All posts in Acupuncture

Getting to Know Lorna Withers

“Life is too short, live every moment”

Lorna Withers is an Acupuncturist and CranioSacral Therapist at the Therapy Life Centre. She has been practising at the centre since we opened our doors six years ago. And she has devoted her work to the bettering of the Centre. As a Therapy Life Centre original therapist, she has been excited to watch the centre grow and evolve into what it is now. “There are now a broad range of therapies, a lot more than in the beginning, it was quieter back then.”

In her therapy, Lorna is able to use her multiple expertise to switch between Acupuncture and Cranial, this fluidity allows her to work effectively and with positive results in the majority of cases. A vital part of Acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy is communication, talking to her patients to work out exactly what they need.

Her favourite things about the centre are the sense of community, wide variety of people and being able to discuss and share ideas with other therapists. She describes the community of therapists as ‘like a little family’. During her tenure here, Lorna has observed the centre go from just a therapy clinic to a family-oriented centre, both in management and in clientele, as the centre has grown into an increasingly beneficial place for both children and adults.

Lorna’s upbringing is just as varied as her work, having been born in Liverpool, she spent much of her childhood in Glasgow and Cornwall. Meanwhile her father worked in far-flung corners of the world, in Greece and Japan. The latter country would become crucial to Lorna’s inspiration to become a therapist.

Visiting the sunrise kingdom as a child exposed Lorna to the beautiful and bizarre that Japan had to offer, this early fascination with Japanese culture led her to pursue her own Japan experience in her early 20’s. She worked as a freelance journalist and English teacher, while soaking up all that the country had to offer. Her inspiration to pursue a career in the holistic world came as a blessing in disguise, as she became unwell while in Japan and sought out Acupuncture. This was the seed which would later become the tree.

Lorna’s exposure to Acupuncture stirred up doubt in her work/life balance, and she decided that this was her new calling in life. After studying privately for 6 months, she returned to England, where the next part of her story was set to begin.

Much like her exposure to Acupuncture, Lorna’s first experience with CranioSacral therapy came as a blessing in disguise, after slipping a disc in her back, which prevented her from working. This resulted in a meeting with a Cranial Osteopath. As a result of this newly-found enlightenment, Lorna has devoted her adult life to these methods of healing, introducing her children to CST at an early age.

Fast forward to today, Lorna is still just as enthusiastic and passionate as she was when discovering the Holistic world in Japan. She is a mother to teenage children, aged 16 and 18. Motherhood has taught her to be ‘more understanding of life’s inconsistencies and unpredictability’. Her daily life involves regular treatment (Massage, CST, Acupuncutre), Yoga, meditation, and comedy, which she believes is important. She also exhibits mindfulness in

her everyday life; she achieves this through simple but achievable practises including following a healthy diet, drinking water and getting plenty of rest and sleeping well.

Another passion Lorna enjoys is her allotment, a small patch of land used for cultivating crops. She has successfully grown courgettes, onions, beetroot, potatoes, beans, carrots and tomatoes. Tending the allotment provides her with a direct connection to the earth and nature and is therefore yet another therapeutic pastime Lorna enjoys.

After six years at Therapy Life Centre Lorna continues to enjoy her work here and describes working with her colleagues and patients as a privilege.

Lorna learns about life through her patients, and her patients are able to live a more comfortable life through Lorna.


Getting to Know Steve Coster

Getting to Know Steve Coster

An easy-going and effortlessly comforting figure, Steve Coster and his unique blend of eastern and western practises are a staple of the warm and caring environment at the Therapy Life Centre. A lifelong resident of Southend on Sea, his passion for Kung Fu, Acupuncture, clean living and classical Guitar are just a few of the things that really identify Steve.

His practice of trade, Acupuncture, dates back thousands of years to the golden age of Chinese medical innovation, balancing both mind and body with this unique therapeutic technique. In his own words, acupuncture “Firstly focuses on relaxation, while simultaneously identifying and treating imbalances, deficiencies and stagnations in the body, creating a balance and flow on the 12 channels”.

But acupuncture isn’t Steve’s only work at the centre, in September he is embarking on a new chapter of alternative eastern medicine at the Therapy Life Centre, with the introduction of Qi Gong. Translating to “Breath work”, Qi Gong is a holistic system of coordinated work on the body posture, movement, breathing and mediation. This ancient practice can be used in a health, spiritual and martial arts capacity.

