Our Acupuncture service is led by Cath Spengler

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of treatment developed many hundreds of years ago in China, where it is now practiced alongside conventional Western medicine. Over recent years the medical interest in acupuncture has gown rapidly, especially in Europe and the United States.

Fact – In Finland all medical students are taught acupuncture as part of their training and in France over 7,000 doctors are trained in acupuncture, which is readily available in the National Health Service.

What Does Acupuncture Involve?
No more than 8-10 extremely fine needles are inserted into the skin and left in for a short period of time. At times the number of needles maybe only 2 or 3 depending on the area of the body being treated and the severity of the condition. Insertion of the needles occasionally causes a slight pricking discomfort, but once in position the needles are painless. The sensation produced is often a comfortable and relaxing one. The frequency and number of treatments often varies dependant again on the condition being treated, its severity and the practitioner themselves. Some conditions settle after only 2-3 sessions however in some cases up to six sessions may be required in order to see improvements.

What Can Acupuncture Usefully Treat?
The response of any condition to acupuncture will depend on at least 3 things.

  • The extent and severity of irreparable damage in the body.
  • The patient’s physical responses – people differ widely in the way their bodily systems react to acupuncture.
  • The skill and experience of the practitioner.


It is impossible to list all the conditions which may be helped by acupuncture without misleading to some extent. Some conditions respond better than others but also patients react differently.

Pain – either chronic or intermittent, which is not being adequately controlled by conventional treatment, or when drug side effects are a problem.

Musculoskeletal – Arthritis and rheumatism of all types but structural changes or deformities can not be corrected. Back and neck problems involving pain and muscle spasm, whether or not spondylosis, “trapped nerve”, “disc” trouble, have been diagnosed, and often after surgery has not been completely successful for pain relief. Sciatica, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, carpel tunnel syndrome. Injuries involving ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and also non-united fractures.

Nervous system – Anxiety states, nervous tension, depression (sometimes), neuralgia including trigeminal and post-herpatic, nervous tics and insomnia.

Head – Migraine, tension headaches, vertigo, Menieres syndrome, tinnitus (occasionally), chronic cattargh, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, recurrent superficial mouth ulcers, chronic inflammation of conjunctivae or eyelids

Chest – Bronchial Asthma, angina pectoris, (symptomatic relief)

Abdomen – Peptic ulcer, diverticuitis, colitis, chronic or intermittent bouts of diarrhea or constipation that have been properly investigated, irritable bladder, bed wetting in children, irregularities of menstruation, premenstrual tension, menopausal symptoms, some types of sexual dysfunction.

Skin – Pruritus, urticaria, eczema, psoriasis (sometimes), excessive seating (sometimes).

Miscellaneous – Smoking, obesity, feeling of being “run down” or easily tired, “psycho-somatic problems, post-operative or post-injury pain.

The list is by no means exhaustive but is intended to illustrate the wide range of conditions that acupuncture can successfully treat. Prior to starting treatment the practitioner should be satisfied that the patient is suitable and no further diagnostic investigations are required.

Are The Results Permanent?
Acupuncture works by stimulating the patient’s body to heal itself – if it is able to do so. The treatment attempts to heal yourself by your own natural processes. Following successful acupuncture you do not need to have to continue with treatment to have continued relief. After all, a method which has stood the test of time, and which is growing with popularity in the West, would hardly have done so if merely produced temporary effects.

An Adjunct
Acupuncture is a different approach to treatment and should be used alongside all other established methods of treatment. When acupuncture was developed and extensively practiced in China, it was employed only as part of the total approach to the treatment of illness and incapacity. The range of treatments used was:

  • Physiotherapy (heat, massage and manipulation)
  • Diet and herbal treatments
  • Acupuncture

Are There Risks?
Not in expert hands. In some strong reactors occasional temporary aggravation is quickly followed by substantial relief. The extent and severity of these temporary aggravations will depend on the skill and experience of the acupuncturist, the sensitivity of the patient, and the type of problem.

How Does It Work?
Ancient Chinese Philosophy – Illness was believed to be state of imbalance or blockage in the normal energy flows of the body, and that acupuncture, acting on the channels of energy flow, restored them to normal.

Modern beliefs – Modern research has shown that acupuncture can affect most of the body systems – the nervous system including the autonomic (automatic), musculature (voluntary and smooth muscle tone), hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems.

Many people dismiss acupuncture because they find the explanations unacceptable, but then in modern terms we cannot explain how an aspirin works, but we know it does. Acupuncture is a clinically proven method of treatment, in other words it works – but not all the time and not for everything.

Electro-acupuncture (EA) is the application of an electrical current to acupuncture needles as a means of stimulating traditional acupuncture points. The application of EA stimulation can greatly enhance the effect of needling treatment, and therefore the effectiveness of the intervention by increasing the level of analgesia and thus extending the period of treatment effectiveness.


It is very effective when treating patients who require pain relief, present with parasthesia, headaches (and arguably other non-physio related problems). It can also be effective when being used to decrease muscular spasm in patients.

Needle Phobia
Strangely enough the people who are frightened of needles usually get the best results from acupuncture; perhaps their systems are particularly sensitive and reactive. The person terrified of needles invariably leaves the first treatment session astonished, and greatly relieved at how little discomfort they felt, and not at all worried if they have to come again.

Final Word
The exaggerated claims of its over-enthusiastic supporters do acupuncture as big a disservice as the closed minds who dismiss it, without experience, as “having no logical basis”. If other treatments are not helping, then consider acupuncture. It won’t do any harm, and you might be very pleased with the results.

Acupuncture Cost
Initial Assessment and Treatment – £40.00
Follow-up Treatment session – £35.00


Please contact us for further information.

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