Shane McMunn is the founder of Sligo Acupuncture and Tuina (a massage therapy which assists people in releasing physical blockages). He is also chairperson of the Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association (AFPA), the longest established independent professional register of acupuncturists and practitioners of TCM in Ireland. We interviewed him in our Spring 2020 issue to learn more!
All Things Acupuncture
We talk to acupuncturist Shane McMunn
by Aisling Cronin
Shane McMunn is the founder of Sligo Acupuncture and Tuina. He specialises in the ancient Chinese healing practices of acupuncture – a therapy that aims to brings about balance and healing by stimulating certain points on the body with the use of needles – and Tuina – a massage therapy which assists people in releasing physical blockages. His clinic is located in the heart of Sligo town. He also teaches Tai Chi Chuan and Hung Kuen Kung Fu: both traditional Chinese martial arts.
He is also the chairperson of the Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association (AFPA). The AFPA is the longest established independent professional register of acupuncturists and practitioners of TCM in Ireland. Since it was established in 1987, it has been responsible for the regulation and maintenance of a register of acupuncturists who work within the guidelines set out in 2006 by the Department of Health and Children. Their members are all bound by a Code of Ethics and Practice which is strictly enforced by the AFPA.
I had the opportunity to learn more about Shane’s work and what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) means to him during a recent conversation we had.
‘I became interested in acupuncture quite young, and quite unexpectedly,’ he explains. ‘I was 23 years old, I was doing Tai Chi – which I was very interested in – and I opened up the phone book one day and saw a listing for an acupuncture school in Dublin. It was strange, because I had never known anything about that practice before, but I just had a strong feeling that I needed to do it. I lived in Sligo, so I started commuting to Dublin to learn all about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine!’
From there, his experience and comfort level with acupuncture and other TCM practices grew ever stronger. He traveled to China, where he spent a month working in a hospital to learn more about the Chinese approach to medicine. He then went to the effort of learning Chinese, and spent some time in London learning about Tuina and Chinese herbal medicine.
Shane has now been a qualified acupuncturist for eleven years. During that time, he has noticed a great increase in public awareness and understanding about the benefits of complementary therapies. ‘When I first qualified, there was very little decent medical literature on the benefits of acupuncture,’ he explains, ‘whereas nowadays, I have seen, in my own practice, that more and more doctors will send people on to me to receive an acupuncture treatment. Many clients come to me because they want to offset the side effects of necessary medication that they may be taking. Acupuncture can also be helpful with pain relief, stress, insomnia or fertility issues.’
Shane is very keen to stress that when people seek out an acupuncture treatment, they do so via a reputable organisation. ‘Acupuncture is not regulated in this country,’ he explains, ‘but it is self-regulated by the organisation. I would recommend that people go to a registered acupuncturist. In our association, the AFPA, we insist on at least three years’ training and we insist that the practitioner is insured.’