City Acupuncture Fri, 17 Aug 2018 13:18:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Acupuncture for headaches: NICE endorses acupuncture as an effective treatment for headaches Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:58:54 +0000 The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that healthcare professionals should consider offering patients a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture for the prophylactic treatment of chronic headaches. Acupuncture was described as a good treatment option because it was associated with ‘fewer risks, fewer side-effects, and is also cost effective’.

Acupuncture for headaches – an effective alternative to medication

The guidelines published in September 2012 also show that one person in fifty people experiences headaches as a result of overusing painkillers. In fact overuse of medication can be a cause of migraine in many cases (see blogpost ‘Acupuncture for headaches: A sensible alternative to medication’)

Acupuncture for headaches: an effective treatment for tension type headaches and migraines.

Headache is one of the most frequent reasons for medical consultation, occurring in 80% of the UK adult population, and are more prevalent in women. Acupuncture is practiced in many different forms embracing a multiplicity of styles. Typically patients with the same diagnosis, such as tension type headaches or migraines would receive treatment that varied with their own individual presentation as well as the practitioner’s style, training and background. In my case I practice 5 element acupuncture where the patients constitutional type is assessed in line with one of the 5 elements to provide the diagnosis for treatment. The treatment is holistic, taking into account the particular stresses and strains and emotions that the patient may be experiencing. Along with this the nature of the headaches, in particular their location, frequency and any diurnal pattern of onset and duration would be taken into account along with the type of pain experienced and any associated symptoms, such as photophobia, visual distortion and nausea. From this information the practitioner would choose the appropriate points to needle, both local (around the head and neck) and distal (on the limbs). Needles are sometimes left in for 10 to 20 minutes and sometimes inserted and taken out in the same action, depending on the patient’s symptoms and needs.

Acupuncture for headaches:treating the whole person and helping them manage their stress

Along with the treatment the practitioner and the patient would work together to figure out ways to reduce any factors which may be triggering the headaches. These may include dietary recommendations or ways to alleviate stress. In one recent case where a patient complained of feeling unable to cope with the negative attitude of her boss, it was discussed in the first session that a visit to the HR department, when she was feeling stronger and less worn down by the headaches, could be beneficial in making her feel more empowered. The patient felt so much better after her first treatment that she saw the HR that following week, and started to feel she was more in control of her situation. The headaches were reduced from a daily occurrence to just having the early signs of a headache on the Sunday night before work. This did not develop into a full-blown headache. The patient is also focussing on improving their diet, particularly by having breakfast (porridge) before going into work. This is helping with the digestive complaints such as nausea which often accompanied the headaches, particularly in the morning. Alongside this the patient has experienced a great improvement in her sleep which was being disturbed by the headaches and anxiety about her work situation.

Are you interested in using acupuncture for your headaches?

if you are interested in trying acupuncture for headaches call Mark Butterworth on 07798 622 788 or email at Clinics are available in New Street and Harborne.

Acupuncture for headaches – a sensible alternative to medication? Mon, 01 Oct 2012 14:36:52 +0000 Acupuncture for headaches – medication may be the cause of headaches rather than the cure

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has advised that taking analgesic medication for headaches on a regular basis may actually make headaches worse. Headache sufferers who take paracetamol, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, either alone or in combination, for 15 days in a month or more for over 3 months are advised to seek other ways of managing their conditions as the medication may actually be causing the headaches rather than reducing their impact. In the case of migraine sufferers taking painkillers such as triptans, opioids, ergots or combination analgesics the number of days the guidelines recommend not to exceed using medication for is 10 in a month.

Acupuncture for headaches – an effective alternative to medication

The use of acupuncture for headaches has been shown to be an effective alternative to analgesic medication. A report in the December issue of ‘Anaesthesia and Analgesia’ shows acupuncture provides greater relief than either medication or placebo. Dr. Tong J. Gan, the author of the study commented that “people who get acupuncture prefer it to medication, because of the potential side effects of drugs.” For a fuller review of the article with references please follow the link -

Acupuncture for headaches – how does it help?

Acupuncture is a centuries old system of medicine developed in the far East. The treatment aims to restore balance and harmony to the mind and body via the insertion of very fine needles into acupuncture points found all over the body. In treating headaches, points on the face and head are sometimes used in conjunction with the more commonly used points on the arms and hands and legs and feet, as well as points on the abdomen and back.

