Is acupuncture real medicine?

Acupuncture has been used as a traditional healing practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years.

It has since become popularised in the Western world, and is recognised as a less invasive method of managing pain and improving overall wellbeing.

However, its efficacy and legitimacy as a medical treatment have remained the subject of debate in the UK and other Western countries for many years.

In this article, we’ll be exploring key aspects of the practice to address the benefits of acupuncture, what acupuncture does, and answer the question, is acupuncture real medicine?

Is acupuncture considered a science?

To understand whether or not acupuncture is a science, we must look back at its history.

Acupuncture is rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy and is based on the idea that the vital life energy Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) flows through the body along pathways named meridians.

TCM suggest that by inserting thin needles into specific acupoints along these meridians, practitioners can balance the flow of Qi to promote wellbeing.

Despite its rich and long past, western medicine demands more scientific evidence and validation, which has led critics to argue that acupuncture lacks scientific grounding.

However, those within the world of acupuncture argue that recent advancements and studies provide a solid basis for understanding the benefits of acupuncture.

In a 2017 clinical study, it was concluded acupuncture was an effective for the treatment of chronic pain.

Numerous studies conducted in the past decade have supported this conclusion.

Is acupuncture medically proven?

Over the years, the medical community in the UK and globally has evolved its stance on acupuncture.

In 1979, the World Health Organisation (WHO) first recognised acupuncture as a viable treatment for 43 conditions, including migraines and chronic pain. Since then, it has continued to recommend and support the practice.

Moreover, the NHS has also acknowledged acupuncture’s effectiveness for certain conditions and it is now used in many GP practices, as well as in most pain clinics and hospices.

Currently, the strongest support in the medical community is for acupuncture’s capacity to alleviate chronic pain.

Is acupuncture a placebo or real?

One of the most commonly asked questions about acupuncture is whether its benefits are real or a placebo effect.

Over the years, many acupuncture studies and trials have tested groups with real acupuncture and sham acupuncture to determine whether or not there can be a placebo effect.

These trials have seen mixed results, with some suggesting that acupuncture benefits extend way beyond a placebo effect and that the insertion of the needle does, in fact, trigger a physiological response.

Are acupressure points scientifically proven?

Acupressure is a commonly used technique that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body.

Although research into acupressure is not as extensive as acupuncture, some studies suggest it can be beneficial, particularly when used in conjunction with acupuncture.

For example, acupressure has demonstrated itself to help reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep.

One 2011 systematic review of 43 studies of acupressure’s effectiveness treating symptoms found that in 35 of the studies, it was concluded that acupressure was effective at treating specific symptoms, including nausea, pain and insomnia.

Get in touch today

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand what acupuncture is and what the benefits of acupuncture are, but if you have any questions or are interested in learning how you could benefit from sessions, feel free to explore our website or get in touch with us today on 0800 051 76 88.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

According to the World Health Organization, of the countries that report data to them, acupuncture is used in an incredible 103 out of 129. In the past 50 years, the practice has increased in popularity and is used to help alleviate a wide range of health issues, from chronic pain to mental health struggles. At Acupuncture That Works, we have helped countless patients to experience the unique benefits of acupuncture, but one of the most common questions we are asked is: “Is acupuncture safe?”.  We understand these concerns which is why, in this article, we explore the safety aspects, including the risks, adverse side effects, who should avoid it, and when it might be unsafe.

What are acupuncture’s risks?

When carried out by a trained and qualified practitioner, acupuncture is considered to be a safe and effective method of addressing a number of health issues. According to NCCIH, relatively few complications from acupuncture have ever been reported. However, as with any medical procedure, it carries minor risks, which our practitioners will always make you aware of. The main risks associated with acupuncture include:

Bruised skin or bleeding

Some patients may occasionally experience light bruising or bleeding where the hair-thin needles have been inserted. This is generally harmless and will subside within a few hours after your session.


Reputable acupuncture clinics will always follow strict hygiene and health and safety protocols to ensure patients are never at risk of infection. However, if you receive acupuncture from an individual who has not correctly sterilised the needles, there will be a minimal risk of infection.


