Advanced Kambo Practitioner

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IAKP Advanced Practitioners with Principal trainer Karen Darke


So at the end of last year I had the pleasure and the privilege of being invited to do my Advanced Kambo Practitioner training with the IAKP. This consisted of a small group of us who had been working with Kambo quite extensively during the past few years. It was lovely to see some of my Kambo brothers and sisters again and to meet some new faces, all of whom are working so diligently on this path of frog medicine.

The course consisted of learning different ways of working more skillfully with Kambo. Especially using it to help people with drug and alcohol addictions, working with people on anti-depressants and people with cancer diagnosis and other serious conditions. As well as creating specialist protocols and treatment plans and energetic practice.

There was a lot to take in but I enjoyed developing my knowledge, and really resonated with the energetic practices. I’m looking forward to incorporating these new skills into my treatments.

I will be starting Kambo circles again in Bristol in April and will be back in the Bournemouth/Poole area in early May. Please contact me for more information or to book a place. Viva Kambo!



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Herb Walk & Workshop with Nevada Naturales



The cortijo built by Pete & Sue

Nevada Naturales popped up on Trip Advisor whilst I was researching my holiday to the Alpujarras region of Southern Spain. They’re based near the charming spa town of Lanjaron and offer wildflower and foraging walks, herbal, soap making and artisan bread and cheese making workshops and are huge proponents of organic gardening and self-sufficiency. 13654261_10153754255467045_4455839619573636527_n

Luckily for me they had availability on their forthcoming wildflower walk and herbal workshop. Un-luckily for me I fell six foot off a mountain a few days beforehand taking a big chunk out of my left heel and making it difficult to walk. Very kindly Sue of Nevada Naturales arranged for her husband Pete to collect me from the town and take me up to their house whilst the others went walking.


Organic gardening Alpujarran style.

I was completely enchanted by the piece of paradise that Sue and Pete have worked so hard to create. Terraces laden with delicious fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables all spill down the mountain with some of these delectable goodies finding their way to restaurants and retreat centers across the region.

Their place is totally off-grid; electricity from solar panels and snow melt off the Sierra Nevadas channels down through the extensive acequia system filling water tanks for the gardens. Pete has built the most luxurious compost toilet I’ve ever had the pleasure of using as well as a reed bed to filter used water. Very impressive!

A wonderful lunch was served on the terrace when the others returned – delicious home grown, home made food before the workshop aspect of the day began. Sue instructed us in how to make a skin cream using beeswax and a selection of aroma therapy oils. I chose to use camomile, rose and frankincense which produced a fabulous balm for my skin suffering from the roasting Spanish sunshine.


Sue Rodgers

It was such a lovely day. Sue and Pete are excellent hosts making us all feel very welcome and comfortable. Their extensive knowledge and beliefs manifest in the exquisite oasis that they’ve built. It was a great group, lots of fun and we learnt loads of practical information.


Group Photo

Also, I’m a huge dog lover and enjoyed lots of cuddles with their dog Rastus who despite my best efforts, refused to pose properly for my camera. Well they do say never work with kids and animals!

And just to make me fall in love with Nevada Naturales even more, they hold an open day every year to raise funds for Valle Verde animal rescue. This year – their open day is Sunday 25th September. A great opportunity to see and hear about their work, share their warm hospitality and raise money for a fabulous cause.


Rastus – evidently not ready for his close-up!






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Advance Ear Acupuncture Course


Back in May I was assisting my ear acupuncture teacher, Samantha Terry of the Chu Len College of Sustainable Health at the Walsall Palliative Care Unit in the West Midlands. This incredible unit that does such valuable work has a small team of  people who offer aromatherapy, auricular acupuncture, massage and reiki to patients. This can really help reduce the symptoms and stresses of chemotherapy and surgery.

The great thing about this is that because it’s the NHS, they have to have regular audits and are able to prove that their services, especially the ear acupuncture, are working. In fact, so impressive are the results that whilst we were there, a visiting team of Doctors from Sweden was touring the unit to see what they learn and how to help improve care for people at the end of life be more comfortable.

I did my Basic Ear Acupuncture course with Sam last year and have really enjoyed working with this system. It’s a quick and easy way to help people and is easily done in a group environment and with minimal equipment. A basic 5 point ear acupuncture protocol, also known as the NADA protocol is very frequently used in rehab clinics as it’s effective at reducing cravings, stress and anxiety and helping the body to detox.

