our best interests. For sure, the questions asked will constantly change in line with latest guidelines. Where the risk is deemed higher, then a more detailed assessment will be needed with a physiotherapist, before treatment can be authorised.

Please note that in cases where you may need to be accompanied, then that person also has to pass screening to be allowed on site.

Changes At The Clinic

All of our 13,000 plus patients will know that our aim has always been to create a welcoming, peaceful and relaxing environment from the moment you walk in the door. Well that of course, to an extent, went out the door when we adjusted rapidly to the pandemic. Our waiting room has been effectively closed and patients are now asked to wait in their cars until their allotted start time. At that point they should come in alone with a face mask on, use the readily available hand sanitiser and their therapist, wearing full PPE, will take them to the treatment room.

At the end of the appointment the therapist will, if necessary, book a follow-on appointment and we then ask that you go to reception, where we have installed protective screens, to pay in advance for the next appointment. To speed this process, we now only take payment by card and by touch whenever possible. Where a payment requires a pin, the terminal is sanitised after use.

We then ask that you leave the clinic immediately as we want to minimise time that patients are in the clinic. Please don’t think we are being rude if we don’t chat as we used to. We are minimising your time on site. We have also staggered the start times between therapists, to avoid multiple patients being on site outside of a treatment room at the same time.


All rooms are sanitised between treatments and thus treatment times will be slightly shorter. In addition, we use a spray which lasts up to 5 hours on surfaces and this is used on all common touch points every 3 hours. Thus, for example, when you open the door to come in, you can be sure that the handle and surrounding woodwork will have been sprayed and is as safe as is practical.

We understand of course that some patients will need to use the toilet and we request that if needed, you first advise us so that we can sanitise after each use. Note, however, that the toilet is also thoroughly sanitised every 3 hours with our 5 hour effective spray. Please try to avoid the need to use our facilities wherever possible.

Your Part

We require that you use a face mask which covers your mouth and nose at all times while inside the clinic. All of the available scientific information supports the need to wear masks inside a building. It is important for each of us to realise that wearing a mask helps protect those around us from us. By not wearing a mask properly, this would be putting our staff at additional risk and this is not acceptable.

Patients at times have found difficulty in wearing a mask, but we politely request that you must do so for the short time on site. Bear in mind that our staff are in full PPE all day to protect you.

Patients who do not comply with this request may be refused further treatment.

We also need your help in running to time. It is vital that you have vacated the treatment room on time, leaving sufficient time for the room to be sanitised. Any overrun will mean that patients will be held in the waiting room and this is not acceptable. 

Payment In Advance

We have changed our payment procedure, as we now ask for payment in full at time of booking and in 99.9% of cases this has been fully understood and accepted. On one or two occasions, however, patients have misunderstood our reasoning for this. We have made this change by necessity, as many patients leave the building immediately after their treatment and it would be totally unworkable for us to have to continuously call patients to take payment. We had to come up with a single system for all, so this change is not a reflection on any one patient.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

Part of our role is to stay up to speed with the ongoing changes caused by our government updates, but in addition, we, and in fact all of us, can choose to operate more safely if we wish. An example would be that last night Scotland announced that most COVID-19 infections were caused by meeting people from outside our household within our homes and thus banned this. In England a more relaxed position has been taken. It is, however, up to us to decide which position is more in our best interest. If we at the clinic feel it worthwhile to use more strict guidelines to help protect all, then we reserve the right to do so.

Having lived in the USA twice, I personally check in on their news channels and in particular I look for information from Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the USA’s leading disease expert, having been advisor to the last six Presidents. He talks more openly and simply than we tend to get in the UK. He is also completely apolitical and is only interested in scientific proof.  There is also a wealth of real world, scientifically based information put out by Dr Sanjay Gupta.

Yesterday Dr Gupta interviewed Dr Fauci and for those who want a better insight and understanding of where we are right now, then I recommend you watch the interview on YouTube.

