Acupuncturist Niels Christensen is donating his skills on Dec. 6 to raise funds for the North Island Survivors Healing Society.

Body work practitioner fundraises for local trauma and abuse counselling centre

Health practitioner has experienced the connection between past traumatic experiences and physical issues in his clients directly

Registered Acupuncturist Niels Christensen will offer all proceeds from reduced rates for his services during a one-day fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 6 to aid the North Island Survivors’ Healing Society – Trauma and Abuse Counselling Centre (NISHS).

For 18 years Christensen has practiced both acupressure and acupuncture as owner of the Acupuncture and Body Care Clinic on South Dogwood.

“I’ve referred hundreds of clients to NISHS for counselling for more than a decade,” he said.

He’s reduced his regular fees and is requesting a minimum donation of $20 for each neck release – a key method of relieving pain and muscle shortening associated with whiplash, headache, carpal tunnel, shoulder issues, etc. Acupuncture sessions are available for a minimum donation of $40.

For those who would simply like to make a donation to support NISHS’ work, there will be representatives available on site to issue charitable tax receipts.

As a long-time health practitioner, Christensen said he has experienced the connection between past traumatic experiences and physical issues in his clients directly.

“What you experience in life leaves a signature in your body. If experiences, such as abuse, are not fully processed it’s stored in the primitive part of your brain and becomes hardwired into you,” he said.

Traditional cognitive therapy can be hugely helpful, the body’s remembered physiology remains in its former state of anxiety and stress, he added. The somatic or body centred counselling that NISHS offers is required to bypass the reactionary response in the body to get to the root of the trauma.

Christensen sees his role as helping people who have experienced a variety of trauma become aware that feelings coming up through body manipulation are normal. He strives to create a safe environment to explore these feelings and encourages his patients to seek the services of NISHS.

Christensen recounts the story of a woman who had experienced childhood abuse.

“She’d made a great deal of progress through the years in counseling and came to me with a specific body pain issue,” he said. “The precise placement of the acupuncture needles brought back details of her abuse, including the remembrance of a specific smell that she simply couldn’t tolerate. After several appointments with a counsellor at NISHS the aversion to it was gone and no longer affected her.”

The professional counsellors at NISHS work with both women and men who have experienced a range of symptoms stemming from trauma and abuse.

Counsellor Celia Laval said, “Clients come to counselling to resolve a number of issues stemming from overwhelming events. It is an extensive list that includes witnessing or experiencing violence, injury and abuse in childhood.

Sometimes it’s adults in active duty, those who have been in automobile or workplace accidents, medical trauma, elder abuse or financial abuse.

“Many people don’t think of the aftermath of these events, she observed. Even an event that seems to be resolved when the threat ends may not feel like that to the person.”

She has several examples to illustrate the point.

victim of a serious animal attack may feel constant panic and experience nightmares long after the attack has occurred.

Soldiers and refugees frequently have ongoing problems. A large percentage of people who experienced repeated abuse in childhood subsequently live most of their adult lives in extreme fear, or disconnect from themselves and the larger world.

An individual who sees their home burned or washed away in a flood sometimes has residual issues that can be resolved in counselling.

To make an appointment for an acupuncture treatment or an acupressure neck release for Dec. 6, call Christensen at 250- 286-1848.

Sessions will vary in length from 20 minutes to more than an hour. His office is at #6 – 522 S. Dogwood Street, beside the Elks Lodge.

NISHS began operations in 1993. All counselling at North Island Survivors’ Healing Society is either subsidized or by donation. The Society is funded by the Province of British Columbia, the United Way and community members who support NISHS through annual fundraisers.