While most patients can hardly feel the needles, some may find acupuncture slightly uncomfortable, mainly when the needle is first inserted, but this should be temporary.

Feeling faint

One of the rare ‘risks’ associated with acupuncture is feeling faint or dizzy during or after the session. Our practitioners find that those who fear needles, suffer anxiety leading up to the session, or have low blood pressure are generally more at risk of feeling faint.

Are there negative side effects from acupuncture?

We believe the incredible benefits of acupuncture far outweigh the mild and short-lived negative side effects that some patients experience. Often, patients leave feeling rested, more relaxed and rejuvenated after their acupuncture sessions. However, some may experience the following:


Feeling tired following an acupuncture session isn’t uncommon because your body has entered a state of relaxation and healing. We recommend patients stay hydrated and take it easy for the remainder of the day so that the body has time to recover and rebalance.


Feeling a slight soreness at the needle insertion site is not uncommon, but this will fade after the session and over the following days.

Feeling worse

In rare cases, we have seen patients’ symptoms worsen briefly but then improve. This can be part of the body’s natural healing process and will not last long.

Who should not have acupuncture?

Acupuncture is generally a safe, non-invasive method of managing a range of health concerns, but we find it may not be suitable for the following individuals:

  • People with bleeding disorders
  • Pregnant women
  • People with pacemakers or heart conditions
  • People with metal allergies
  • People with certain immune disorders
  • People with certain skin conditions

We advise you to always consult your GP and speak to our team about any concerns you may have before receiving acupuncture.

When is acupuncture unsafe?

There is only one instance where we believe acupuncture to be unsafe, and that is when administered by an unqualified individual in unsanitary conditions. We always recommend that you check your practitioner is a licenced healthcare professional or a registered member of a national acupuncture organisation. The British Acupuncture Council is the UK’s leading regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture and allows you to search their online registry for practitioners in your area.

Get in touch today

We hope that this article has helped answer that all-important question “Is acupuncture safe?” but if you have any questions or are interested in learning how you could benefit from sessions, feel free to explore our website or get in touch with us today on 0800 051 76 88.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

Millions of people in the UK, and across the globe, receive acupuncture each year to address a wide range of health concerns and ailments.

As this traditional Chinese medical practice has grown in popularity, greater research and a growing number of studies demonstrate how people can benefit.

If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture, then keep reading.

Here, we’ll delve into everything you must know about acupuncture and explain how you can make it part of your health and wellbeing routine.


What is the main benefit of acupuncture?

Acupuncture has several benefits, but its main one is an ability to restore balance and harmony throughout the body.

According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the body’s vital energy, ‘qi’, flows through pathways called meridians. When these pathways are blocked, the body becomes imbalanced, and health issues can develop as a result. By using acupuncture to insert hair-thin needles into acupoints, these pathways can be stimulated and cleared to restore qi’s flow.

While many people turn to acupuncture for pain relief, it offers so much more and is used to tackle a range of conditions. They include chronic pain, stress, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, migraines, reproductive health problems and even immune system deficiencies.

By tapping into the body’s natural healing responses, acupuncture can offer a non-invasive and safe way to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing.


How long does it take to see the benefits of acupuncture?

Each person responds to treatments differently, and the time frame for experiencing the benefits of acupuncture depends on factors like the condition, its severity and any co-existing health issues.

Some patients experience immediate relief and note improvements after a single session, while others may require multiple sessions to achieve long-lasting results.

Practitioners will tell you that acupuncture is not a quick fix to health issues; instead, it encourages long-term healing within the body.

By regularly attending sessions and following the advice of your practitioners, your body is more likely to adapt and respond quicker to sessions.

What not to do after acupuncture?

Once you’ve had your first acupuncture session, it is important to take steps to not only maximise the benefits but to avoid feeling unwell.

Acupuncture is an incredibly safe practice, but to ensure the best experience, we recommend the following:

Hydrate: Staying hydrated is the key to supporting your body’s natural immune response and will aid in the detoxification process that acupuncture initiates.

Relax: After an acupuncture session, we recommend taking it easy and avoiding strenuous exercise. Giving your body time to rest and recover will aid with the healing process.

