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HEALTH: A STAB IN THE DARK; Hollywood acupuncturist Suk Woon Hahm has never seen any of his celeb clients' films.

Byline: Words: Kevin Lewin

Wasn't it the ancient philosopher Confucius who once uttered, `Never trust a blind man with a needle'? Well that certainly hasn't stopped acupuncturist Suk Woon Hahm from making his name in Hollywood.

In fact, the 47-year-old Korean-born doctor claims his lack of sight has helped him become the practitioner of choice to stars such as Julia Roberts.

Speaking at his Sunset Boulevard-based Healing Hands therapy centre, he says, `Acupuncture is all about energy channels. By balancing energy you can help people combat stress, sickness and discomfort. No-one can see this energy, but blind people have a very special sense of touch. When I lost one sense I got an extra one.'

Hahm, who lost the sight in one

eye at 12 and his total vision at 19, has become Hollywood's most

sought-after acupuncturist. Ever since The Blues Brothers star Dan Ackroyd started recommending him to friends his popularity has grown. He became the first blind man in the States to get a license to practise acupuncture and massage, and now he has two practices in Hollywood and Beverly Hills and a client base that reads like a Tinseltown wish-list.

`I came here because I wanted to live the Californian dream,' he smiles, `and now I am number one. It's all word of mouth - Mena is a long-time patient and Julie Delpy has been coming twice a week for five years. They're two of my favourite clients. Once clients get past worries about my blindness they relax and realise I'm good. Conventional doctors often see a problem. But I go deeper than that. Other masseurs look at the area they're treating. I feel. Blind people have a heightened sense of where energies in the body need tweaking.'

If a client comes to Dr Hahm with pains, he pokes and prods to find out what is bothering them. `It takes me just 10

minutes to find the crux of the problem and then I work on that area. I block out everything else and focus on energy fields throughout the body and

pressure points relating to

these areas. It's like a little

electrical pulse.'

He believes prevention is better than cure. `Some clients have stress build-up, especially my celebrities,' he says. `If you stop that you can prevent many

problems. With regular treatment, clients should rarely fall ill.'

But although Dr Hahm is a favourite with the rich and famous, he's not impressed by celebrities. `Hundreds of stars come here. But I cannot see TV or the movies,' he laughs. `My staff and my friends say, "You worked on Julia Roberts, she's a big star!", but I don't care if she's a famous actress. I can always tell who the celebrities are because they demand perfection and relaxing them is difficult. Their life is not their own life - it's public. They're always thinking about other people and they always have a lot of stress.'

Dr Hahm sees 10 to 15 clients a day, charging $100 an hour, and his boast is that he never needs to advertise. He claims he's helped relieve a cancer patient's pain, that he can

correctly predict the sex of an unborn baby and he's a lifesaver for women who have painful periods. And, on top of all that, he even helped one actress prepare for a blind date recently...

ACUPUNCTURE

l Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the skin.

l It opens and unblocks channels that our vital energy flow through. This serves to alleviate stress and symptoms of illness and strengthens the immune system.

l It is used to heal sickness, get over stress, relieve pain and help kick addictions.

l From the top of your head to the end of your toes, there are hundreds of significant points, and the acupuncturist knows exactly where to place the needle to relieve a particular problem.

For example, if you are trying to sort out a stomach complaint the points that will be targeted would be the wrists and ankles.

l It can give you higher energy levels, improve your digestion and enhance your hormone levels.

For more information on acupuncture, contact the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit www.acupuncture.org.uk or call the Chi Health Centre helpline on 020 7233 5566 or visit www.chihealthcentres.com

CAPTION(S):

Suk Woon Hahm gets to the point
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2002
Words:730
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