For those who don’t have time to watch this, here are some snippets:

  • Dr Fauci is optimistic that a vaccine may be ready for approval by November or December, based on the limited results available in the small-scale phase one and two trials. But, and this is a big but, the all important large scale phase 3 trials are double blind, placebo controlled trials and so even he has no idea what the current results are. In fact, nobody does, except one or two statisticians who see unblinded results. In simple terms, a double blind trial means that only the statisticians know who is getting the placebo and who is getting the vaccine being tested, not even the manufacturers, as the trial is conducted by an independent group. This is the gold standard for scientific testing and is not something that can be politically manipulated.
  • The best advice is that we must all wear face masks if social distancing can’t be maintained.
  • What we didn’t know a few months ago was that 40% to 45% of COVID positive people were asymptomatic, nor were we aware that a substantial proportion of the infections were coming from those who were without symptoms. That makes it overwhelmingly important to wear a mask.
  • There is a suggestion that some of the virus droplets in the air may be light enough to hang around and circulate, thus acting as an aerosol. The facts are we don’t know yet, but in many respects, it doesn’t matter. It just emphasises the advice given: wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid crowds, wash hands regularly, ventilate rooms.
  • Yes, the elderly are more at risk, but people with underlying conditions, at any age, are at risk.

The overwhelming issue is that we all need to get on with our lives while we minimise our risk during this pandemic. We believe we are taking every possible step to minimise that risk and that we have created a far safer environment than most.

Take care, be safe, think of others

Some of you may remember the time when there was a national outcry about the so-called ‘post code lottery’ with the treatment on offer from the NHS varying dependent on where you lived.

Subsequently a new organisation, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) was setup to take responsibility for authorising which treatments should be made available in the NHS. Those treatments approved were then to be made available by the NHS equally to everybody and thus put an end to the so-called post code lottery.

NICE thus has essentially total control of what the NHS can and cannot offer. Their published guidelines are broadcast by the press, radio and TV and as such the general public are influenced by the NICE recommendations. This in turn has an indirect impact on private healthcare providers, as the public perception on what is good, bad and ugly will align with what they see and read in the media.

Acupuncture In The NHS

Over recent years acupuncture acceptance in the NHS has generally been in decline, with some regions considering it quackery, using the NICE guidelines as support, while others still considered it a valuable treatment. Some of our own therapists who worked part time with us, and full time at the NHS, reported being banned from using acupuncture in the NHS and they came to us to retain their skills in what they considered a beneficial treatment.

Back Pain and Acupuncture

For a number of years NICE considered acupuncture as a Gold standard treatment for back pain. Then this decision was reversed, and acupuncture was considered as ineffective in treating back pain and this situation has persisted until recently. This was equivalent to swinging from the top end of a scale to the bottom.

New NICE Guidelines

On 3rd August 2020, NICE published a draft clinical guideline

“commonly used drugs for chronic primary pain have little or no evidence that they work and should not be prescribed. Instead it recommended that people with chronic pain should be offered supervised exercise programmes, some types of psychological therapy, or acupuncture”

Now this situation is nothing new. It has been known for years that the prescription of some drugs, such as opiates, are ineffective with chronic pain and yet have been overprescribed to the extent that it has caused an opiate dependency crisis. In the USA, the majority of drug addicts have been created by prescription drugs. Think about that for a minute. Ok, it is not so bad here in the UK, but the issues are the same.

Until the COVID pandemic hit us worldwide, the opiate crisis was very high profile and during that time Nicky was asked by 30 radio stations across the USA to speak and advise on other methods for treating chronic pain.  In this she talked about the evidence of the inappropriateness of certain drugs on chronic pain and at the same time talked of the benefits and success she had seen when using acupuncture and even more so with dry needling. With over 13,000 patients and 30 years of treating, she had had a massive opportunity to see the evidence of the benefits of needling. So much so that we have quietly ignored NICE guidelines at her clinic.

NICE To Know We Were Right

So now NICE has done it’s second U turn and acupuncture is recommended again for chronic pain, something we have persisted with throughout our existence. Of course, it’s far too early to know what impact this will have on the NHS.  While we would like it to be lifted out of the quackery branding, this will take quite some time, no doubt. That, however, is not our concern.

What Does It Mean For You?

For those who have been to our clinic for treatment, some travelling hundreds of miles or more, you will have most likely experienced our acupuncture skills. Some of you will have experienced and gained the benefits of dry needling.

