Eastern vs Western Acupuncture: What’s the difference?

Qi or chi Chinese character

Most people wouldn’t think of Acupuncture in terms of Eastern and Western, but they are in fact very different. Acupuncture is thousands of years old and derives from Traditional Chinese Medicine which is what is also referred to as ‘Eastern’ Acupuncture. It has only been in the last 50 years that Acupuncture has become more widely recognised as a treatment for a variety of ailments in the West. Here we will be exploring the distinct differences between Eastern and Western Acupuncture to help you understand their uses, benefits and how they work.

Eastern Acupuncture

To understand Acupuncture, we must first look to the East, and more specifically to China, where Acupuncture is part of a wider philosophy within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Acupuncture is based on the belief that Qi (chi) is energy that circulates through the body, connecting vital organs and bodily functions. If this energy is blocked, problems within the body will occur and therefore it is through acupuncture that acupressure points can be stimulated to restore the flow of Qi, harmonising the body. Concepts such as Qi as well as Yin and Yang are all fundamental within Traditional Acupuncture as it is primarily a philosophical based medicine.

Western Acupuncture

Western Acupuncture on the other hand works on a much more scientific and evidential basis, compared to the traditional acupuncture philosophies. As there is no physical basis in which to verify the connection between the ‘Eastern’ acu-points and an ailment, Western acupuncture chooses to reinterpret them. The Western models of the human anatomy are used alongside verified data and studies to determine how Acupuncture is used as a treatment. This means that unlike Traditional Acupuncture, the Western counterpart does not insert needles based on the philosophy of Qi flow. Many therefore believe Western Acupuncture to be a much safer treatment as it tends to be slightly more regulated. As such, practitioners are less willing to risk injuring the patient by inserting needles into traditional acu points. The principles they choose to focus on instead include the Gate Theory of Pain as well as stimulating the body’s natural opiates through needles.

Having said that, the training necessary to qualify in Western acupuncture is shorter and the bar for certification lower. For instance the AACP foundation course in acupuncture lasts six days. Compare this to training in Traditional Chinese medicine which tends to take one to three years.

So, what is the difference between Eastern and Western Acupuncture?

Put simply, the two differ in their teaching model with Eastern being philosophy based and Western using medical models and evidential diagnoses before treatment. Whilst both work in different ways, the principles are very similar with modern day acupuncture practitioners working to bring elements from each together to safely aid in restoring harmony in the body and helping individuals with a wide variety of ailments. Acupuncture is recognised as safe treatment that works well particularly when used in conjunction with conventional medicines. And, when carried out by a qualified practitioner, complications such a disease, tissue damage, infections etc. are extremely rare.

Are you interested in finding out more about the treatments we offer at Acupuncture That Works and how they can benefit your overall health and wellbeing? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0800 051 76 88 or by completing our contact form!

Acupuncture That Works gives you Something to Look Forward To

Here at ATW, we’re passionate about helping people, whether that be people who come to see us regularly or just on a one off basis.

Something To Look Forward To logo

We have had close links with an organisation called Something To Look Forward To for many years now, who are a charity who have been affected by cancer and so decided to try to help others. STLFT helps by providing gifts and experiences to to families and cancer patients which have been donated by gifts and businesses.

They succeeded, and since 2015, Something to Look Forward To has been a registered charity which has helped to improve the lives of thousands of families of cancer patients across the UK.

A Massive Success

Something To Look Forward To has achieved massive success, and also massive recognition, as they were the winner of the Special Achievement Award at the 2018 National Lottery Winner Awards.

The founder, Fiona, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, just like the founder of ATW, Emma, which is why helping others is so important to Emma. This is why Emma and Acupuncture That Works have donated Acupuncture sessions, in order to offer holistic therapies to cancer sufferers.

Under the Guy Protocol, details of which can be found here, it was found that regular Acupuncture sessions have been found to be effective on patients using Tamoxifen in helping to reduce the side effects of hot flushes.

Acupuncture That Works is proud to be linked with a charity such as Something To Look Forward To, and we hope to be able to support them for many years to come.



Acupuncture That Works welcomes Emma Mango in Chester

Acupuncture That Works are delighted to announce a new clinic in Chester which is run by resident Acupuncturist Emma Mango.

Emma Mango - Acupuncture That Works Chester
Emma Mango – Acupuncture That Works Chester

Emma came to Acupuncture after an Acupuncturist helped her by successfully treating her Meniere’s Disease with Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. From this, Emma was inspired to help others who may be looking for alternative remedies for acute and chronic illnesses.

Her path to becoming a qualified Acupuncturist saw Emma graduating in 2012 from the University of Lincoln with a first class BSc Honours degree in Acupuncture. This course is accredited by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine UK (ATCM).

Her training also included courses in Chinese massage, moxibustion, cupping therapy and auricular acupuncture. As part of her degree, Emma worked in the University’s alternative health clinic, treating patients with asthma, psoriasis, sciatica, acne and menopausal symptoms, among others.

Since graduating, Emma has gained 5 years’ experience in the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Emma is particularly interested in mental health but welcomes the chance to treat any disorder. A large part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on diet and lifestyle and this is integrated into all treatments; each patient is an individual, each treatment personally tailored.

We at Acupuncture That Works are delighted to welcome Emma to the team and look forward to working with her as we grow our network of clinics.

To book a treatment with Emma in our Chester clinic, just call 0800 051 76 88.

Chester Clinic:

Health & Wellbeing Therapies

Fidelity House,

12A Stocks Lane,

Great Boughton,

Chester, CH3 5TF

Acupuncture That Works featured on RedShift Radio

Earlier this week Emma was invited to speak on the RedShift Radio Health and Healing programme, with Chrisoula Sirgou.

Acupuncture That Works - Acupuncture PointIt was a fascinating interview and covered off a number of subjects including how Emma gave up a successful career in Management and became an Acupuncturist, what people use Acupuncture for and some of the things that you can expect. For example, did you know that Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM) doesn’t hurt, and that the needles used are so fine they are as thin as a strand of hair?

Acupuncture That Works is growing….

Acupuncture That Works has been very busy recently so with that in mind we are very pleased to announce a new staff member to help cope with demand.

We are delighted to welcome on board Clare Cowell who is an acupuncturist and qualified physiotherapist. Clare has lived and around Northwich all her life and has a BSc Honours in Physiotherapy, as well as an MSc in Neuromusculoskeletal Healthcare. You can read Clare’s full profile here.

Clare CowellClare will be a great addition to the team here and she has arrived after an extensive search. The key thing was that we needed to make sure that the person who joined us would not only be someone who would uphold and maintain the high standards we have set, but also be a great team member.

With Clare’s background we can now offer Physiotherapy as well as acupuncture, something some of our patients have been asking about for a while now.

If you would like to book in with Clare then give us a call on 0800 051 76 88 or 07880 94 88 77