As someone who is fearful of needles, I don't really know what possessed me to try out acupuncture - but I am glad I did. 

Often seen as an 'alternative medicine', acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine.

Fine needles are inserted at specific places in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.

Where better to try it than at Ginsen, a Chinese health centre in Kensington, which first opened in Swiss Cottage in 2006?

The clinic actually specialises in infertility and says it has a high success rate.

Its also treats skin disorders, helps people who are looking to lose weight, those with gut issues, and offers simple relaxing therapies.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Louis Tian with founder of GinSen Dr Lily LiLouis Tian with founder of GinSen Dr Lily Li (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

I was curious to know if acupuncture could cure my sciatica or even identify something I didn't know I had.

Afterwards I'd booked a deep tissue massage, which I thought might also help.

Dr Lily Li, Ginsen's founder and chief, said Chinese medicine comes from thousands of years of tradition.

Born in Yangzou, China, she comes from five generations of doctors. "People have a second chance with Chinese medicine if they don't get answers from their Western practice," she told me.

Brent & Kilburn Times: A doctor at GinSen checking customer's pulse as part of the consultationA doctor at GinSen checking customer's pulse as part of the consultation (Image: GinSen)

According to the clinic, Chinese medics can gauge heart and liver function just by looking at someone's tongue, and identify issues just looking at a patient's ear.

The doctor seeing me spoke little English and I had even less Chinese so we communicated using a translation app.

He said there was "too much Qi" in my liver, which can cause abdominal pain and pain in the legs, among other things, and the acupuncture would clear that.

I was taken to a room, undressed down to my underwear and lay on the bed.

Brent & Kilburn Times:  A treatment room at GinSen in Kensington where you don't need to move from if you have acupuncture and a massage A treatment room at GinSen in Kensington where you don't need to move from if you have acupuncture and a massage (Image: GinSen)

I thought it would hurt, but it didn't. I did feel pressure when the needles went into my crown, but not the ones in my ear, arm, hands, fingers, chest, stomach and legs.

He then put a heater over me, lodged a call button in my palm in case I became too hot or got distressed, switched off the light, and left.

Brent & Kilburn Times: GinSen sells multiple health products from their clinic in KensingtonGinSen sells multiple health products from their clinic in Kensington (Image: GinSen)

I had no idea what to expect so I just surrendered to it. I could feel the needles tingling in my crown and idly wondered if it meant anything, then told my mind to keep quiet.

After 30 minutes someone came, took the needles out and offered me water, which I gratefully accepted.

I then turned on my front on the same bed and a massage therapist came in. I have had various different massages before but this was my first deep tissue treatment.

Brent & Kilburn Times: A massage therapist at workA massage therapist at work (Image: GinSen)

With a firm hand, the therapist released the tightness in my back, caused by hunching over at my desk.

She pulled my body this way and that, using her own body as leverage. It did feel exactly what I needed until she got to the sciatica in my leg.

Oh my giddy um, she located the point in my buttock from which the pain travels down my leg to my knee, and the pain shot everywhere in a red hot explosion.

Days later I was still hobbling, but now with a renewed sense of wellbeing. 

But you know what, ever since my double treatment, I can go to the cinema or theatre in the evening and no longer get pins and needles in my legs and feet.

Something I have heard described as restless legs used to make me fidget in a really humiliating manner while everyone else sat still. No more.

That, if anyone knows that feeling, is blissful magic. 

If it ever it returns I know exactly where I will go.

Ginsen can be found at Kensington Church Street and King's Road, Chelsea.
Acupuncture is available from £65 and deep tissue from £55.