Archive for the ‘Sean’s opinion’ Category

July 15, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research, Sean's opinion

Researchers in Brazil have been investigating the effects of acupuncture on sleep parameters, quality of life measures, and symptoms of depression in post-menopausal women.

This study was a double blind, placebo controlled randomized controlled trial and included 18 women aged 50-67 years old. The participants were not using hormonal therapy, anti depressants or hypnotic medications and the groups were randomized into two groups: those receiving ‘real’ acupuncture and those receiving a ‘sham’ form. The researchers then performed ten sessions of acupuncture over a period of 5 weeks.

The researchers report that comparison of the groups post acupuncture treatment revealed that those treated with ‘real’ acupuncture showed significantly lower scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and showed better improvements in quality of life than the group treated with the sham form of acupuncture.

For me as I’m sure is the case for many acupuncturists, double blind trials of acupuncture cannot be performed without compromising the quality of acupuncture delivered in the trial, which is one of the many pitfalls in assessing acupuncture in the context of research. So what is interesting in this trial is the positive result despite that what is delivered in the trial is likely to be a less than optimal form of the treatment.

You can find all the details of the trial here:


I provide acupuncture in Berkhamsted at Berkhamsted Chiropractic Clinic and you can reach me on 07717 515 013 if you have any questions about acupuncture and it’s suitability for you.



January 23, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Sean's opinion

This one’s more likely to interest acupuncturists rather than the patients that see them but I thought I’d highlight a brilliant website I found a while ago, ‘Simple Questions – dialogues with modern acupuncturists’. It’s a great resource of interviews with leading figures in the field of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and for the reason that it’s sleepily hidden in a corner of the internet I thought it deserved a mention for its treasures. It’s an undiscovered gem of 5 one hour individual interviews with Stephen Birch, John Hicks, John Tindall, Peter Deadman and Lonny Jarrett.

Each practitioner was a pioneering figure in the early days of acupuncture’s migration westward and the collection of interviews are a fascinating glimpse of the many facets of acupuncture, which as you can hear is many different things to different teachers – for some, a pragmatic down to earth method of stimulating the nervous system, and for others a very different kind of therapeutic encounter that focusses with a kind of peripheral vision on the totality of a person’s being. All very different approaches to tending to human suffering, and all intriguing.

Sean Heneghan - acupuncturist in berkhamsted and milton keynes

Highlights for me are Stephen Birch’s fascinating tales of training in acupuncture in Japan (where at one point I think 25 – 40% of practitioners were blind) and Peter Deadman’s first hand experience of acupuncture in China – an interesting insight into how needling in the homeland differs from some of the methods used in the West.

I had the opportunity to benefit from John Hick’s wisdom at The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine where I trained so hearing him talk is always a nostalgic pleasure, and Lonny Jarrett’s unique perspective on Chinese Medicine as a tool for evolving consciousness is stimulating food for thought. I haven’t been there for a while but his Nourishing Destiny forum provides much interesting debate on his take on Chinese Medicine, worth checking out if that’s your interest.

If you’re an acupuncturist, you’ll have a curious few hours of listening ahead…enjoy:

Simple Questions – dialogues with modern acupuncturists