Acupuncture for headaches – a specific treatment for your headache symptoms

In the first session the acupuncturist will use the consultation to diagnose which points and course of treatment is the best for the patient and the type of headache symptoms they have. In acupuncture theory not all headaches are treated in the same way. The practitioner will ask questions to help achieve the best diagnosis and plan the best course of treatment. For example, where is the headache located and what kind of pain is experienced? Is the headache located by the temples with pain of a severe throbbing or stabbing kind? Or is it felt as a ‘helmet’ type headache that feels like pressure all around the head, or a headache on the forehead made worse by tiredness, anxiety or stress? In the consultation the practitioner will ask about what factors trigger the headaches. Are they related to stress, anxiety or emotional upset? Is the trigger tiredness or over-exertion? Are they related to temperature fluctuations (exposure to air conditioning or central heating) or triggered by dietary factors? Is there a pattern to the headaches such as they always happen in the morning or the patient wakes in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning with a throbbing headache? Are the headaches linked to the menstrual cycle? Information gathered from these type of questions will inform the acupuncturist about the best course of acupuncture for headache pain management and the goal of reducing their intensity and frequency. If you are interested in getting acupuncture for headaches call Mark on 07798622788 to find out more or book an appointment.

Acupuncture for weight loss ‘Eat breakfast like a King!’ Mon, 26 Mar 2012 14:07:37 +0000 Acupuncture for weight loss – new evidence shows a hearty breakfast can be crucial

Acupuncture for weight loss: diet has always been an important part of acupuncture treatment. What we eat, the quality of the food we eat, how we prepare it and when we eat it have always been see as being fundamental to our physical and emotional health. A healthy eating regime is obviously a critical part of acupuncture for weight loss treatment. In modern times we are aware of the health risks posed by being overweight. We are also frequently under pressure to conform to various ideas of body image. No acupuncturist should carry out acupuncture for weight loss if the patient is purely after ‘cosmetic’ effect. The weight loss needs to be in the context of improving the patient’s over-all health and well-being.

Acheiving sustainable weight control

However acheiving these goals can be difficult especially in a long term, sustainable manner. Many of us are familiar with dieting, losing weight and then putting it back on again as we succumb to some of the foods we feel we have been depriving ourselves of! We are often bombarded by different ‘diets’ which are difficult to maintain over time.

Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper!

In Chinese medicine there has for thousands of years been the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper’. In the context of acupuncture for weight loss, acupuncture theory understands that the stomach’s qi (the metabolic energy of the stomach) peaks between 7am and 9 am in the morniung and that this is the best time to eat well. The body has not had any calorific intake over-night and is ready for refuelling.

These ideas are now backed up by research from Tel Aviv University The researchers had two groups, one of which had more of their daily calorific intake at breakfast time. The group which had the higher calorie intake at breakfast managed to keep their weight off more consistently than the other group. The food which they ate was not restricted in any way – so if they fancied something sweet like chocolate cake then that was fine! The researchers believe that if we deprive ourselves of these foods we have psychological withdrawl symptoms which makes it harder to maintain a healthy eating regime. Whilst over-consuming foods with refined sugars and carbohydrates is not advisable, if we eat some in moderation in the morning the body has a chance to burn off these calories. Eating a moderate amount of something we fancy is psychologically more of a balanced way of approaching a healthy eating regime than depriving ourselves and then binging on it when we feel we have failed!

Acupuncture for weight loss

Acupuncture can be used to help encourage a sustainable healthy eating regime. In Chinese medical theory the craving of certain foodstuffs and flavours is seen as a sign of imbalance in the body. Certain foods are also understood to slow down the body’s ability to metabolise food. Foods such as some dairy products, wheat products as well as foods containing processed sugars and sweeteners are classified as ‘damp’ foods. These foods can leave certain people feeling sluggish and can cause bloating. As part of the acupuncture treatment for weight management, I will recommend certain foods that will suit that person’s condition and metabolism, as well as which foods to avoid. And of course to eat breakfast like a King!

British Acupuncture Council hosts 14th annual research symposium Thu, 09 Feb 2012 11:17:27 +0000 British Acupuncture Council hosts 14th annual research symposium

The British Acupuncture Council is hosting the 14th annual acupuncture research symposium on Saturday the 25th of February in Central London

Researching acupuncture

Research is an important area of study for the profession, to try and measure the effectiveness of treatment for various conditions as well as in attempting to see exactly how acupuncture works in terms of the physiology of the body.

