Acupuncture, sax, and rock `n’ roll

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Rick Loos reckons he has lived a “varied life”, and looking at his several job titles, it is hard to disagree with him. Born in Amsstelveen, Holland, he moved to New Zealand in 1974 as a 14-year-old with his family and settled in Rotorua, where his father’s uncle lived. “My parents grew up in the Depression and the Second World War, and my father decided as a kid to one day go to the other side of the world. So one day, without warning, he took us to New Zealand.” Mr Loos said he’s lived in “all of the big cities in New Zealand” and four-and-a-half years ago, decided to move from Rotorua to Oamaru with his wife Amanda Dennis and their two children, Elaine (15) and Jackson (17).
Mr Loos, whose clinic is based at Health 2000 in Thames St, said he became interested in acupuncture and massage after he suffered an injury, and used the process to heal it.
“I had a foot injury when I was in my early 20s. I got some acupuncture and it fixed it very quickly, so I became interested in acupuncture and massage.” He studied massage therapy in Christchurch at the Canterbury College of Natural Medicine in 1990 and 1991, and acupuncture at the Auckland College of Education in 1992 and 1993. He then served a six-month apprenticeship in Rotorua.
Mr Loos said the most enjoyable aspect of his chosen career was aiding his clients in recovery or relieving pain. “I think it’s just being able to help people with a really effective, pain-free therapy,” he said.
“It helps a lot of people, and doesn’t harm anybody.” He said it was a “fascinating field to study’ , and felt New Zealand should follow in the footsteps of China when it came to acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture has been used to treat patients in Chinese hospitals since the 1950s, and has been an approved ACC treatment in New Zealand since 1990. “Before and after operations, people get acupuncture. So, for example, people who get nausea from morphine for example, they will get acupuncture.  “The Chinese don’t mind mixing traditional medicine with modern medicine.
“I would like to see that in New Zealand hospitals.” In addition to his job, Mr Loos is heavily involved in Oamaru’s music scene. “My mother especially took an interest in music, so I started from a young age,” he said. When he first arrived in Oamaru he sought out local musicians at the Penguin Club, and has been part of several bands. He is a member of Dee May and the Saints, playing the saxophone.
“This band is the most fun I’ve ever been part of. It’s rock n’ roll with saxophones _ what’s not to like?”
He also teaches music at Waitaki Girls’ High School once a week, and teaches the ukulele, guitar and the keyboard at home. Mr Loos also has a love of the theatre and performing arts in general.
A qualified teacher, he was involved with Te Wananga o Aotearoa, which provides holistic education opportunities of the highest quality for Maori and Pakeha students, as a theatre director and drama tutor for 13 years between 1993 and 2006. Today, he’s happy in Oamaru and planned to hang around for some time yet. “I’m in my 50s now and like a slower pace of life . . . I heard that Oamaru was a good place to bring up teenagers and it’s true I really enjoy it here.”