For sure, the media is going to be talking about the benefits of treating chronic pain with acupuncture. That in turn is going to increase the demand for this type of treatment and raise the confidence level in the general public that this type of treatment can help them.  This in itself is of tremendous importance as a positive mindset is so important to outcome.

Better yet, we can offer more effective treatments for chronic pain and at the very highest level available in the world.

Nicky Snazell is trained to the highest level in GunnIMS and worked directly with Professor Gunn, the forefather of todays dry needling. She has taught IMS internationally and is teaching her skills to the team at our clinic.

We have also recently added Jon Hobbs to our team. Jon is Chairman of the UK’s Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP), the body responsible for setting the standards of acupuncture training for all physiotherapists in the UK, whether private or in the NHS. Jon is also one of the worlds’ leading acupuncture trainers and is passing his knowledge to our team during in house training.

The benefit to you is that you can be sure that our clinic has skills and knowledge which is at the very highest level in the UK. And now we have national support ………. again.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering chronic pain, then please contact us. We can help.

Due to changes announced by the Government on 3rd June, we will now be able to offer treatment by David, Dean or myself from 1st July.

There are changes to be COVID19 compliant so please read this.

But you no longer need to be in pain.


I am pleased to let you know that I plan to re-open my clinic for a limited number of either face to face or virtual (video) consultations from Wednesday 1st July. This will be in line with guidelines set out by Public Health England (PHE), COVID-19 Infection, Prevention & Control (IPC) and my professional body, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). 

We have installed a new system in the clinic to allow virtual consultations. These have been tested and shown to be an acceptable alternative, in some cases, to face to face treatments. 

The clinic will be initially reopening with myself, David or Dean on Mondays and Wednesdays. Opening times and staff availability will expand as demand increases. 

Please be advised that Sarah has sadly left us and taken a position outside of physiotherapy. We wish her well. 

As you will expect, both for your safety as a client and for the safety of my practitioners, considerable measures must be put in place which will greatly change the way that face to face consultations are carried out: 

1. COVID-19 Symptoms Check 

Clients must not attend if they are suffering, or have suffered, from any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 7 days, or have come into contact with anyone suffering any symptoms in the last 14 days. 

2. Screening 

Every new client will be required to follow a 2-step process before a face to face consultation can take place: 

  • Telephone triage – a short free call to establish what the problem is and confirm that neither you or anybody else in your household is suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. Questions like: are you feeling unwell, have fatigue, a fever, lost your sense of smell. 
  • Virtual assessment – questions to establish if you are deemed in a high-risk group to this virus; questions like, are you very overweight, a diabetic, have cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, any medical reasons why your immune system will be depleted. 

Then we would be asking specific questions about your problem to make a provisional diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that may include coming in for hands-on treatment. 

For existing clients, a brief screening questionnaire should be answered over the phone or during your virtual consult, before booking a face to face appointment to confirm if you or a member of your household have COVID-19 symptoms. 

Questions like, are you feeling unwell, have fatigue, a fever, lost your sense of smell. 

For those clients not currently in pain, but would welcome advice on Wellness, a virtual consultation may be an attractive alternative, as it requires zero travel or risk. 

3. Appointment Duration: 

Face to face consultations will be 25 minutes, or a double session 50 to 55 minutes. The treatment time will be shortened slightly to allow time for cleaning. This will avoid increasing prices to cover extended sessions purely for cleaning. 

4. Maintaining a Safe Environment. 

When you attend a face to face consultation, please note: 

  • Hand sanitizer or handwashing must be used on arrival and departure. 
  • You will be required to wear a face mask to further protect you. 
  • We will be treating in PPE (mask, apron, gloves). 
  • You will not be able to wait within 2 metres of another client inside the clinic whilst social distancing is in force. Alternatively, you may wait in your car. 
  • Only one person will be allowed in the clinic room at a time with the therapist (carers/guardians attending the clinic only by prior agreement). 
  • Where another person is required to provide transport for the client, that person will be required to wait in the car. 
  • Clients cannot bring children with them. 

5. Prices and Payment 

• Our prices remain unaltered, although there will be slightly shorter treatment times to allow for cleaning. 

