What is Acupuncture?

Our expert team practice Western acupuncture in Hertfordshire to treat a wide range of conditions. Deriving from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach, the original practicing of acupuncture developed thousands of years ago. It involves the insertion of sterile, single use needles for different therapeutic effects and is often considered to be a type of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM).

Western acupuncture is underpinned by evidence based literature that fits with the overall scientific and evidence based approach to western medicine.


How Does Western Acupuncture Work?

Recent research indicates that acupuncture aids in the release of the body’s own natural pain reliever, called Endorphin, into the bloodstream. With a western approach to acupuncture, the majority of these ‘points’ are then stimulated in and around the area in which we are feeling pain, therefore allowing Endorphins to inhibit the transmission of pain locally.

There are several processes that are used to explain its effects:

  • Release of natural painkillers by conduction of electromagnetic signals

Scientific evidence has shown that acupuncture points are points of high electrical conductivity. By stimulating these points, electromagnetic signals to the brain are relayed at a faster rate encouraging the production of natural painkillers i.e. endorphins and immune system cells to specific areas of pain.

  • ’Pain-gate theory’

There is a suggestion that acupuncture can stimulate peripheral nerves to ‘shut the gate’ and prevent pain signals travelling through to the spinal cord to the pain-appreciating areas of the brain. There is evidence to show that parts of the central nervous system can even be affected such as immune reactions which can alter blood pressure, body temperature and blood flow.

  • Activation of opioid systems

Research has also shown that there is a reduction of pain linked to several types of opioids released into the central nervous system during treatment. As the therapy does not involve the use of traditional medicine, it should not produce any adverse reactions.


What does Acupuncture treat?

Our ACPM and BMAS Hertfordshire based, registered physiotherapists at Harpenden Physiotherapy use western acupuncture for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, chronic and/or acute muscular, joint or ligamentous pain, including:

  • Acute back pain
  • Cervicogenic headaches
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Temperomandibular Joint Pain/jaw


Acupuncture for non-musculoskeletal conditions

In addition to treating these conditions, we offer western acupuncture treatment in Harpenden for non-musculoskeletal conditions, such as:

Bell’s Palsy, Eczema/Dermatitis, IBS, Insomnia, Jet Lag, Menopausal symptoms, Migraines, Morning Sickness, Sinusitus, Sleep Apnoea, Snoring, Stress, Tinnitus and Trigeminal Neuralgia

We also run popular Acupuncture courses in Hertfordshire for successfully treating smoking cessation, weight loss and other addictions. Courses such as these typically need up to 6 full sessions, with 15 minute top up sessions if/when required. Acupuncture is the perfect complimentary treatment to massage and other holistic therapies.


Does Acupuncture hurt?

There are several common sensations experienced by Acupuncture patients, however, sharp pain is not one of them. Often a warm or tingling sensation can be experienced depending on the acupuncture point that is being targeted. The area could also feel slightly heavier.

Another common sensation experienced during treatment is a feeling of warmth surrounding the acupuncture point. Each of these reactions are normal and our friendly team are happy to answer any questions you may have and make you feel reassured.



There can be a level of apprehension regarding undergoing acupuncture treatment. Our dedicated team are vastly experienced and ensure that our patients are comfortable and informed throughout the treatment. Have a read through the below examples in which our clients have found acupuncture to have excelled in helping them –

“After a pretty stressful time at work and home, I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy by my GP and was told that reducing my stress levels and time was the best thing to allow for symptoms to settle. I was quite sceptical when Jo discussed acupuncture when I sought her advice. But after 6 sessions over 7 weeks, the palsy had completely settled and I was back to normal – even my GP couldn’t quite believe how quickly it settled. I would recommend this treatment to anyone in a similar position.” David.

“Tom used acupuncture to help with my sciatica. He used it to help settle down a muscle in my buttock which he felt was contributing to the pain I was feeling down my leg. I can’t lie, it was sore at the time, but the result was fantastic – 2 months of pain vanished almost overnight. With some exercises, I’ve kept things under control. I feel acupuncture was pivotal for sending me down the right path and would absolutely try it again.” Jenna.

Call Harpenden Physiotherapy Today

If you’d like to find out more about the western approach to acupuncture and how we use it in Harpenden, contact us on 01582 761448 and book an appointment with Jo Parrott, our lead acupuncture specialist and physiotherapist.

Treating ankle sprains


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