Elizabeth Hardy is licensed to practice modern acupuncture at Woodlands Medical Centre. The treatment can be given during your normal appointment and there is no extra charge for this service.

Acupuncture – traditional and modern

Acupuncture is a treatment using special needles. Traditional Chinese acupuncture started in China over 2,000 years ago and requires a long training and treats many different ailments. Modern acupuncture has been developed by western health practitioners following observations that acupuncture can be effective for helping with pain relief. Modern acupuncture can be used by GP’s and other Health Professionals, like Osteopaths, as they already have the required medical knowledge and only need to learn safe needling techniques.

How does modern acupuncture work?

Trigger points are located and these are areas, usually in muscle, that hurt when pressed and cause pain to radiate to other areas that may be some distance away. Needling the trigger point can relieve pain in the distant area although we do not know exactly what happens. Acupuncture can still be used without trigger points. It is likely that it acts by changing the ways in which the brain and spinal cord transmit information about pain. Acupuncture does have measurable effects on the body, although as yet they cannot be fully explained.

What can it help?

Modern acupuncture is good for pain, especially in the muscles and joints and this is where, as Osteopaths, we sometimes recommend it to facilitate your treatment.

Does it hurt?

The needles are very fine and much thinner than those used for normal injections or taking blood. Often patients are unaware of any pain but occasionally it can be painful.

Are there any adverse effects?

Sometimes a small bruise may appear and this means a small vein was broken by the needle but is nothing to worry about. Some patients report that their symptoms become temporarily worse but this is often followed by improvement. Sometimes people feel drowsy after treatment so care must be taken driving or operating machinery.

How safe is it?

Sterile needles are used only once and then disposed of so there is no risk of spreading infection. It is an invasive technique however and therefore carries similar risks to any medical procedure involving needles. Most needles are used superficially.

Can I still donate blood?

Yes, you can still donate blood following treatment by us.


In modern acupuncture only a few needles are used and they are often only left in for a short period. Most people require a course of 3-6 treatments. There should be some improvement after 2-3 treatments. If not then you are probably not going to respond to this form of treatment.