Speaking of Martial Arts, Steve has devoted most of his adult life to studying the art of Wing Chun Kung FU, a fighting style and a philosophy with deep roots within tradition Chinese medicine and Buddhism. This devotion to Wing Chun is one of the many factors which led him out of the London rat race and into a more fulfilling career. Having previously worked as a chef, an insurance broker and a teacher (for one day), Steve claims that his experience with the Martial Art gave him the courage and the strength to leave the capital behind and make a real difference in people’s lives. Part of this transition involved selling all of his possessions, including his home and car, but almost a decade later, he still shows no regrets.

“You learn to fight, but the real fight comes from within. Wing Chun is the Yang, and healing is the Yin”.

Steve recalls a particularly ground-breaking experience during the aftermath of leaving his career in London, noticing leaves on the floor and for the first time in his life, realising that the seasons have been changing around him, further adding to the euphoria he felt after leaving the suit, tie and morning commute to someone else. After this experience, he went on to study at the London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine between 2008 and 2011. As well as these studies, he also obtained an English degree from the Open University, to compliment his teaching and culinary qualifications.

A firm believer of ‘if you start something, finish it’, Steve also avidly plays classical guitar, this interest is rooted in the childhood idols of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Morrissey and Jim Morrison. Whilst playing a radically different style to the aforementioned artists, he feels that the regimented nature of classical music provides structure, just like Wing Chun and his life-long passion for studying.

Structure is seemingly a key word in Steve’s vocabulary. Every day begins with Vitamin C, stretching, Qi Gong, guitar practice, two meals and Kung Fu, all before 12pm..

Collectively, all of these factors have helped to create a devoted and compassionate therapist with a drive for bettering himself and all he brings to the Therapy Life Centre.

Steve’s Qi Gong class begins September 11 from 6pm-7pm.

More info on Qi Gong can be found on our website and social media accounts.

You can learn more about Steve here:


Vertigo treatment

Are you suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo? We are now offering treatment!

Therapists: Steve Coster

Signs that you may be suffering from Vertigo.
Man with his hands over his face.

Do you feel dizzy and nauseous when you;

  • Turn over in bed
  • Make quick movements to the left or right
  • Make quick movements up or down

If you have any of these symptoms you could have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This type of vertigo can be frightening, but it is harmless. 

What can be done?

Steve performs the Epley Manoevre.  This takes about 30mins; it is a non-invasive technique and is successful in the majority of cases.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most frequently occurring balance disorder.  It can occur at any age, but is more common in the middle aged and older people.  The condition is not serious or dangerous but it can be distressing.

BPPV can occur spontaneously or following trauma, virus or reduced blood supply.

It usually develops when calcium particles, which normally are distributed evenly in the three semicircular canals, form a sludge and clump together in one of the semicircular canals.  (The semicircular canals are part of the inner ear that helps with balance).  Normally, when the head moves, the calcium particles stimulate nerve receptors (hair cells) inside the canals.  These cells send the brain a signal indicating the direction of the head movement.  When the particles form a free-floating clump in one area, the signal is exaggerated: it suggests to the brain that the head has moved more than it has.

This results in a sensation of movement which may be mild or severe but will subside within 1½ minutes, but is usually a much shorter time.

Does your Vertigo not match the listed criteria?

If your Vertigo does not match the above criteria, do not despair as we are still able to help. Vertigo can be caused by a variety of things, for example neck problems, TMJ problems, side effects of medication and allergies are just a few possible reasons.

A number of our therapies are able to help;

  • Acupuncture
  • CranioSacral therapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiotherapy

The best way to move you forward is to phone the centre and speak to one of our therapists so that they can help guide you to the best treatment.

For more information or to discuss your symptoms, please call us on 01702 433959.


Acupuncture testimonial

Acupuncture testimonial

Interested in a session of Acupuncture? Have a read below of what one of Steve Coster’s clients had to say:


Many thanks to Sarah for this fantastic testimonial!