No alcohol or caffeine: For 24 hours after your acupuncture session, we recommend avoiding alcohol and caffeine because they can disrupt your body’s balance and counteract the healing process.

Maintain your body temperature: Try to avoid any activities that will rapidly increase or decrease your body’s temperature, like hot or cold baths, saunas, steam rooms or hot tubs, as this can interfere with body reharmonising.

Eat light: Avoid eating foods that are too heavy, or high in sugar, and instead choose nutrient-dense foods that will support the body’s immune response.

Get a good night’s sleep: After a day of resting and relaxing, you should aim to get a good night’s sleep to allow your body time to fully recover.

How often should you get acupuncture?

This is a question we are often asked, and the answer varies from person to person.

The frequency of your acupuncture sessions will depend entirely on your health goals, the condition being treated, and how your body responds to acupuncture.

Those suffering from acute conditions such as a sprain or sudden pain may require more frequent sessions to promote a quicker recovery. Equally, chronic conditions such as stress or long-term pain may require more regular sessions that increase or decrease over time to suit the patient’s needs.

We hope this article has helped you to understand the benefits of acupuncture, and we always recommend working with a qualified acupuncturist who can tailor a treatment plan to address your needs.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of acupuncture and understand how you can make it part of your well-being regime, feel free to visit our website or get in touch with our team today by calling 0800 051 76 88.

Can you get acupuncture on the NHS?

According to a survey by the University of York, treatment for infertility by independent acupuncturists was found to have increased five-fold in 10 years. 

Treatment for infertility is just one example of why individuals across the UK seek help from the NHS.

The use of acupuncture, accessed both through the NHS and privately, has increased significantly in recent years, but just how easy is the first route?

In this article, we discuss where acupuncture is available and the ways in which this type of therapy can help with a range of illnesses and physical ailments.

Is it possible to get acupuncture on the NHS?

According to the NHS website, acupuncture is used in some NHS GP Practices across the UK as well as in pain clinics and hospices. However, it also states that access is limited. 

In some instances, individuals may be able to receive acupuncture through the NHS if it is recommended by their doctor or if they are referred to an acupuncture clinic within the system. 

Generally, however, resources are limited, and high demand together with long waiting times for this therapy is likely to restrict the availability of publicly-funded acupuncture. 

What conditions are best treated with acupuncture?

At Acupuncture That Works, we regularly help people with a range of health conditions and concerns by balancing the flow of Qi in the body and promoting healing. 

While individual responses vary, acupuncture has achieved positive results in treating various conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Chronic pain: Acupuncture can be effective in managing conditions like back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, and migraines.
  • Stress and anxiety: Acupuncture has been seen to help individuals feel a sense of calm and relaxation, reduce stress, anxiety and promote emotional wellbeing. 
  • Fertility and reproductive challenges: In recent years, acupuncture has gained popularity in helping men and women with fertility treatment, addressing menstrual issues and other reproductive health concerns like endometriosis.
  • Insomnia and sleep issues: Acupuncture treatments may improve sleep quality and help individuals experiencing insomnia or sleep disturbances.

Who should not get acupuncture?

While acupuncture is generally safe and one of the less invasive therapies available, there are some situations where it is not advisable. 

Anyone with the following conditions or circumstances should consult with a practitioner before receiving acupuncture: 

  • Pregnancy: Acupuncture can be beneficial during pregnancy, and the ATW team regularly assists women struggling with a range of commonly experienced symptoms. However, it is essential to always consult with your acupuncturist to discuss prenatal care and ensure the safety of both mother and child.  
  • Immune system disorders: Immunocompromised individuals, or those with certain autoimmune disorders, should always consult their acupuncturist prior to starting sessions. 
  • Bleeding disorders: Anyone with a bleeding disorder or taking blood thinners should always communicate this with their acupuncturist. It is important precautions are taken as acupuncture involves using thin needles, which can cause bleeding.

It is important always to disclose your medical history, current medications, and any concerns you may have to your acupuncturist to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan.

How long do the benefits of an acupuncture session last for? 

