Archive for the ‘Acupuncture’ Category

July 10, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

Researchers at The Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine have been investigating acupuncture for back pain and comparing the use of medication versus a novel approach to acupuncture called motion style acupuncture treatment (MSAT). This particular variation on acupuncture involves patients engaging in stretching exercises while the acupuncture needles are situated in areas used for treating pain. The researchers compared this kind of acupuncture with injections of diclofenac, a drug commonly used for pain relief.

A group of 28 patients who received the motion style acupuncture reported a reduction of  pain levels of 46% on average in 30 minutes, while the other 28 patients who had the drug injection had their pain level drop 8.7% in the same amount of time. The level of physical disability in the group treated with acupuncture was also reported to be lower.

At six months post treatment the pain levels were equal among both groups, but patients treated with the drug were hospitalized for a longer period of time.

According to the researchers, the study has shown the effectiveness of motion style acupuncture treatment for acute low back pain patients with severe disability, and can reduce the treatment period in the short term. It is the first study of Oriental Medicine for pain relief that has received international recognition through the PAIN according to the website Acupuncture Today which reported on the study.

In the UK The National Institute of Health and Clinical excellence currently recommend doctors consider a course of ten acupuncture sessions in the management of patients with early non specific lower back pain. If you suffer with low back pain and are curious how acupuncture could help you, please feel free to ring me on 07717 515 013 or email me on

I’m a member of The British Acupuncture Council and am based full time at Berkhamsted Chiropractic Clinic.


July 8, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Cognitive Hypnotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Research

In many countries the use of complementary and alternative approaches to healthcare is increasing. Researchers recently distributed a questionnaire to all GP’s registered within the Liverpool Primary Care Trust to determine the referral patterns and attitudes towards the various complementary medical approaches among GP’s. This survey was a follow up to questionnaires collected in 1999.

The researchers reported that the most popular complementary therapies are still acupuncture, hypnotherapy and chiropractic, with the least popular being aromatherapy, medical herbalism and reflexology. GP’s felt most comfortable with acupuncture and expressed a greater desire for it to receive NHS funding than for other therapies.

In recent years acupuncture has received an increased level of endorsement from NICE – The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, which currently recommend the use of acupuncture in the short term management of lower back pain, tension headaches and migraines. NICE set the recommendations and treatment guidelines for doctors and medical professionals in the NHS regarding the treatment of patients.

The British Acupuncture Council is the main regulatory body for the UK’s 3000 traditional acupuncturists. All it’s members, of which I’m one have had an extensive training in Acupuncture to degree level involving a training that typically lasts 3-4 years.

I have had extensive experience and training in Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and hypnotherapy and provide traditional acupuncture and hypnotherapy at my clinical base in Berkhamsted.

If you’re suffering with a physical or emotional problem and you’re wondering what acupuncture or hypnotherapy could do for you, then please feel free to ring me on 07717 515 013 or email me at


You can find details of the research into GP’s attitudes toward complementary approaches here:



June 19, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

An interesting study in The Journal of Psychiatric Research has studied the impact of combining acupuncture therapy with a commonly used anti-depressant, paroxetine.

The trial was a 6 week randomized controlled trial with a 4-week follow-up and involved 160 patients with major depressive disorder. The trial participants were randomly assigned to receive either paroxetine alone, or paroxetine combined with 18 sessions of manual acupuncture or electrical acupuncture.

The researchers noted that the addition of manual acupuncture and electro acupuncture produced a significantly greater reduction from baseline in depression scores than the use of paroxetine alone, and that the clinical response was markedly greater in manual acupuncture (69.8%) and electro acupuncture (69.6%) groups than the group treated with paroxetine alone (41.7%). The proportion of patients who required an increase dose of the anti-depressant due to symptom aggravation was significantly lower with manual acupuncture (5.7%) and electro acupuncture (8.9%) than paroxetine alone (22.9%)

At 4 weeks follow-up after the end of their acupuncture treatment, patients with electro acupuncture, but not manual acupuncture, continued to show significantly greater clinical improvement. The incidence of adverse events was not different in the three groups.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture can accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression, and that in addition electro acupuncture may have a long-lasting enhancement of the antidepressant effect.


You can read the full details of the trial here:



June 13, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

In some recent research into acupuncture and IVF outcomes, a research team in Brazil set out to evaluate the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion as a supportive treatment in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) when embryo implantation had failed.