Sarah (dermatitis)

I had developed a skin condition (dermatitis) on my face – it had come out of nowhere but quickly turned red and patchy and flared up to the point I couldn’t wear makeup and felt hugely self conscious. A western Doctor wanted to treat it with a prolonged course of antibiotics but instinctively I knew this wasn’t the right approach for me.

I looked for help in alternative medicine and luckily a friend recommended Steve – it was the best thing I could have done! After seeing Steve each week for about 12 sessions, it’s now completely healed and I feel fantastic. Not only is my skin better but I'm less frazzled, much calmer and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing treatment (a treat in itself). Whatever ails you, I’d strongly recommend seeking acupuncture – I’ve no idea how it works, it just does!

Thanks, Sarah

Sarah is a typical client I see in my practice, typical in the sense that lifestyle and just modern living can have a huge impact on our health. However, often just a few changes to our everyday lives (and some acupuncture!) can make a massive difference.

If you would like to know more about Acupuncture and how it can help you, please do give me a call or drop in for an informal chat.

Steve Coster – www.stevecosteracupuncture


Hay fever season is upon us

Do you suffer from Hay fever?

If so than you have probably sat at your computer searching for ways to reduce your symptoms or you have gone to see your GP who has given you some sort of over the counter medicine.

But have you ever thought of an alternative? More specifically have you thought about Acupuncture?

Have you found yourself suffering from sneezing, an itchy nose and throat, nasal blockage and watery eyes? While everyone is out enjoying the summer do you find yourself stuck dealing with those pesky symptoms that just won’t seem to go away, are you left feeling uncomfortable and just about done with summer?

You would probably know if you were suffering from hay fever but there is also the chance that it is something that you have absolutely never suffered with and have now unfortunately developed. It is something that can sneak up on you at any age, although it is most common in children and teenagers that does not mean it is restricted to them only.


What is Yin and Yang?

What is Yin and Yang?

A blog by Steve Coster


The Yin and Yang symbol is something we see everywhere.  It is on clothing, buildings, posters; some people even have it tattooed on their bodies!  But what does it actually mean?


The 5 Elements: Metal – A Time of Wisdom, Acceptance & Letting Go

The 5 Elements: Metal – A Time of Wisdom, Acceptance &

Letting Go Talk

Thursday 9th October with Steve Coster

7:30 PM – 9:30 PM £10


To continue my series of talks on the Five Elements, and as we approach the autumn, now is the perfect time to consider the Metal Element.

As usual, I will look at:

  • How the Metal element relates to the other elements;
  • How the Metal element affects us day-to-day;
  • What happens when the Metal element is out of balance; and
  • How acupuncture can help you.

Metals have always been valuable.  For centuries, gold has been regarded as the most precious metal.  Its scarcity is one reason for its value.  Buried within each of us there is something scarce, hard to find and at the same time very valuable.

We can also think of Metal as the minerals or trace elements in the earth or in our food that are used to regulate and balance our body chemistry.  You may require 400 grams or more of carbohydrates a day, but less than a millionth of that amount of chromium, but it is no less essential.  The valuable Metal is deeply buried within.

In nature, Metal revitalizes the earth.  In autumn, leaves and fruits fall off the trees and fall to the ground.  They rot and enter the earth, providing minerals and nutrients that nourish and enrich the earth’s capacity to grow new plants.  Today, we are increasingly aware of the dangers of industrialized farming where we attempt to accelerate the natural process.  We take the maximum from a field by using it every year and fertilizing it artificially.  ‘Natural’ farming would allow the fields to lie fallow and for part of the plants to rot and almost invisibly return vital nutrients to the earth.  The Ancient Chinese understood this and appreciated the necessity to return essential minerals and nutrients to the earth.  Metal provides the quality for the earth.

Metal also describes the role of impervious rock within the earth.  Without rock all the water would soak through to the centre of the earth.  For life to be possible on earth it is essential that water be returned to the surface in order to nourish animals and plants.  It is in this way that Metal creates Water along the Sheng cycle.

In our human lifetime, Metal is the time of letting go; a time of tranquility, peace and wisdom.  In the autumn of one’s life it is a time of withdrawing from outside involvement and looking for meaning within.  We must ‘let go’ to face the limits of life.  By now we realize that some paths will not be followed, some dreams will not be fulfilled. Wisdom comes with age and experience.  Too attached to the physical body and you are doomed to despair as you grow older.  In communities in touch with the 5 elements model, it is the older community who are revered for bringing meaning and wisdom.