The benefits from an acupuncture session, and their duration, varies according to several factors, including the specific condition being treated, individual response, and the frequency of sessions. 

Many people report experiencing immediate relief or improvement in symptoms after just one session, while others may require multiple sessions to see significant and lasting benefits. 

Most acupuncturists will recommend regular follow-up sessions or treatments to prolong the benefits and address any new concerns.

Ultimately, the lasting benefits of acupuncture will depend on individual circumstances and the nature of the condition being treated. 

Is once a month enough for acupuncture?

The frequency of acupuncture sessions can vary depending on individual needs and the specific issue or condition being addressed. 

While some individuals may benefit from once-a-month treatments, others may require more frequent sessions to achieve the best long-term results.

How much does an acupuncture session cost in the UK?

The cost of an acupuncture session in the UK can vary depending on factors such as location, practitioner experience, and the duration of the session. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the cost of an acupuncture session or have any questions about acupuncture and how it can help to improve your overall wellbeing, feel free get in touch with us today by calling 0800 051 76 88.

HK- Northwich

I attended Emma’s clinic after suffering with headaches that progressively worsened throughout my pregnancy. My first session worked unbelievably for me! I was taking paracetamols daily, and haven’t taken them or experienced headaches since. I still go back to Emma, as shes helped me throughout my pregnancy and also making me feel completely relaxed and at ease. I’m so thankful for Emma, and will continue to visit her

JM- Northwich

I have been seeing Emma for 6 months after experiencing chronic fatigue after cancer treatment. I can’t tell you how transformational the treatment has been and am sure I would not be back working full time and living life to the full without this treatment. I have recommended her to so many people and currently she is also treating my mum, dad and brother for a variety of ailments (pain, macular degeneration, rheumatism, arthritis, memory, intolerances and more!) I marvel constantly at how is works, inexplicable however the important thing is that it does. Whatever you are struggling with..give it a go and don’t worry about the needles, you don’t feel them at all!( another strange phenomenon). Emma is lovely. She listens intently and ensures each treatment is targeted and individualized to your current needs


I have had 6 acupuncture sessions with Emma, for healing and inflammation. I have experienced significant improvement over these last 2 months and would highly recommend Emma, she is extremely knowledgeable and a consummate professional.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Paediatric acupuncture is increasingly popular in the UK as a safe, gentle, and effective therapy for babies, children and teenagers with a number of conditions.

However, we understand that the idea of inserting needles into a child’s skin can be unnerving for parents, which is why we are often asked: ‘Is acupuncture safe for children?’

The answer is: ‘Yes. ‘Acupuncture is completely safe for children of all ages.

To help you understand more about the practice, here we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions by parents.

At what age can kids have acupuncture?

Babies, young children and adolescents can all benefit from the calming and healing effects of acupuncture.

Understandably, children are often afraid of needles, but those used for acupuncture are entirely different from the needles used for injections. When treating young children and babies, acupuncturists will always use incredibly fine, specialist needles.

During a typical session, only one or two needles will be used. In some cases, there will be no needles at all because most practitioners use acupressure on children, which involves stroking, tapping, rubbing or applying pressure to specific acupoints across the body. These movements stimulate Qi (chee) across the body in the same way needles do.

The process is gentle and virtually painless.

Why would a child need acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in helping children of all ages suffering from a range of physical ailments, such as headaches, stomach aches, joint or muscular pains, as well as mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and ADHD.

In babies, acupuncture has been shown to aid with common complaints like colic, lack of sleep and teething pains. The treatment can assist with boosting their immune system, permitting them to fight illness and infection in a healthy and natural way.

In young children, persistent symptoms such as ear infections, coughs and bowel problems can cause lifelong issues and dependencies on medication if not addressed. Often, acupuncture is a safe intervention to address symptoms before they worsen while providing a child’s immune system the support it needs.

For teenagers, acupuncture can be particularly helpful during hormonal imbalances and rapid bodily changes. Teens can suffer from ongoing headaches, migraines, depression, anxiety, stomach issues and other pain during puberty. Acupuncture can help to support them through this transitionary time, helping to rebalance their body and strengthening their immune system.

