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Case Study Issue 79: Naji Malak - Acupuncture Maestro

by Alan Pillay(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 79 - August 2002

My journey into acupuncture began when, shortly after the excesses of Christmas, I feared it would require the amputation of one of my larger limbs to get me down to my desired weight. In my fevered imaginings this would eradicate the inner demons who were doing a funeral march around my cranium.

How was I to get these issues resolved and strangle the ugly little pugs, I asked myself. So I spoke to my dear friend, actress and writer, and transgressive being, Ms Anna Chen, regarding my predicament. Wise and wonderful creature that she is, she then proceeded to tell me about a virtuoso of a practitioner in the ancient art of acupuncture, a skill said to date back to 3000 years BC, which was pretty much how old I was feeling at the time.

"Holy cow," she exclaimed, polishing her halo.

I said, "Please, Anna, fewer of the superlatives. I'm in need."

"Siddown here," said Anna, smacking her lap expectantly.

I declined the offer, dusted off a spare log in her abode, and sat down, as I am so far removed from that way inclined.

"Don't cry, kiddo. Let me tell you about one of the West End's best kept secrets," she confided. "Not so very long ago I, too, felt glum. Like you I felt like the gilt had been knocked off the gingerbread, like I got the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Now look at me." She flashed ebony eyes at me and smiled her million dollar smile that actually cost £35.

"So, what's the answer?" I asked.

"Well, his name is Naji Malak, and he has been treating me for over ten years for various ailments and liverish ills."

"But Anna," I offered with my usual magnanimity, "you have a disposition and complexion somewhere between a frolicking lamb and a rutting teenager that just discovered it was Britney."

And, dear reader, this is the shape my spirits have taken since going to see Naji in January.

I trundled up to the Oxford Street end of Wardour Street in London's busy and congested West End, to be admitted into the West End Phisio waiting room. I can only describe it as a tranquil oasis far from the madding crowd. I rested bag and wrap and sat for a short while as Brahms wafted around me, comforting me like an aural duvet, before I was greeted by the man himself, Naji Malak. He possessed a charisma belying his medium build, had the warmest mahogany eyes I've ever seen and practically entered with his own backlighting.

"How can I help you?" he asked. And I believe he genuinely meant it. Not wishing to beat around any Bush, including Dubya or George senior, I told him straight that I was sabotaging my own happiness through, it cannot be denied, pigging out, not to put too fine a point on it. I was feeling and looking overweight. I felt that it was blocking me from functioning to my full potential, which, even if I say it myself, is awesome.

Naji sat me down and asked me questions that enabled him to divine my deepest issues. I felt relaxed and totally secure about opening myself and unloading all my baggage. This, from what Anna had said, is the usual effect he has on his clients.

I reclined under a blue trompe l'oeil sky. Naji felt my pulse in both wrists and then swabbed points on my palms, ankles and shins. He then unsheathed his needles, disposable ones for obvious reasons in this era of blood-related diseases. Incidentally, acupuncture is said to be a supportive therapy in cases of AIDS and HIV.

I must confess, the first needle in the palm of my hand did make me jump through the ceiling, as Anna had neglected to warn me about the stun-gun effect running up your meridians as, presumably, in her warped but generous brain she found the whole prospect rather amusing. Well, har, har, Ms Chen. It hurt, but like you said, it certainly invigorated me enough for me to power-walk two miles home afterwards.

I'd just like to say that I have been receiving acupuncture for the past two and a bit months and I have lost nearly a stone and a half and feel more energized than I ever have in the past four years – so much so that I can do one of David Sye's yoga master Yogabeats three-hour classes on a regular basis. My afternoon catnaps have become shorter and less frequent in a positive way. And I'm operating at a higher level of confidence, which is unusual for a showbusiness personality such is wot I am.

"So what's your secret, Maestro?" I asked him. Naji believes that it is only through compassion and good rapport between patient and practitioner that true healing can take place. And that doing the right treatment at the right time can have the most dramatic effect. And I'm hip to that.

Further Information

David Sye's Yogabeats, Tel: 07961 872091;


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About Alan Pillay

Alan Pillay is known to millions through his work in the groundbreaking Channel 4 TV series, 'The Comic Strip Presents…" in the 1980s. He is a chart recording artiste who has appeared on 'Top of the Pops' three times and is a regular contributor to the BBC World Service 'Outlook' programme. He has become one of the UK's top disco divas and works the top London clubs. For more information on Alan check 'Crimewatch'. Failing that, try his website at

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