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Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific points on the body, helping to balance energy flow, promote well-being and natural self-healing.

Acupuncture is one of the many and varied therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It’s been proven effective in a wide range of modern clinical trials, and is fast becoming recognised as a safe and reliable method of treatment.

At the Manchester Movement Unit, our experienced practitioners use acupuncture to help with a wide range of conditions, including headaches, arthritis, painful menstrual cramps, and anxiety.

How does acupuncture work?

Traditionally, the Ancient Masters have explained that acupuncture works because ‘Qi’ (also known as ‘Vital Force’ or ‘Bio-Energy’) exists and moves throughout the body, flowing in and out of clearly defined ‘Channels of Energy’.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles (they’re about the same width as a strand of human hair) into specific areas of the body. The needles stimulate specific acupuncture points, helping to improve the body's functions, promote the natural self-healing process and resist disease. 

There are also many theoretical explanations for the effects commonly seen during and after acupuncture treatment. For example, acupuncture has been seen to raise the levels of specific hormones, white blood cells and anti-bodies generally.

There is also the ‘endorphin’ theory, which explains that acupuncture can stimulate its own painkillers and so releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemicals.

Other theories include the Central Nervous System or the Cardiovascular System.

What does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is used to help with many conditions and we’ve listed below some of the most common conditions acupuncture treats.

If you can’t see your specific condition on the list and are wondering if acupuncture can help you, please get in touch.

Neurological Conditions

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Dementia

Gynaecological Conditions

  • Infertility
  • Painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
  • Abnormal absence of menstruation (benign amenorrhea)
  • Menopausal syndrome

Musculoskeletal Conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • Tennis elbow (external humeral epicondylitis)
  • Back/neck pain

Mental Health Conditions

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction

Acupuncture treatment aims to affect your whole being, as well as your symptoms. You might find that you notice other health problems resolve and that you feel an increased sense of well-being too. 

What should I expect from my first treatment?

When you come to your first appointment at the Manchester Movement Unit, you’ll have a consultation with your acupuncturist so that they can find out about your condition.

They’ll ask questions about your condition, and will also ask in detail about your general health, take your pulses and look at your tongue to gain further insights as to how your body is functioning.

During this time, they’ll reframe what you have to say using the clinical reasoning tools that form the basis of Chinese medicine to come to a diagnosis, and to identify appropriate treatment options for you.

Your acupuncturist will discuss the treatments with you, and they may include suggesting changes to your diet or lifestyle, as well as acupuncture itself.

For your first treatment, your acupuncture practitioner may insert 8-10 very fine needles in your lower legs, back or wrists, and may leave you to rest with them in for 15 minutes or so.

Your first acupuncture session will last for 90 minutes. At the following sessions, your acupuncturist will review your progress before continuing your treatment, and for these sessions you should allow 45 - 60 minutes.

The number of acupuncture treatments you’ll need depends on the length of time you have had the problem, the nature of the problem, and on how you react to acupuncture. Your acupuncture practitioner will discuss this with you and make a recommended treatment plan.


Does acupuncture hurt?

Most people find acupuncture painless.

Each acupuncture needle is about the same width as a strand of human hair. As they’re so fine, most people don’t feel the needles when their acupuncture practitioner inserts them.

You might feel a little tingling, small prick or a dull ache as the practitioner inserts each needle but many people find it painless and relaxing.

Our skilled acupuncture practitioners can even insert an acupuncture needle into a balloon without bursting it!

Are the acupuncture needles sterile?

Yes, the acupuncture needles we use at the Manchester Movement Unit are sterile.

The needles we use are subject to many quality control procedures. Each acupuncture needle is pre-sterilised, has a ‘best before’ date, and is single-use, so they are disposed of after use.

What should I wear for acupuncture? 

It’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing for your acupuncture treatment.

You don’t need to bring anything to the appointment with you.

Can I eat before my acupuncture treatment?

We recommend that you don’t come to your appointment after you’ve just eaten or when you’re really hungry.

Acupuncture should be a relaxing experience, so please allow enough time so that you feel relaxed and unhurried during your treatment.

I’d like to learn more about acupuncture

You can find further information on acupuncture on the British Acupuncture Council’s website


Deborah Connor

Acupuncturist / Clinical supervisor

John Gradwell

Acupuncturist / Clinical supervisor

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