"There is no political solution"

“There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution
We are spirits in the material world”

The Police wrote this song back in 1981 but it is as relevant today as ever.

It’s so easy to feel disillusioned with the state of the world.

- Climate change out of control
- Corrupt politicians
- Corporate greed

We definitely need people fighting for our rights and campaigning for a better future.

But nothing changes in the world unless individuals change from within.

Climate change is a great example. Mass destruction of the planet only happens because we have forgotten that we are one with nature.

When I first had Five Element Acupuncture, the challenges of life had pushed me to numb my emotions. The treatment put me back in touch with a deep part of myself that I had almost forgotten.

This is hard to put into words but it’s why our patients like Hana Yacoub say things like:

“Acupuncture is not an alternative medication, it is a discovery of the power within”

Five Element Acupuncture actually comes from Japan and Korea and escaped the cultural revolution in China. For this reason it retains the original spiritual roots of acupuncture and the ancient Daoist wisdom. It recognises that if you help people to reconnect with the peace within, you create the conditions for true healing to occur. Western science is catching up with this too now and acknowledges that most chronic illness is linked to stress.

What's more, healing on a global level has to start with each of us as individuals.

We’re looking for the next generation of Five Element Acupuncturists to keep this medicine thriving. It’s not for everyone. For a start you need to be prepared to look deep into yourself. If we want to help people transform spiritually we have to do the work ourselves.

But if this sounds like an exciting challenge then becoming a Five Element Acupuncturist could be one of the best decisions you ever make. It certainly was for me.

You can read more about how I discovered Five Element Acupuncture here:


We’re holding an open evening for our next Apprenticeship in Five Element Acupuncture.

You’ll receive an introductory lesson so you can find out about our experiential approach. You’ll also get the chance to ask any questions and talk to current and past students.

When: Thursday 10th October, 6.00 - 9.00pm
Where: Maida Vale, London W9

To reserve your place at the open evening, click here:


The event is free to attend, but we require a £25 deposit to secure your place.

More details of the course are available here:


If you've got any questions just email us at:


Best wishes,

Michael Arnold and Gabriella Doran
Joint Principals of Five Element Acupuncture Training

Note: If you come to the open day and decide that studying with us is not for you, the deposit is refunded to you. If you do decide to study with us, the deposit goes towards the application fee. If you pay the deposit but don’t turn up to the open evening, we can’t give a refund.

We use a company called GoCardless for our online payments. The payment is taken by Direct Debit and takes up to 5 working days to process. All payments are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.

Our Latest Fertility Figures

Under 40: 

Between 2013 and 2018, 57% (28/49) of women under 40 who competed a full 6 month programme with us were able to have a baby. 

82% of these patients we aged 36 - 39. 

21% of those who were successful with us in this group were also having IVF. 

Age 40 - 44: 

Between 2013 and 2018, 24% (5/21) of women age 40-44 who competed a full 6 month programme with us were able to have a baby. 

The average age of the women who were successful with us in this category was 43 

40% of those who were successful with us in this group were also having IVF. 

Acupuncture student chronicles

“I’m loving treating patients Michael. It so amazing what we do.” Jack beamed when I saw him on Friday. 

Jack has just graduated from our school and he’s already set up his clinic at home. He also comes into the school every Friday for ongoing support. We offer this to our graduates because we’ve know the first year in practice can be challenging. We’ve seen too many people give up because they didn’t get the support they needed. 

Jack’s a great example of the kind of student we look for. He’s passionate about helping people with Five Element Acupuncture and he’s put in consistent effort to get where he is. 

Our most recent students started in September. Already they’re doing practice diagnosis sessions with people who will be their first patients this October. 

Our training is rooted in practical learning and we get our students treating patients as soon as possible. It’s a bit like learning to drive a car - no amount of being told how to drive a car will prepare you for actually driving one. 

Jack learned from the beginning that books alone would not get him there. He had to learn how to make a diagnosis using his senses. He learned that the most important skills passed down from the ancient Chinese are: 

To Ask
To Hear
To See
To Feel 

Jack didn’t need to spend to time on academic exercises like writing dissertations or learning research skills. 

Some people want to learn using a more academic approach. We respect this. However if you want to spend more time reading books than learning from nature and your patients then our course is probably not for you. 

That’s not to say our training is easy. Jack was challenged to grow and stretch right from the start. Self reflection and the ability to look deeply into yourself is vital. If you want to be present with your patients’ deepest feelings, you need to be able to sit with your own. Jack dared to step beyond his comfort zone and confront his fears so he can serve his patients’ deepest needs. 

Anna's Story

"I’d pretty much given up on having a second child… I was deeply sceptical at first"

At age 43, and after 3 years of trying for a second child, Anna was “shocked” to find out she was pregnant with Ludo. But it was the changes in "my own sanity and physical health" that really kept her coming back for treatment with us. She tells her story in the video below. 

