Healthy body and wellbeing
Acupuncture points in the human body


With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. It can be very effective and is often integrated with conventional medicine. Yet many people only discover acupuncture as a last resort despite growing evidence of its recognised health benefits.

Jo George Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner
Jo George
MBAc; MSc CHM; BSc (Hons)
Traditional Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

Fully insured Member of The British Acupuncture Council and Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.

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Many people turn to traditional acupuncture for help with a specific symptom or condition. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain good health, as a preventive measure, or simply to improve their feelings of wellbeing and help with relaxation. As traditional acupuncture aims to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a wide range of health complaints.

Better still, Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies, children and the elderly.

If you would like to find out more about acupuncture, you'll find independent expert advice here.

Specialist areas of expertise:

About acupuncture

The Chinese healing art of Acupuncture dates back at least 2,000 years and some authorities maintain that it was practiced as long as 4,000 years ago.

Though its exact age is uncertain, we do know that most of the world remained unaware of its ability to promote and maintain good health, until very recently in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Chinese Medicine is a complete medicinal system that is capable of treating disease in all its forms. While an acupuncturist will treat whatever complaint you present with, the traditional view places great importance on preventing disease before it occurs.

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Specialist acupuncture treatment programmes

Even if you have not been classified as infertile or undergoing IVF treatment, we still advise patients to use our acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine service here at the clinic. We provide a Twelve Week Foundation Acupuncture Programme for both women and men. Jo uses a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional advice using an evidence-based approach.

Putting the building blocks in place, and getting the female cycle or sperm production into balance is the key to success. Whatever your age, if you have a history of either numerous fertility drugs (over 3 cycles), birth control pills, PMS, ART procedures, elevated FSH, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, or a history of drug, alcohol, or smoking use, it will usually take longer to balance the reproductive system and therefore advisable to prepare using our Twelve Week Foundation Acupuncture Programme.

That said, regardless of your present health, age, or time left before your next IVF cycle it’s still possible to have a positive effect on the vitality of both the egg and sperm. Our Acupuncture IVF Programme is for patients who would like to use acupuncture to support themselves and their bodies through an IVF procedure, but may not have the time to complete our Twelve Week Foundation Acupuncture Programme.

We also provide IUI patients with an Acupuncture Programme and continue to care for patients who are pregnant with our Pregnancy Acupuncture Programme.

Frequently asked questions:

What is the history of Acupuncture?
What is Acupuncture?
What is the theory behind Acupuncture?
How does Acupuncture work?
How does Acupuncture compare to Western medicine?
What can Acupuncture successfully treat?
Is Acupuncture safe?
Does Acupuncture hurt?
What other techniques can be used?
What can I expect in a consultation?
How many treatments will I need?
What happens during a treatment?

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What is the history of acupuncture?

The first record of Acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine. This is said to be the oldest medical textbook in the world. It draws on the ideas, from even earlier times, of Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine. Shen Nung documented many theories about circulation, pulse and the heart, some 4,000 years before European medicine had any concept of them.

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What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic healing therapy based on ancient techniques to balance the vital energy known as Qi, which moves around the body and the mind in pathways, or meridians.

Energy constantly flows up and down these meridians. When they become obstructed or deficient in some way, Yin and Yang are said to be thrown out of balance, which can cause illness. Acupuncture is believed to restore the balance.

Jo assesses the pattern of energies by means of questions, observation and examination, including Chinese pulses and the tongue. She then carries out treatments at specific spots, or Acupoints in the skin. Very fine needles are used, but Acupuncture can also be carried out by finger pressure, cupping, electrical stimulation, soft lasers and the application of warmth (moxibustion), particularly if there is a dislike of needles.

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What is the theory behind acupuncture?

Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine, theorised that the body had an energy force running through it. This energy force is known as Qi (pronounced 'chee'). The Qi consists of all essential life activities, which include the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects of life.

A person's health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body, in combination with the universal forces of Yin and Yang (opposite forces, that when balanced, work together). If the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang will become unbalanced and illness may follow.

Qi travels throughout the body along meridians or special pathways. The meridians, are the same on both sides of the body, or paired. There are 14 main meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body.

The Acupuncture points are specific locations at which the meridians come to the surface of the skin and are easily accessible by needling, Moxibustion (the application of warmth) and Acupressure (finger pressure). The connections made ensure that there is an even circulation of Qi, a balance between Yin and Yang.

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How does acupuncture work?