A prospective, randomised controlled clinical trial was conducted with 84 infertile patients who had had at least two unsuccessful attempts of IVF. The patients were randomised in three groups: a control group, a sham group, and an acupuncture group. Acupuncture was performed on the first and seventh day of ovulation induction, on the day before ovarian puncture and on the day after embryo transfer.

In the acupuncture group, patients were treated with moxibustion at nine acupuncture points on the back and stomach and had needling at 12 points. In the sham group, needles were inserted in eight areas that did not correspond to known acupuncture points.

The results of the trial demonstrated that the clinical pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group was significantly higher than that in the control and sham groups (35.7% vs 7.1% vs 10.7%)

In this study, the researchers concluded that acupuncture and moxibustion increased pregnancy rates when used as an adjuvant treatment in women undergoing IVF, when embryo implantation had failed.

The study was reported in the March issue of The British Medical Journals’s publication ‘Acupuncture in Medicine’. You can find it here:

Acupuncture and IVF outcomes




June 5, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Cognitive Hypnotherapy

In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness week which ran this year from 13-19th May, Anxiety UK and The British Acupuncture Council have teamed up to conduct research into traditional acupuncture and anxiety.

As Anxiety UK note, 40% of disability worldwide is due to depression and anxiety and in a survey covering Great Britain, 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of anxiety or depressive problem in the previous week, with more than 1 in 10 people are likely to have a ‘disabling anxiety disorder’ at some stage in their life.

Anxiety is therefore a very common problem, and yet many people endure its disabling effects and suffer in silence. There are however many avenues for help in dealing with the problem in addition to the options provided by your GP. The British Acupuncture Council have produced a fact sheet detailing research into acupuncture and anxiety which you can find here:

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is also a powerful way not only of relaxing but also of addressing some of the deeper issues that can contribute to the occurrence of anxious feelings. Anxiety never occurs in a vacuum and is often related to the past we’ve come from and the future we imagine ourselves living into. Cognitive hypnotherapy can be a powerful yet gentle way of helping your mind uncover what your anxiety may be about, and empower you with the ways and means to create a much more positive kind of experience for yourself.

I provide both Cognitive Hypnotherapy and Acupuncture in Berkhamsted and Milton Keynes, if you have any questions as to how these approaches could help you, please feel free to ring me on 07717 515 013.

May 3, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

On the subject of acupuncture for migraines, acupuncture has already received considerable endorsement in being recommended by NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) and as Mark Bovey noted in a recent article about acupuncture for headache, NICE noted that in the prevention of migraine, the only treatment they could recommend was acupuncture.

More recent research has compared the effectiveness of acupuncture when compared with Valproic acid, a medication used to treat migraine headaches; this  research  demonstrated  that at 6 months post treatment acupuncture produced better results than the medication group with an incidence of no adverse events. (Adverse events were  47.8% in the group treated with the medication).

100 patients were used in the study, divided into two groups and 10mg of Rizatriptan wafers were allowed as needed to treat the migraine attacks. At the 6 month mark not only were lower pain intensity scores recorded in the acupuncture group, but there was also less Rizatriptan use indicating an additional benefit of acupuncture in reducing medication use. This alongside the non-existence  of any adverse events demonstrates acupuncture’s use in assisting patients who are contending with headaches and migraine.

(You can find details of the study here)

If you suffer with headaches or migraine and are curious about what acupuncture could do for you please feel free to email me at or telephone on 07717 515 013. I help many people with headaches from my acupuncture clinic in Berkhamsted and you can feel free to enquire about acupuncture without any obligation to book an appointment

April 8, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

In a recent pilot study of acupuncture for period pain, researchers in turkey compared the effects of acupuncture against NSAID’s (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) for a group of randomized women with primary dysmenorrhoea – more commonly known as period pain.

Although the study was small with a short follow up period, after one months treatment the pain levels were significantly reduced in both groups with average pain scores decreased by 52.2% in the medication group, and 69.5% in the acupuncture group. The researchers note their pilot study warrants further large scale trials to further clarify the effect of acupuncture for period pain

(Details of the study can be found here:

Period pain occurs more frequently in younger women than older women and is generally more severe the longer the duration of the period, both cigarette smoking and an earlier age of the period are associated with the condition. The symptoms of the pain are produced with the contractions of the uterus that occur during menstruation. Uterine contractions hamper the blood supply to the endometrium and these contractions promote the death of the endometrial tissue so that it can leave the body and fresh tissue can be produced in turn. In around 5-20% of women it’s estimated that dysmenorrhoea becomes so severe as to interfere with daily activities.