Rewire your brain for happiness

iStock brain.jpg

A recent research study shows that acupuncture may work by creating long term changes in your brain cells. 

The research carried out by Richard Harris, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, compared real acupuncture with placebo acupuncture. 

The researchers were expecting the effects of real acupuncture on the brain to be similar to placebo acupuncture, but more pronounced. 

What he found was that the real acupuncture had a totally different effect on the brain cells. 

While placebo acupuncture simply triggered a short term spike in endorphins (feel good and pain killing chemicals), real acupuncture actually changed the brain cells in the long term so they were more receptive to the endorphins. 

This explains why people experience a lasting sense of wellbeing from having acupuncture. It also explains why cortisol levels are lowered in the long term and not just the short term. 

It also goes some way to explaining why our patients say things like: 

“When I first started acupuncture I had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was at my lowest point both physically and mentally. Both the treatment and personal care that I have received from Gabriella has put me back on the road to well being and health - a place I was scared I would never get to again. I can't believe how well I am feeling now. I didn't realise the power of acupuncture on mind, body and spirit - and will not lose it from my life again.”

- Katy, London NW6

If you’d like to find out if you’re a good fit for our help just email me at:


Please include:

- Your phone number
- A good time to reach you

I set aside some time each week to do informal assessments over the phone.

With my 20 years experience in both Neuroscience and Acupuncture, I am often able to see things that your doctor may have missed.

I look forward to talking to you.

Michael Arnold
BSc Neuroscience LicAc.

If IVF hasn't work for you, this might be why

According to data released by the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority 71% of all IVF cycles end in failure.

Recent research has shown that prolonged high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associates with lower pregnancy rates for women having IVF.

The researchers conclude:

"These findings provide preliminary evidence that longer term systemic cortisol may influence reproductive outcomes; and in turn suggests that interventions to reduce cortisol prior to commencing IVF could improve treatment outcomes."

Source: US National Library of Medicine

Average UK couple spends £11,378 on IVF

Recent research commissioned by Fertility Network UK shows that on average couples end up spending £11,378 on IVF, and one in ten couples pay over £30,000. 

NHS funding for IVF is becoming a postcode lottery, with 52% of areas only offering one round of IVF. 

IVF and the NHS: the parents navigating fertility's postcode lottery:


Our clients see a 77% success rate for women under 40 with unexplained infertility, even if IVF has failed previously. 

Our methods are shown to reduce cortisol levels.

The national average success rate for IVF in the UK is 32%, if you are under 35. If you are between 35 and 37 this falls to 27.3%.

Note: if you have unexplained infertility the IVF success rate is only about 2 - 3 % higher than this. I did some research into this that you can find here.


“You have unexplained infertility. IVF has a high chance of working for you.” 

Many of my patients report that their fertility specialist has told them this. But the data does not support this claim. 

Click the button below to find out more:

IVF only 2-3% more successful for unexplained infertility than explained

"You have unexplained infertility. IVF has a high chance of working for you."

Many of my patients report that their fertility specialist has told them this. But the data does not support this claim.

Problem number 1 - no UK data available

According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA), in 2013 in the UK unexplained infertility accounted for 43% of all IVF cycles started and 20% of all ICSI cycles (IVF where the sperm is injected directly into the egg). See the table below (source: "Fertility treatment in 2013: trends and figures", Human Fertilisation and embryo authority, page 14)

In 2013, 49,636 women had a total of 64,600 cycles of IVF or ICSI (Source HFEA). So there are 10s of thousands of of women having IVF for unexplained infertility each year. However the HFEA do not break down success rates for unexplained infertility compared with all other causes of infertility. This in itself is a little odd.

However I managed to find a US website that does provide this comparison.

What I found was surprising.

Yes there is a slight difference between IVF success rates for explained vs unexplained infertility. But that difference is 2-3% across all age groups. 

I'll say that again. Data comparing 190,000 IVF cycles in the US shows that there was only a 2-3% difference in success rate between unexplained infertility and all causes of fertility, including blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, hormone imbalances and whole range of other conditions.

The tables below are taken from the Society For Assisted Reproductive Technology in the US:

The first table below shows success rates for all causes of infertility. This data is for women using their own eggs.

This next table (below) shows success rates for fertility "unknown factor" infertility ie. unexplained infertility. Again this data is for women using their own eggs.

The link below is where I got this data. It is a tool provided by the Society For Assisted Reproductive Technology. It contains data from 190384 cycles of IVF performed in the US in 2014. You can compare success rates for different causes of infertility by clicking on the "filter" button in the top right hand corner:


These figures are from the US, however we can safely assume, due to the large volume of data, that the percentage difference between unexplained infertility and all other causes in the UK will be roughly similar.

Note: In the USA success rates are higher across the board than in the UK. For UK figures for IVF success rates by age, see below. 