On the advanced level course, we learned many more points to treat such things as Hepatitis and enhancing liver function, ADHD, OCD, eating disorders, pain, mental health conditions and internal organ function. We also learned some new needling techniques such as threading and letting.

Since my return I have also joined the steering group of Acudetox Plus UK – an acupuncture school based in Bristol which specialises in teaching service users and providers in the rehab and detox environments.

Acudetox Plus will be at various events offering taster ear acupuncture sessions including at Redfest, Bristol on 6th August and the Recovery Festival, Bristol on the 2nd September. They have a Level One course starting in Bristol on the 1st October.

I was also interviewed recently on air for the Backchat radio show broadcast on  Bristol BCFM 93.2 on 3rd July 2016  Here’s the link if you missed it……I’m in at 31.20 mins.

Backchat is also broadcast on community radio stations in the following places- Glastonbury, Taunton, Penzance, Plymouth, Reading, Preston, Hertfordshire, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leicester, Lincoln and West Hull.



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The Recovery Festival – Bristol.


I joined my first Committee meeting of the Bristol Recovery Festival yesterday. The event is a celebration of the achievements of people in recovery from alcohol and drugs. Due to it’s growth, this year it’s being held at the Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street, Bristol.

The event is created by the NHS, Bristol Drugs Project, Bristol City Council, ARA, and of course with valuable input from the service users. It will feature guest speakers, taster sessions, stalls, live music including the BDP choir, entertainment, art, food and drink, merchandise and local services.

I will be there giving ear acupuncture as part of Acudetox Plus UK who are an acupuncture school who offer training to service users and providers in this amazingly versatile and effective therapy. Ear acupuncture has proved very successful in reducing cravings whilst detoxing as well as addressing stress, pain and anxiety. It’s widely used in many detox and rehab environments…

I’m also co-ordinating the Wellbeing services to be offered on the day and we also have Teresa Nash of the Community Clinic coming in to offer Reiki and Indian Head Massage. She is well acquainted with the venue as the Clinic offers regular low cost sessions at the Church in massage and reflexology as well….

We’re also hoping to offer yoga and shiatsu but watch this space for confirmation on that!

Here’s a link to a short video made about the festival by the talented Pete Singleton of Brave Percy Media….




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The History of Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture




Auricular acupuncture is what is sometimes referred to as a microsystem of acupuncture, where the whole body can be treated through a single part. There are over 200 points on the ear which relate to various body parts and systems. When these points are stimulated through needling, touch or electronic stimulation, they trigger electrical impulses which are relayed by the brain and create healing in the related areas.

Auricular acupuncture has its origins in the ancient Chinese practise of classical acupuncture. The importance of the ear first being described in the text “The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine” which details practises in use around 500 BC, it shows how acupuncture channels circulate round or close to the ear and also how the ear is connected to the internal organs and can be used to diagnose disease.

Following a demise in traditional medicine in the 19th century, Mao Tse Tsung encouraged the revival of acupuncture after the Communist revolution, where it became part of the orthodox medical system. In 1958, Dr Paul Nogier visited China following his extensive research in auricular therapy using a Western Scientific approach and re-vitalised auricular acupuncture in China where a more traditional approach using the energetic principals of the five elements, herbs and yin and yang were applied.

There are some discrepancies in the positioning of the points between the Chinese and Western based systems.

The Western history of auricular acupuncture owes much of its existence to the brilliance and diligence of Dr Paul Nogier, a neurologist from Lyon in France. In 1950 he observed cauterisation scars in the ears of some of his patients who had been treated by a lay practitioner, Mme Barrin who had used a certain point in the ear to successfully treat sciatica. She had learnt this from her father who worked as a doctor in China and had learnt it from the Chinese.

Dr Nogier used the technique on his own patients, also with great success and due to an unwillingness to scar people with cauterisation, went onto experiment with using acupuncture needles. Dr Nogier had previously trained with Soulie de Morant, the French consul who brought acupuncture to the West from China following his time there between 1907 – 1927 and subsequently trained many doctors in its techniques.

Dr Nogier conducted comprehensive research in the following years mapping the points and their related parts, basing his system on an inverted foetus with the head represented by the ear lobe and the feet at the top of the external ear and developing very precise charts. His aforementioned visit to China in 1958 had a great influence on the re-awakening of this knowledge there. In 1975, he began to teach what he knew, whilst continuing his research on the use of electrical and magnetic treatments. The use of auricular acupuncture in treating pain, chronic conditions and in detox situations has continued to grow and has an exciting future. The American Army are now working with it to use on soldiers in extreme pain. Dr Nogier died in 1996 but his work is continued by his son Raphael Nogier.


