Western Medical Acupuncture

As part of a physical therapy treatment programme

Practitioner practising acupuncture treatmentWestern medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles. It is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine.

It acts by stimulating the nervous system, and is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain but is also effective for post-operative pain and nausea.

What’s the difference between Western and traditional Chinese acupuncture?

While Western medical acupuncture has evolved from traditional Chinese techniques, its practitioners no longer adhere to concepts such as Yin/Yang and circulation of qi, and regard acupuncture as part of conventional medicine rather than a complete “alternative medical system”.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on the belief that it can restore the flow of Qi, an ‘energy’ that flows through your body, while western medical acupuncture is evidence-based and is only administered after a full diagnosis. The western model uses anatomy, physiology and current medical models.

Which of our practitioners can treat using acupuncture as part of a physical therapy treatment programme?

Three of our physical therapy practitioners are qualified to provide Western medical acupuncture as part of their treatment programme. Please book a regular physiotherapy/osteopathy assessment and let the practitioner know that you are interested in a Dry Needling / Acupuncture treatment.

The following practitioners are qualified to provide Western Medial Acupuncture as part of their treatment:

Western medical acupuncture prices (as part of a physical therapy treatment programme)

Acupuncture can be provided as part of a course of physical therapy treatment, and so prices are the same as regular physiotherapy or osteopathy treatment. (See those pages or the online booking page for current prices.)

Three of our physical therapy practitioners (see above) can prescribe Western medical acupuncture treatment as part of a course of physical therapy treatment. Appointments can be booked online or by calling the LWC on 020 7327 5341.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture, Cupping & Moxa

By Helen Hunt - acupuncture practitioner & naturopath

Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture (TCM) has been used for at least 2,000 years to balance the body and promote its natural ability to heal. It is a safe treatment that looks to address the root cause of symptoms and is tailored for you as an individual, focusing on the body and mind as a whole. There is plenty of ongoing evidence-based research to show the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat a variety of conditions from migraines to menopausal problems to back issues.

Very fine, single-use, sterile needles are inserted below the skin to stimulate acupuncture points, these are located on acupuncture meridians or channels. The treatment is painless, but you may experience some tingling or numbness, and many people feel very relaxed during the treatment. Depending on the nature of the issue being treated and how chronic it is a number of sessions may be required. We will develop a personal treatment plan during the first consultation which is reviewed as sessions progress.


Cupping is another Chinese Medicine technique that involves placing glass jars, in which a vacuum has been created on the body. Rather like a reverse massage, the cups create suction on the muscles allowing increased flow of blood, fluid and Qi, relieving tension, releasing toxins and clearing stagnation. Massage oils can be used with the cupping to stimulate the muscles and acupuncture meridians.

Acupuncture and cupping are often combined. Many Olympic athletes have had this treatment and were seen with ‘cup marks’ – purple or red circles where the cups have been, this shows the release of ‘stagnation’ but isn’t a sign of tissue damage, and unlike a bruise any marks simply fade after a couple of days.


Moxa involves the burning of small amounts of specialised herbs near acupuncture points. The burning herb stimulates the points and warms the body, and is particularly beneficial for chronic conditions. Moxa can be used by itself or with acupuncture needles.

Helen Hunt: Acupuncture, Cupping & Moxa prices

Helen Hunt is a qualified acupuncture practitioner and naturopath, who trained for 5 years at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

  • Initial appointment (1 hr 15 mins): £75
  • Follow-up appointment (45 mins): £65

Appointments with Helen can be booked online or by calling the LWC on 020 7327 5341.


Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. However, it is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as the practitioner adjusts the needle. While the needles are in place, most people feel deeply relaxed – a feeling which can continue after the treatment is complete.

How many sessions will I need?

Your acupuncturist will estimate the number of treatments needed during the initial consultation. You may start to feel benefits after your first or second treatment, although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve.

It is recommended that you have three treatments to see how your body responds to acupuncture, and 5-8 treatments are recommended to achieve longer-lasting benefits. Monthly maintenance sessions are recommended for optimal and lasting effects.

Are there are any side effects or risks to having acupuncture?

The main risk of acupuncture is that it can cause slight bruising, however this is rare and care is taken to avoid capillaries on the face. This is less of an issue for traditional acupuncture performed on other areas of the body.

Sometimes people can feel dizzy or tired after a treatment, but this passes quickly if it does occur at all.

All acupuncture needs are sterilised and are single use only.

You can read more about acupuncture on the NHS website; www.nhs.uk/conditions/acupuncture/

Are there any side effects or risks from Cupping?

The use of cups may leave temporary red or mauve circular marks, these are not indications of bruising or tissue trauma and will fade within a couple of days.

Your practitioner will take a full case history and perform any necessary examination in which they will decide the best course of treatment for you, please make it known to the practitioner if you are uncomfortable with any part of this.  Please raise any concerns you have regarding any aspect of treatment with the practitioner.

The Wellbeing Centre acupuncturists