The Circus is coming to town!

by Rachael Forrest

All of us Edinburgh residents will know the feeling - the build up of the 'buzz', more people clogging up the pavements, strangers in hats asking for directions, whole hoards of students following a man with a flag held high ... yes, it's the imminent return of the Festival(s).  Fringe, International, Art and Book all converge on this city in August and give us a roller-coaster ride of entertainment and frustration.

I have to admit right now that I love it!  I love the build up almost more than the Festivals themselves.  I know that by the 3rd week in August I've had enough of trying to battle the crowds and buses going three times slower than usual but I also know it's one of the things that makes Edinburgh so special and so exciting. 

From a work point of view we get an influx of new patients over the Festival.  Dancers with ankle pain, performers with stage fright, actors with exhaustion from late nights, trapeze artists with nerves, visitors with leg pains from all the walking up and down unaccustomed hills.  We also get injuries from drunkenness and digestion issues from irregular eating and too much alcohol.  I once had a fire eater in with heartburn but we soon realised that his problem came from swallowing too much of the lighter fluid rather than anything systemic!!  He went away and changed his technique but acupuncture helped to calm him down and talking helped us work out what was going wrong.

It's definitely an interesting time of year.  Some of our massage therapists see the same performers each August because they're a familiar face and are trusted by the artists and actors to do what needs doing, often urgently because a performance looms that very evening.

I personally have seen actors who are working through their own emotional issues on stage - one actor had been raped and had written a play based on her experience.  Once she started performing she found it too much to re-live in public and acupuncture helped her cope with what she was attempting to do on a daily basis.  It was a learning experience for me too - to support someone in acute circumstances and help her negotiate if what she was trying to do was 'right' for her or 'wrong' and the ethics of having to cancel a show at the last minute.

At our clinic we see so many patients with all sorts of issues, injuries and illnesses as well as people coming in just to relax and feel better generally.  It is an amazing experience for us as practitioners to take everyone as they come, without judgement, and to use our our knowledge and skills to help you get better, or to direct you to other practitioners who can help you.  We welcome the circus!!