Scientists have no real answer to this; many of the workings of the body are still a mystery. However there are a number of prevailing theories:

  • The Augmentation of Immunity Theory holds that Acupuncture raises levels of tricglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins, opsonins, and overall antibody levels.
  • The Endrophine Theory states that Acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body, specifically enkaphalins.
  • The Neurotransmitter Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels, such as serotonin and adrenalin, are beneficially affected by Acupuncture.
  • The Circulatory Theory holds that Acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels, which may cause a release of vasodilators such as Histamine.
  • The Gate Control Theory puts forward the idea that the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system, which regulates the impulse, which will later be interpreted as pain. This part of the nervous system is called the gate. If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it closes. This prevents some of the impulses from getting through. The first gates to close are the smallest. The nerve fibres that carry the impulses of pain are rather small nerve fibres called 'c' fibres. This last theory believes that it is these 'gates', which close during acupuncture.

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How does acupuncture compare to Western medicine?

Some people believe that the strengths of Western Medicine lie in trauma care and therapies for acute problems, whilst Chinese medicine excels in the areas of chronic problems such as eczema, and in preventative medicine.

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What can acupuncture successfully treat?

The most common ailments people suffer from which can be successfully treated by Acupuncture are lower back pain, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, sciatica, condylitis, arthritic conditions, headaches of all kinds (including migraine) and allergies.

Acupuncture has general and specific uses for analgesia, including surgery, and for the relief of muscle spasms. The World Health Organisation adds to this list, acute sinusitis, tonsilitis, rhinitis, the common cold, asthma, bronchitis, and dental complaints such as toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis and chronic pharyngitis.

There have also been clinical trials in using Acupuncture to treat anxiety disorders and depression. Likewise, some success has been demonstrated in the use of acupuncture to treat addictions to alcohol, nicotine and hard drugs. However, while Acupuncture can rid the body of the physical dependency, it cannot rid the mind of the psychological dependency. For this reason the treatment of addictions has not been fully successful.

As well as its established reputation for pain relief, Acupuncture is also used successfully in the treatment of problems which don't involve pain such as stress, high blood pressure, insomnia, pregnancy management, endometriosis, heavy periods, PMS, menopausal symptoms, asthma, digestive disorders and skin complaints. However the aim is always to help the individual to optimise their health, rather than to treat specific diseases or conditions.

While Acupuncture is effective in treating the above conditions, it does not simply relieve the symptoms. The aim is to treat the whole patient and restore the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.

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Is acupuncture safe?

Yes, in properly trained hands it is safe, even safer than the medical or surgical treatments it may replace. Sterile disposable needles are used so there is no risk of diseases spreading from one person to another.
Special precautions may be necessary if the patient has heart valve disease (or replacement), a pacemaker, is debilitated or immune deficient, or is taking certain drugs such as anti-clotting or anti-cancer agents.

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Does acupuncture hurt?

Very little. The needles are very fine and flexible, and are usually inserted only to a few millimetres. If this is a worry, even finer needles or needle-free techniques can be used.

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What other Acupuncture techniques may be used?

Electro Acupuncture sends very small electrical impulses through the acupuncture needles. This method is generally used for analgesia (pain relief or pain prevention). The amount of power used is only a few microamperes. The first reported use of Electro Acupuncture was in 1958 in China for tonsillectomy. Today, it is a common method of surgical analgesia in China.

Auricular Acupuncture or ear acupuncture is another commonly used treatment. The theory is that as the ear has a rich supply of nerves and blood, it has connections all over the body. For this reason it has many suitable acupuncture points which correspond to various organs and different parts of the body.

Auricular Acupuncture is successfully used to treat all sorts of problems including obesity, alcoholism and drug addiction. There are numerous studies both completed and ongoing which confirm the effectiveness of Auricular Acupuncture.

Moxibustion is the treatment of diseases by the application of heat to Acupuncture points. Acupuncture and Moxibustion are considered complimentary forms of treatment, and are commonly used together. Moxibustion is used for aliments such as bronchial asthma, bronchitis, certain types of paralysis, and arthritic disorders.

Cupping stimulates Acupuncture points by applying suction through a metal, wood, or glass jar, in which a partial vacuum has been created. This technique produces blood congestion at the site, and thereby stimulates it. Cupping is used for low back pain, sprains, soft tissue injuries, and relieving fluid form the lungs in chronic bronchitis.

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What can I expect in a consultation?

The aim in the first consultation, is to determine the nature of the disharmony by careful questioning and observation. Diagnosis may include examination of the tongue for its structure, colour and coating and of the pulses at the wrists, to measure their quality, strength and rhythm.

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How many treatments will I need?

There is no set number of treatments required. Usually treatments take place once or twice a week, but they can be less frequent. The response to and success of Acupuncture can vary from one individual to another. Some effects may be dramatic and only require one or two treatments. In other cases, the effects can be subtle and treatment may continue for several months. If we have a particular area of expertise e.g gynaecology then you will find more specific information in that section.

Some or several of the treatments below may be used

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal therapy
  • Dietary therapy
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle management

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What happens during acupuncture with needles?

During treatment, needles are either inserted and left in for a brief second or two, or can remain in place for anything up to 20-30 minutes, depending on the effect required. During this time there may be a heavy sensation in the limbs and a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

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