UK national average IVF success rates my age:

(source: "Fertility treatment in 2013: trends and figures", Human Fertilisation and embryo authority, page 29)

Note: Although this data is from 2011 and 2012, these are the latest figures available from the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority. This is due to the nine month wait to know the outcome of the IVF cycle and the time taken to verify and prepare the figures, 

British Medical Journal Article - "Are we overusing IVF?"


"How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?"

Millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment.

Article: "How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?"

"Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman’s 30s has been oversold. Here’s what the statistics really tell us—and what they don’t."


Nature stacks the odds by expecting failure

That’s why a turtle lays 100 eggs, knowing only a handful will survive. 

That’s why a tree drops millions of seeds, knowing only a handful will grow into new trees.

That’s why 100 million sperm set out and only one gets to fertilise the egg. 

Most humans stack the odds against themselves by expecting to never fail.

They avoid success by running away from failure.

But you can only embrace success if you expect that mostly you’ll fail. We don’t think of it as a failure when 100 million sperm minus one don’t get to the egg. We call it “The miracle of life” because one sperm made it. 

We don’t call it a failure because JK Rowling got rejected by 50 publishers. We call her the best selling author of all time because one publisher dared to see her potential. 

We don’t call Nelson Mandela a failure because he spent 25 years in prison. We call him a legend because he managed to end years of oppression under apartheid. in fact he said that his time in prison deepened his resolve and his courage to do what he needed to do.

Your story hasn’t finished yet. Like all stories it only makes sense looking backwards. Like that time you looked back on your life and realised that if that dreadful painful thing hadn't happened to you, you wouldn’t be the person you are today. 

Stack the odds - expect failure. But know that it is not who you are. Just as a tree is not a failure because less than 1% of 1% of it’s seeds actually grow into a beautiful oak. 

Right now is merely a stepping stone on your journey. A tiny fraction of who you really are.

Blessings on your journey,


The greatest lesson I've learned

When I was 18 my best friend James died. He was one of the best friends I've ever had. 

I remember answering the phone that day. I heard James' girlfriend Mary say to me "Michael, I think you'd better sit down. I've got some bad news". I sat speechless as she told me how he had taken a taxi to Archway bridge and at 4am that morning, jumped off. 

For at least a year I struggled to even take in what had happened. I was in shock. Inside I was pushing down the feelings of loss and grief. Like many people I believed in "negative emotions" and "positive emotions". On a subconscious level, I made a decision not to let myself feel these feelings of enormous sadness. 

But the grief had to come out somehow. It started to manifest as insomnia. I'd wake at 5am every morning feeling exhausted but no longer able to sleep. Endless fatigue plagued me.

Then someone suggested something that would transform my whole experience. 

It was actually my mother who suggested I try acupuncture for the insomnia. I didn't really know much about acupuncture but I thought "Well I guess it's worth a try". I probably would have tried anything just to cure this horrible insomnia. 

On my first acupuncture session with Dave I remember leaving feeling somehow lighter and more alive. Was this real or just placebo? That night I got home and cried for James' death for the very first time. 

Over the next 6 weeks my sleep started to return to normal. I started to feel like myself again. But there was a difference. I actually felt more alive and at peace than ever before. I realised that by avoiding "negative emotions" all my life, I had not only cut myself off from pain, but also from the full extent of the the joy and aliveness that is possible. 

I remember Dave saying to me that sadness is ok. "It's when we push it away that problems arise." 

I decided to do an experiment. One evening while sitting quietly I decided to allow myself to feel what was there. Not to push anything away. I started to feel a deep sadness well up inside me. I allowed it be. It was ok. This was a big surprise. Just sitting immersed in the sadness felt ok. Yes it was sad and painful but it was somehow alright. Suddenly my instinct to push it away kicked in and I was plunged into internal struggle and horrible suffering. Wow, so it was actually the pushing away that was causing the suffering. I once more allowed the feelings to be, and once more I was able to find a peace with them. Sadness yet peace. Simply by allowing. 

This was the most profound learning of my life. What I thought all along was the cause of suffering was not the real cause. That I could "make friends" with my feelings and by doing so allow them to come and go. 

You suffer. You have deep feelings of sadness and frustration. Maybe you feel like you have to "be strong and carry on". Most people probably have no idea what you're going through. 

Try this for an experiment. Find a quite space to yourself, where you know you won't be disturbed. Just allow things to be. Exactly as they are. Whatever you're feeling right now, it’s ok. 

See what happens when the urged to push the feelings away kicks in. The mind might say "Oh this is horrible, I can't take this feeling any more". These thoughts themselves may actually be the cause of suffering. Don't take the minds word for it. Test it out. Can you be at peace with how things are right now? 

There is huge liberation in "allowing". This doesn't mean resignation. It means that things right now (the situation, how you're feeling) are a certain way. In this moment, they cannot be any other way. You can either resist this and create suffering or you can allow and find a peace. 

You might at first find momentary glimpses of what I'm talking about. Gradually these glimpses will join up and form longer stretches. 

This is quite possibly the most healing thing you can ever "do".