Research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for pregnant women

Speakers include Sarah Budd who will be presenting research on the use of acupuncture in pregnancy. Acupuncture is frequently used to help relieve morning sickness. It is also a good treatment option for women who are suffering from back pain or pain around the front of the hip as pregnant women are often keen to avoid taking too much medication. Acupuncture treatment is often used to turn breech babies. In these treatments the practitioner gently warms an acupuncture point at the end of the little toe (Bladder 67) with a moxa stick. Moxa is a herb which is frequently used in acupuncture to help warm areas of the body.

Acupuncture helps trigger labour

Acupuncture is also frequently to help trigger labour and to help women give birth naturally. Pre-birth acupuncture treatments also help promote calmness and relieve stress anxiety as the due date approaches.

British Acupuncture Council’s Acupuncture Awareness week

The British Acupuncture Council is also promoting an ‘acupuncture awareness week’ from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March to help answer faq’s on acupuncture. For example surveys show that people believe acupuncture needles to be the thickness of a hypodermic needles when in fact the needles used are between 0.18 0.25 of a millimetre thick. If you have any questions about acupuncture you can phone Mark on 07798 622 788 or email him at or arrange a free 20 minute face to face chat either at Burlington Court, New Street, Birmingham or Harborne, Birmingham.

The British Acupuncture Council is the body that regulates acupuncture in the UK. Mark Butterworth is a British Acupuncture Council registered practitioner who has used acupuncture for fertility and acupuncture for pregnancy related conditions as well as for other condition since 2003. For more information visit the homepage

Needling Acupuncture points: Du 20 increases blood flow to the brain, new research indicates Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:04:19 +0000 Acupuncture points: Du 20

Recent research from Japan shows that needling one of the acupuncture points Du 20 – Ba Hui (which is often translated into English as ‘One Hundred Meetings’), increases blood flow to the brain via the middle and anterior cerebral arteries (see link ). This is of particular interest to acupuncturists as one of the actions of Du 20 according to acupuncture theory, is to help raise the qi of the body.

In acupuncture theory we understand that the qi (sometimes translated as the vital force of the body) travels with the blood. The relationship between qi and blood is inseparable, and blood can be regarded as a dense form of qi. “When qi moves, blood moves” – this quote from the acupuncture classical text the Su Wen describes how the qi makes the blood circulate efficiently.

Needling Du 20 increases blood flow to the brain

Therefore needling Du 20, the highest of the acupuncture points on the body and thus activating the qi at the top of the head where the point is found (see point location video) increases the blood flow to the brain. Acupuncturists often use this point alone, or in combination with other acupuncture points, to help raise the qi in the body – for example Du 20 is frequently used as a point in pregnancy if there is a threat of miscarriage (often in conjunction with Kidney 9 which helps prevent uterine cramping).

Many people will be familiar with Du 20 ‘Ba Hui’ through the practice of martial arts such as qigong, taichi or karate katas such as sanchin. Practitioners of these techniques imagine a silk thread pulling from the sky to Du 20, and then the down the through the spine to Ren 1 which ensures a good posture with a nice straight back. When this posture is aligned with breathing techniques it activates the circulation of qi between the ren and du channels increasing the martial artists’ power. The du meridian runs from the tip of the coccyx, up the spine to Du 20 at the top of the head and then over the midline of the head down the forehead and nose and ending on the gums in between the two front teeth. Acupuncture points all along this meridian are frequently needled for a variety of conditions.

Du is often translated as the ‘Governor Vessel’ and it is one of the 8 extraordinary meridians, the most basic channels of qi in the body (for a good explanation of these see John E. Pirog ‘The Practical Application of Meridian Style Acupuncture’). The Du meridian controls the yang forces of the body which in Chinese medical theory relate to consciousness and the senses. Points on the Du meridian are therefore often used in the treatment of headaches, dizziness and visual disorders as well as in helping to ‘lift the spirits’.

New report shows acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating headaches Thu, 09 Jun 2011 11:02:49 +0000 A report in the December issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia shows acupuncture provides greater relief than either medication or placebo. Dr. Tong J. Gan, the author of the studied commented that “People who get acupuncture prefer it to medication, because of the potential side effects of drugs.” For a fuller review of the article with references please follow the link –