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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol

Like a lot of people I’ve been shocked and saddened to see the images of the dead children washing up on the shores of the Eastern Mediteranean beaches and to hear of the desperate plight of the 3 – 4,000 refugees camped in Calais with precious little food, shelter or sanitation. I find it hard to comprehend that this is happening in 21st Century Europe – an area of great priveledge and wealth. Migrants-demonstrate-near-to-the-Jungle-camp-on-the-outskirts-of-Calais-northern-France

I also share the disgust felt by many on hearing the torrents of bile spewed out by mainstream media that aims to de-humanize these people and stress the inconvenience experienced by tourists, transport operators and the drain on the economy. Heaven forbid! Yet they fail to mention the inconveniences experienced by these refugees who are fleeing droughts, dictatorships and wars. Arguably contributed to by Western foreign policy.

Meanwhile, refugees suffocate in lorries and drown in flimsy boats in their efforts to breach Fortress Europe and reach safety whilst our politicians split hairs about what to call them and do little to help. These people – migrants, refugees, asylum seekers are human beings too FFS! People reaching out for help after enduring much suffering and have been failed badly.

Yet no more, although just a drop-in the hungry sea, a groundswell of support across Europe is growing, created by everyday people like you and me who are sick of the authoritie’s inaction. Solidarity groups are springing up hourly and people are joining en mass, people are opening their homes and the donations are beginning to roll in.

Feeling grateful to take some positive action, I went to my first meeting of the Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol group last night. Naively, I thought this would just be about arranging collections of blankets, tents and clothes. I didn’t realise there was so much to consider. You can’t just rock up with a van load of stuff to the Jungle camp as distribution would not be even and you may not even be taking the right stuff.

The local group are working hard to set up collection points for donations as well as having a fundraising site to collect monies to send over to support local charities working in the area such as Association Salam, Secours Catholique Calais and Doctors of the World who are so short of funds they may have to pull out soon. Financial donations are also required to cover transport costs to get stuff over there and to buy items like food and building materials locally.

A fundraising gig for the 17th September at the Plough in Easton is being organised. Interviews are being arranged with local media to spread the word and designers are hastily creating flyers and graphics for collection tins and posters. 11885740_10153039411487633_7972209201197438130_o

Conditions in the jungle sound pretty dire – they have just four standpipes which are currently surrounded by two feet of dirty water which people have to stand in whilst drawing on it.  Four taps – between 3 -4,000 people? I have more than that in my home and that’s just for me. There is little drainage in the camp creating floods which will only get worse as the weather turns. There are few solid structures let alone heating and although many tents have been donated, I would not wish my worst enemy to endure the cold and wet of a Northern European winter in a flimsy tent last used at a summer festival.

There are around 3,500 people at the camp and the French Government provides 2,500 meals per day. People here are hungry, cold and wet. There is precious little infrastructure and the charities there are struggling to cope. Volunteers are needed there – to help build shelters, dig drainage ditches and to help with medical needs.


If you’re not able to volunteer help at the camp, there are many other ways in which you can help if you feel inspired to. Can your church/ mosque/ temple/ synagogue/ school/ community group get involved?

Join a local group, most of which are joining with central groups such as CalAid and Calais – People to People Solidarity – Action From the UK. A map of local groups can be found here:

The Facebook group of the local Bristol group which has lots of useful info under the “files” section can be found here. Please also please read FAQ to avoid duplicating requests for info. They have sub-groups for convoys and collections; fundraising; media and publicity and campaigns and networks if you can get involved in any of those activities.

Their fundsurfer page can be found here:

It was stressed how important it was to collect and send relevant and required items for the camps. These change weekly and it’s recommended to keep checking on this. I found this list on the Bristol group facebook page:


An Amazon wish list has also been created for items needed:

And the Independent published this article on ways to help refugees:

And of course signing any petitions and writing to your local MP are also important as a changing policy here is vital to securing long term change.

There is also a National Day of Action planned for the 12th September. Join “Stand up to Racism” at midday at the Fountains in Bristol City Center.

This is the largest crisis in migration in Europe since the Second World War. Please do whatever you can to help. Thank you.




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