How does it work?

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From the Chinese medicine perspective, acupuncture needles skillfully placed in specific parts of the body move ‘Qi’ the body’s energy. PulseWhen ‘Qi’ is not moving, problems occur. However, the effectiveness of the treatment depends on choosing the correct points. After-all, if the river current is already moving, there’s no need to paddle. You only need to paddle where the river current is sluggish. There are over 400 points on the body and the practitioner chooses between 1 and 14 points based on a Chinese medicine diagnosis. The acupuncture points that are chosen work together like a wonderful recipe where certain combinations accentuate the treatment.

From the Western perspective, the theory’s on how acupuncture works depends on which tunnel we look down. Scientific studies have shown that acupuncture:

Increases blood flow: This is hugely important since the body needs blood to heal. Blood contains oxygen, nutrients, hormones and pain killers.

Reduces stress: “Stress reduction” has become rather cliché but it’s very important to healing and acupuncture does this very well by stimulating the release of oxytocin which helps regulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Recent studies have shown ( that regulation of the nervous system using acupuncture may help support the treatment of autoimmune conditions.

Stimulate healing: Tiny pin-pricks in the body, called micro traumas, stimulates the body’s healing response.


Relieves pain: Acupuncture signals the brain to release the pain killers our body already has such as endorphins, norepinephrine and encephalin, some of which are more potent than morphine. Each of these pain killers has a receptor which needs to match up to work and some studies have shown that acupuncture makes more pain receptors available. I’ve personally seen how powerful the pain relief component can be with patients coming in our Brighton & Hove clinic in severe pain and leaving with none. It can be very impressive.

There are a number of other theories on how acupuncture works but, ultimately, it depends on the individual person, the individual condition, the individual points as to which theory or combination of theories is in effect during a treatment.

You can now book appointments online