If you’re interested in acupuncture for period pain, The British Acupuncture Council produce a fact sheet explaining a little about the condition and some of the evidence for acupuncture’s ability to help. You can find that fact sheet here: acupuncture for period pain

I provide traditional acupuncture in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. If you’re curious about how acupuncture might help you, please feel free to ring me on 07717 515 013 or email on

March 15, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, In the media

acupuncture berkhamsted, acupuncture milton keynesOn the subject of acupuncture for headaches, Mark Bovey the research manager for The British  Acupuncture Council has written an interesting piece for the publication Advances in Neuroscience and Clinical rehabilitation.

In his article Mark highlights that the only treatment NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) could recommend in the prevention of tension type headache was acupuncture, and in addition how favorably acupuncture fares in comparison to topiramate –  the medication currently recommended as front line migraine prophylaxis. In the trial referenced in the article, acupuncture not only outperformed the drug but was also found to be associated with significantly less side effects which is potentially interesting information for anybody that suffers with headache and is curious about what results they may be able to achieve with acupuncture.

In the rest of the article Mark draws attention to the complex nature of assessing a highly individualized intervention like acupuncture, and the potential pitfalls of misinterpreting the conclusions of clinical trials without due care to the nuances of the treatment. It’s a good article by one of the most informed practitioners about the current state of research.

If you’re seeking further research into either acupuncture for headache or acupuncture for migraine relief, The British Acupuncture Councils fact sheets provide a range of information from a collection of research and evidence on the subject, to brief explanations of acupuncture’s mechanism and mode of action.

You can find that their fact sheets here: acupuncture for headache and acupuncture for migraine

In 2012 The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence extended their endorsement of acupuncture to now include it as a recommended treatment for tension headaches and migraine. If you suffere from either of these conditions and have any questions about what acupuncture treatment involves, please feel free to contact me on 07717 515 013.





March 7, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, In the media

As a mark of recognition of the standard of training and development The British Acupuncture Council requires of it’s members, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care have accredited members of the council under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body accountable to Parliament.

For members of the public this acts as an additional assurance of a high standard of governance, education, standard setting and training.

At the moment in the UK it is still worryingly the case that anybody can practice as an acupuncturist without evidencing any formal training so it’s essential if you’re thinking about having acupuncture or are choosing an acupuncturist that you select a practitioner who is a member of The British Acupuncture Council. To be a member each practitioner must have trained at an approved institution to degree level standard. This important mark of recognition by The Professional Standards authority reflects the hard work put in over many years by The BAcC to set the standard high in traditional acupuncture training and governance.

You can read more about the news at The British Acupuncture Council’s website here:

March 4, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, In the media, Research

Sean Heneghan - acupuncturist in berkhamsted and milton keynesIn recent research into acupuncture for gout, Arthritis UK report that researchers have identified that acupuncture is an effective treatment for the condition.

Researchers analysed the results of ten different randomized controlled trials including 852 patients.  The research team found that six studies containing 512 patients made a strong case for reduction in the levels of uric acid in those patients who received acupuncture, and four studies comprising 380 patients also suggested a decline in the visual symptoms of the condition. Two of the studies reviewed showed no significant difference of treatment, but on the whole the review favored acupuncture with the lead researcher Won Bok Lee noting “The results of the studies included here suggest that acupuncture is efficacious as complementary therapy for gouty arthritis patients”. 

Gout is a condition of acute inflammatory arthritis in which uric acid levels rise in the blood and crystallize. Very often the condition affects the big toe in the foot but the condition can also manifest as kidney stones or urate nephropathy. The condition is marked by acute, intense pain and affects around 1.4% of the UK population, the prevalence of which increases with age to around 3% in women and 7% in men aged over 75 years.

As well as The Arthritis UK page on acupuncture for gout which you can find here, patients curious about how acupuncture can help may also be interested in The British Acupuncture Council’s fact sheet detailing previous evidence of acupuncture in the treatment of the condition. You can find The British Acupuncture Council’s page here:

This systematic review is an additional piece of research which has been published in recent months suggesting acupuncture offers benefit for a number of arthritic conditions. Arthritis UK’s new report on complementary therapies showed recently acupuncture’s effect on low back pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, all of which indicate acupuncture is a safe, effective treatment that may help patients with common chronic pain conditions better manage their health.

If you’re interested in either acupuncture in milton keynes or Berkhamsted please feel free to contact me on 07717 515 013 with any questions you might have.





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