Acupuncturist Simon Brooks returns to Sheffield

Amie Rowland and Simon Brooks at the launch of Devonshire Acupuncture on Eldon Street in Sheffield.
Amie Rowland and Simon Brooks at the launch of Devonshire Acupuncture on Eldon Street in Sheffield.
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The ‘stayer on-er’ is a well-known phenomenon in Sheffield but acupuncturist Simon Brooks is in a less well reported group - the ‘boomeranger’ - who leaves but always comes back.

The city is famous for seducing students into staying and putting down roots.

Acupuncturist Simon Brooks in his treatment room

Acupuncturist Simon Brooks in his treatment room

But for others its charms work differently.

Simon, who has just set up Devonshire Acupuncture near the Forum on Eldon Street in the city centre, has settled here for the third time.

“Being away made me realise how fantastic Sheffield is. It’s probably the only city where you don’t feel stuck in a city because of the easy access to the countryside.

“And it feels like it’s on the up.”

Simon at his desk below his professional certificates on the wall.

Simon at his desk below his professional certificates on the wall.

Four years ago Simon and partner Amie Rowland left Sheffield on an “adventure” to establish a practice five hours’ drive away in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The pair, who are avid rock climbers, also wanted to be close to the soaring routes on the county’s sun-kissed sea cliffs.

And after having baby Isla in August 2013 they decided to buy a house there.

But when it fell through they unexpectedly felt relieved - and then decided it was time to go ‘home’.

He said: “It was a mad thing to do really. We didn’t dislike Sheffield, we just fancied a change. I’m glad we didn’t get the house. Business was going well, we had friends but it never felt like home.”

Simon first came to Sheffield from Kingston in London as a student in 1987. He studied economic and social history for three years before leaving to work in London and then going travelling.

He studied acupuncture in Reading for three years from 1994 and worked in clinics in London before returning to Sheffield to feed his love for the outdoors.

But after 12 years in the city, Pembrokeshire called - before he ‘boomeranged’ back again.

Responding to an advert in a trade magazine, he took a unit in Devonshire Business Park, a cluster of 21 businesses tucked away between Wellington Street and Devonshire Green.

Simon added: “It’s a lovely spot with parking in the green heart of Sheffield. It’s a quiet oasis, in fact it’s the quietest clinic I have ever worked in.”

And with another baby arriving in January, he’s content to stay.

“It’s going well and we’re happy. I’m committed to the practice and we’re staying indefinitely, Sheffield is where it’s at for me.”

After 18 years in acupuncture, Simon Brooks has seen common ailments come and go. Today it’s ‘texter’s neck’.

In 1997, when he started, it was sore forearms - repetitive strain injury from using a mouse - but that’s largely been tackled by companies improving health and safety procedures, he says.

Now, people are seeking treatment for neck pain from constantly using smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The average head weighs 12lbs. Tilting forward 15 degrees places 27lbs strain on neck muscles, it is claimed, rising to a hefty 49lbs at 45 degrees.

Simon, a ‘five elements’ specialist, said: “People are looking at screens even when they are away from screens. It’s a complete overload of the system. They might be having issues anyway and they have this on top of everything else.”

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to tackle a host of problems including back pain, fertility, anxiety and male depression.

Simon added: “Life is just so fast these days. There’s no down time.

“Sometimes just coming to the clinic is a chance to unplug in a tranquil room. I’ve had patients fall asleep on the treatment bed.

“I’ve treated NHS doctors. Acupuncture is becoming more accepted.”

Devonshire Acupuncture is an ‘integrated health practice’ that offers access to other complementary therapists. It hosted an official launch party last week.

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