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How does Acupuncture work?

acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture is a technique that involves inserting extremely fine needles (as thin as a hair) into specific points on the body. These points are located along meridians, which can be compared to highways, and the points to traffic lights along these highways. Our goal is to keep these traffic lights green at all times so that traffic (of Qi and Blood) can flow freely to their respective destinations or corresponding organs in the body.


With abundance of Qi and blood, each organ has sufficient fuel to carry out its specific functions of the body. When Qi and blood become stuck, it disrupts normal body functions and causes pain and/or disease. 


This is a very simplified explanation of how acupuncture works; obviously, it is a more complex medicine, so make sure you are being treated by a fully qualified and registered acupuncturist, as the outcome of your treatment is highly dependent on this.


Please keep in mind that acupuncture is not the same as dry needling, and I have explained the differences in more detail here.

Types of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is similar to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) in that each practitioner has their own set of talents that they employ by using their own set of skills.


An acupuncturist, just like an MMA fighter, can employ one or more types of techniques.  Examples of these techniques in acupuncture are: five element, Chinese acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture, Master Tung, & Dr Tan’s Balance method. 


I practice a combination of traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Dr Tan's balance method acupuncture. 


How many acupuncture treatments do I need?

That depends on a variety of factors, including what you are coming in for and how long you’ve had the problem. Is it a chronic or an acute condition? 


Acupuncture’s success is determined by the number of treatments received. Similarly, if you have a chronic condition, your doctor will not prescribe just one pill to solve the problem. Acupuncture works in the same way; a course of treatment is generally required to achieve long-term results. 


You may have had one acupuncture treatment and your problem was completely resolved, which is fantastic! However, this is not always the case, and in most cases, a series of treatments is required. 


So it is hard to answer this question, because the answer could be from 4-20! As I said, it depends on individual cases.  


How often do I need to have treatments?

Again, this is also dependent on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Some patients with recent injuries come to me, and I get them to come twice a week until their issue is completely resolved.  This results in cutting the length of the treatment in half.


From experience, I believe that the closer the treatments are to each other, the better and faster the problem will be resolved. 


For chronic conditions, I recommend starting with weekly treatments until we see significant improvement.


Is acupuncture safe?


Single use disposable needles are always used. To reduce potential risks, it is critical to find a trained acupuncturist who is registered with AHPRA. Acupuncture is generally considered safe for most people when performed by a suitably trained practitioner, but any procedure that involves puncturing the skin with needles carries some risk. 

Acupuncture may cause the following side effects: 


* Bleeding or bruising (common) 

* Drowsiness and in some occasions fainting (rare) 

* Infection at the site of the puncture (very rare) 

* Allergy symptoms (rare) 

* Nerve damage (rare) 


Acupuncture can cause significant changes in the nervous system, so it is critical that the right points are used and stimulated correctly.  

Is acupuncture effective?

There is strong evidence that acupuncture works for some conditions, and less stronger for others. The   Acupuncture Evidence Project has found acupuncture to be effective for 117 conditions, with 8 of them having strong evidence, 38 of them with moderate evidence, 71 with unclear evidence, and 5 conditions with little or no evidence, meaning further study is necessary to clarify their efectiveness.

For more information on these conditions, please head to the Acupuncture Evidence Project research on 

Is acupuncture right for you?


If you are unsure whether acupuncture is right for you and your condition, we offer a 15 min phone consultation to discuss your case and wether we are able to help you with your condition. For more information about acupuncture go to


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