For many parents, acupuncture has become a safe, effective and non-invasive alternative to medication and other invasive treatments.

Is acupuncture helpful for kids with anxiety?

According to the NHS, almost 300,000 children and adolescents in the UK suffer from anxiety disorders.

Sadly, it is a condition that can affect even young children, which is why many parents are now using acupuncture as a non-invasive tool to help minimise feelings of anxiety.

With the number of children suffering from anxiety on the rise, many studies are now being conducted to demonstrate its efficacy.

In 2018, a pilot study investigated the use of acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety in children and adolescents. Twenty children aged between 8 and 16 participated, and were separated into an acupuncture control group and a waitlisted control group. At the end of the study, the children who received acupuncture treatments displayed a marked decrease in anxiety when compared to the waitlisted group.

Want to learn more about acupuncture for children?

There are countless studies delivering promising results when using acupuncture to help children and adolescents with physical and mental health problems without, or in conjunction, with pharmaceuticals.

We hope this article has helped answer the question ‘Is acupuncture safe for children?’ However, if you would like to learn more, feel free to visit our Acupuncture for Children page.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether acupuncture is the right treatment for your child, then don’t hesitate to contact our team, who will be more than happy to help.

How does facial acupuncture work?

How does facial acupuncture work?

Facial acupuncture, often referred to as cosmetic acupuncture, has become an increasingly popular procedure throughout the UK.

Undertaken by those looking to address skin concerns like ageing or even as a means of pain relief, facial acupuncture boasts many benefits.

What is facial acupuncture?

As the name suggests, facial acupuncture primarily focuses on improving the appearance of the skin around the face, neck and hairline.

Practitioners generally seek to treat the patient as a whole, addressing all of their health concerns, so facial acupuncture is often carried out alongside full-body acupuncture to improve circulation and overall well-being.

How does facial acupuncture work?

The process involves inserting hair-thin needles into the face to stimulate blood flow and increase collagen production without damaging the skin. By creating these microtraumas across the skin, the body’s healing response will be activated to boost nutrients and oxygen to rejuvenate the affected area.

What can facial acupuncture help with?

Facial acupuncture can help with a range of cosmetic and health-related concerns, with many patients using the practice as a safe, non-invasive alternative to treatments such as Botox.

Acupuncture can aid with skin conditions such as acne, reduce the appearance of fine lines, smooth texture and even reduce swelling.

Patients will often report that even after one session, they notice their skin feels softer, healthier and rejuvenated. However, the benefits extend to more than just cosmetic concerns, with many patients using this type of acupuncture to reduce anxiety, jaw tension, headaches, and allergies.

Does facial acupuncture hurt?

Because acupuncture uses hair-thin needles, it is unlikely that you will feel any pain during a session.

Most patients report that they don’t feel the needles being inserted, but if they do, it is only a sensation of light pressure followed by a sense of calm and relaxation. Afterwards, you may experience light bruising and a tingling sensation where the needles were inserted, but this should disappear within a day.

Generally, facial acupuncture is seen as one of the safer, less invasive and more painless ways to bring new life to your skin.

How often should you have facial acupuncture?

How often you should book facial acupuncture is entirely up to you, but most patients will attend weekly sessions for a period recommended by their practitioner. After this, patients will generally return once a month or when they feel the need to.

However, everyone is different, and your requirements can be discussed during your initial consultation and based on how your skin responds.

As with any type of acupuncture, for it to be effective and have a long-lasting impact, we always recommend that patients remain consistent with their sessions to ensure sustained results.

Book a Facial Acupuncture session today!

If you are looking to revive your skin using safe, non-invasive techniques, why not consider acupuncture?

To find out more about the Cosmetic Acupuncture we offer at Acupuncture That Works, feel free to visit our website or get in touch with our team today on 0800 051 76 88.


What is the difference between acupuncture and reflexology?

Acupuncture and reflexology have both become increasingly popular in recent years as more people turn to alternative therapies to ease health concerns.

Given the two practices are derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), they are often confused.

In this post, we explain what they are, their differences, and how each can help with different ailments.

Continue reading “What is the difference between acupuncture and reflexology?”