There will be a small charge of £10 for this talk.  However this will be redeemable against a subsequent acupuncture treatment.

If you would like to attend please call me on 07909 521847 or the Therapy Life Centre on 01702 433959.

Steve Coster


5 Elements

Steve Coster – 5 Elements Talk Facilitator


The Five Elements – Fire

The Five Elements – Fire: The Energy of the Sun Within You Talk with Steve Coster

Thursday 19th June – 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM – £10

To continue my series of talks on the Five Elements, and as we approach the summer, now is the perfect time to consider the Fire Element.

As usual, I will look at:

  • How the Fire element relates to the other elements;
  • How the Fire element affects us day-to-day;
  • What happens when the Fire element is out of balance; and
  • How acupuncture can help you.

The hearth is symbolic of the heart of the home in all cultures.  Fire is used for cooking and warming.  People would gather around fires as a source of heat and naturally socialize.

Fire is important to virtually all life forms on Earth, for the Sun is the ultimate fire.  It burns and provides heat and light for animals and vegetation.  Humans are totally dependent on the Sun and even minor solar variations can mean devastation.  Too much Sun can cause crops to fail, resulting in famine.  Polar caps can melt causing land to flood.  Species acclimatized to a particular range of temperature are suddenly vulnerable and poorly adapted.

In humans, especially when we are young, we have the correct balance of Fire and Water, each keeping each other in check. But as we get older and the Water element decreases, the Fire becomes less steady.  This is when illness may become apparent.

Emotionally the Fire element manifests in being joyful (the associated sound is laughter).  There are many factors contributing to people’s happiness, but the joy associated with Fire is significant.  To be with others, sharing and communicating, generates and maintains the Fire within us.  The pleasure in having satisfying human contact both nourishes the Fire element and is made possible by the Fire being balanced.  Diminished Fire, on the other hand, can discourage people from reaching out for more human contact and the lack of Fire nourishment further depletes the element.

Strengthening the Fire element with acupuncture treatment can make profound changes to a person and enhance their ability to connect with others.  From this contact they become more able to nourish their own Fire.

There will be a small charge of £10 for this talk.  However this will be redeemable against a subsequent acupuncture treatment.

Please follow this link for more details

If you would like to attend please call me on 07909 521847 or the Therapy Life Centre on 01702 433959.

Steve Coster

Steve Coster

Steve Coster

The Five Elements - Fire

The Five Elements – Fire Talk with Steve Coster


Let us help your Hayfever with Acupuncture!

Acupuncture helps Hayfever!


Hayfever Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help Hayfever!


Ever considered an alternative treatment for Hayfever? Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to relief the classic Hayfever symptoms: sneezing, itchy nose, nasal blockage and watery secretions, general tiredness, fever, sore eyes, cough, wheezing and shortness of breath.

But don’t delay…clinical experience has shown that for best results acupuncture treatment for Hayfever should start before your symptoms start. This can be difficult for some people, however, as symptoms can be any time of the year. But don’t worry, even if you have left it a bit late acupuncture can still help ease Hayfever symptoms even at its worst.


Let’s take a look at some facts:

• In the medical world Hayfever is known as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. If you have Hayfever symptoms all year round it is known as Persistent Allergic Rhinitis.

• Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is a global health problem that is on the increase. In the UK alone it is estimated 20 – 30 % of the population will experience AR at some point in their life.

• The estimated cost of AR in Europe ranges from Euro 1-2 Billion in medical costs and lost working hours. It affects over 600 million people from all ethnic groups and all ages. It has increased over the last 50 years and continues to do so.

• A UK study suggests that Hayfever is associated with a detrimental effect on examination performance in teenagers undertaking their GCSEs. The burden of AR can therefore have a long-term impact upon further education opportunities and careers.

• AR is a relatively recent phenomenon in human medical history. Sweet and oily foods have become more prevalent in our diets over the last 150 years, paralleling the rise of Hayfever in the developed world. Indeed, there are no reported cases of Hayfever before the Industrial Revolution.


Acupuncture can relieve Hayfever symptoms!