• All virtual consultations will be charged at face to face rate per 30-minute session. 

• I regret your virtual or face to face appointment will not be confirmed without payment in advance by card or BACS. This is due to the limited number of appointments on offer when we start phase one of opening. 

• No refunds on missed appointments or cancellations without 48 hours’ notice. 

• Any cancellation by the clinic will be fully refunded. 

6. Treatment 

We will be offering the following treatments: 

  • Acupuncture and Gunn IMS dry needling for pain 
  • Shockwave for painful tendons 
  • Laser for pain relief 
  • Joint mobilisation/manipulation for stiff painful joints and spinal discs 
  • Pulsed short wave for inflammation and pain 
  • Deep Oscillation Therapy for pain relief, swelling, stiff joints & tissue 
  • Exercise Prescription & Sports Rehabilitation & Biomechanics 

7. Post Treatment 

Ongoing appointments will not be booked on site. They must be booked by telephone during the opening hours of the clinic, starting as Mondays & Wednesdays only as of 1st July. As the appointment has been prepaid, this allows you to leave the clinic as soon as your treatment is finished. 

Should you require a face to face consultation with myself or the team and agree with the conditions set out above, we will start with a phased return taking provisional bookings from Wednesday July 1st. Please contact me via email or telephone; 01889 881488 

Virtual consultations may be booked instead of live face to face if we deem it unwise for you to attend due to poor health. 

Keep safe, healthy and active. 

Remember your 4 Keys To Health: healthy mind, diet, body and lifestyle. 

Warm Wishes 

Nicky Snazell 


Consultant Pain Physiotherapist 

For more information and address; 

Dry Needling Is Emerging As An Alternative To

Opioids: Style Magazine Newswire 12/12/2019

Maybe a sports injury is the problem. Maybe arthritis or some other health condition is the culprit. Regardless of the cause, nearly 20 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, worrying every day about flare-ups that interfere with their enjoyment of life. While many people turn to painkillers as their first line of defence, others are finding relief in opioid-free methods, such as dry needling.


“Many people view their pain as being a bad thing in itself, but actually it is nature’s warning system, meant to protect us” says Nicky Snazell, a physiotherapist and author of ‘The 4 Keys To Health’ and other books. “We need to heed that warning and address the real cause of the problem, not just look for ways to mask the symptoms.”


While Snazell says painkillers have their place, she prefers an integrative approach to combating pain, combining the most potent aspects of medicine with complementary therapies. Dry needling is one of the methods she’s a proponent of and regularly practices.


For those unfamiliar, here’s how the Mayo Clinic describes dry needling: A thin monofilament needle penetrates the skin and treats underlying muscular trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

Snazell practices what is known as the GunnlMS method, which also uses dry needling to treat neuropathic pain.


Some professional athletes, such as NBA star Anthony Davis, have turned to dry needling to help them overcome troublesome conditions such as back spasms.


Research indicates that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalises dysfunction of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. This can help speed up the patients return to active rehabilitation.


“Dry needling is used as part of wider physiotherapy treatment and succeeds where other treatments fail”, says Snazell, who for over three decades has performed dry needling with success on thousands of patients in the UK.

A few points the American Physical Therapy Association says patients should know about dry needling include:


  • The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of muscle. Other terms commonly used

to describe dry needling include trigger point dry needling and intramuscular manual therapy.

  • Although there are similarities, dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is based on modern Western-based medicine principles and supported by research. (There has been controversy in this area though,

with acupuncturists in some states trying to block physical therapists from using the procedure, saying they are infringing on the acupuncturists’ turf}.


  • Physical therapists who perform dry needling obtain specific postgraduate education and training. When contacting a physical therapist for dry needling treatment, the association says, ask about their specific experience and education.


Beyond dry needling, medication, and other pain relief therapies, Snazell says those battling pain can also ease some of their sufferings through lifestyle changes.


“We need to realise that many causes of pain are self-inflicted and can be easily avoided,” she says. “Find ways to lower your  stress  level. Change your diet to avoid such things as processed foods and excess sugar. Exercise regularly. All of these activities can play a role in helping you to reduce your pain and get more enjoyment out of life.”