Current Western treatment includes antihistamines and corticosteroids (both of which help with symptoms of local inflammation) but both have side-effects, from drowsiness to anaphylactic shock!

However, recent studies suggest that acupuncture treatment is able to modulate immunosuppressed or immune-activated conditions through various immune functions, including the activities of macrophages, neutrophils, NK cells and lymphocytes, immunoglobulin production, and complement systems.

That is, acupuncture has been shown it is able to lower Immunoglobulin-E levels and thus reduce inflammation; exactly what antihistamines do what without the side-effects!

In Chinese Medicine we believe that Hayfever symptoms are due to a weak constitution caused by the weather/environment, diet, overwork and stress, which can lead to a ‘Wind Invasion’, like catching a cold really.

It has also been suggested that we are constitutionally weakened as babies, due to overfeeding or being fed hard to digest foods, leading to a lifetime of allergies. On the other hand, some children will grow out of their allergies as they mature and become constitutionally stronger.

If you would like more information on how Acupuncture can help the symptoms of Hayfever and how it can help you, please call or text me on 07909 521847 or at the Therapy Life Centre on 01702 433959.

Steve Coster


My Acupuncture Adventure


lorna withers acupuncture in southend on seaBLOG ENTRY 7 – 04/02/14

As I walked into the room for my first ever Acupuncture session, I saw a pair of surgical tongs on the table. Thinking aloud I said to Lorna, ‘Oh my god, are they for getting the needles out!?’, at this point I was sweating wondering how deep these needles were going to go! Thankfully Lorna replied, ‘No don’t worry’…’phew thank god for that’ I said…to which Lorna came back with ‘They’re for when I set fire to people, we’re going to do that with you today too.’ Now, all I can say is that at that moment I probably looked a little grey with shock. I was already nervous about Acupuncture but now fire is involved! Haha.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about what it was and how it all went. Setting fire to people wasn’t how it sounded. In Acupuncture ‘Moxa’ can be used to warm the body up if you are feeling cold. If placed on certain points then it boosts the organs energy to make them more efficient. In order to do this, small round sticks of Moxa are lit then, having the flame blown out, are stuck onto your body. I had one on my abdomen, one underneath my belly button and one on each big toe. They slowly burn down and it’s amazing how such small sticks of Moxa can be so effective. The warm feeling didn’t happen straight away but when I started feeling them getting warmer it was a very strange sensation. The sections of my body around the Moxa started to get warm, and then suddenly I had a rush of warmth throughout my entire body. It was bizarre! Lorna then used the scary looking surgical tongs to remove them .

Then the needles came out. This is what I was most nervous about. I was apprehensive wondering if it would hurt, and how many needles would be going in! Lorna placed 14 needles in me altogether. It wasn’t painful at all, some of the needles I didn’t even feel going in! I was then left to ‘rest’ for about 20 minutes. Now I initially thought that laying there with needles stuck in my body wouldn’t be an experience to be enjoyed, but how wrong was I! The only way I can describe the feeling is like, if I’ve had a glass of wine and I’ve starting to feel a little woosy! It gave me a buzz all over, which was so relaxing, that I almost fell asleep! Once Lorna had taken the needles out I came back downstairs and felt so strange. A good strange.

I had the Acupuncture for a few things however one of those was to feel more motivated and less sluggish. I didn’t feel anything straight away, probably because the whole experience was a little mind boggling, but after my lunch hour I really genuinely felt better in myself. And I believe that it was down to having Acupuncture. I would have Acupuncture again and again for sure. It is meant to be incredible for pain in places like the back and neck, and after having it, I believe that it really would!


Acupuncture is so interesting. There’s so much to know about it. For instance, in Acupuncture, it is said that each organ has a certain time during the day when it is working it’s hardest. For example, if you have been drinking heavily of an evening, you may often find yourself waking up at around 3 AM gasping for a drink. This is because between the hours of 1 AM and 3 AM the liver is working it’s hardest getting all of the alcohol out of the blood. So when it has finished at 3 AM you are more than likely to be dehydrated and in need of water! Fascinating, and there’s so many more interesting things like this. We have an Acupuncture Awareness week coming up here at the Centre starting on March 3rd. Call us for more information as there will be talks, tasters and lots more info about amazing Acupuncture. Take care of yourselves 🙂