acupuncture for headaches and migraines


Practitioner: Richard Newman

Cost: £45 for one hour

Availability: Monday afternoons


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practised for thousands of years in China and other Eastern countries. Since making its way west it has quickly become one of the fastest-growing alternative therapies and is often used to complement and enhance the benefits of conventional medicine.

Acupuncture subscribes to the ancient view that the basis of good health is the harmonious balance of qi (chi), the vital life force that empowers the body. When the qi can flow freely, health abounds. If this energy becomes stagnant or blocked, then the effects will result in loss of energy and the deterioration of well-being.

The acupuncturist’s goal is to release blocked energy by applying sterilised needles to key points on the body to restore balance and improve health.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) has identified that acupuncture can treat the following conditions successfully.

Please note that there are plenty of additional conditions that centuries of empirical data have shown acupuncture treats effectively but for which there is little or no modern western research.

 Psychological conditions

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Somatisation disorder
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Hypersomnia
  • Insomnia

Neurological conditions

  • Headache and migraine
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Facial palsy
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Paresis following stroke
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Menière’s disease
  • Disc problems
  • Nocturnal enuresis
  • Cervicobrachial syndrome
  • Neurogenic bladder dysfunction

Muscular-skeletal conditions

  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness
  • Localised traumatic injuries, sprains, strains, tendonitis, contractures
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Work and sports-related injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Lower-back and/or neck strain

Respiratory system conditions

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute tonsillitis
  • Acute rhinitis
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Common cold and allergies
  • Bronchial asthma

Conditions of the eye, ear, nose & mouth

  • Acute conjunctivitis
  • Cataract (without complications)
  • Acute and chronic pharyngitis
  • Central retinitis
  • Toothaches, post-extraction pain
  • Myopia (in children)
  • Gingivitis

Gastrointestinal conditions

  • Spasms of esophagus and cardiac
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Acute duodenal ulcer (without complication)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel and colitis
  • Gastric hyperacidity (ie acid reflux)
  • Acute and chronic colitis
  • Acute bacillary dysentery
  • Gastroptosis
  • Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief)
  • Constipation
  • Paralytic ileus

Gynaecological conditions

  • Infertility
  • Menopause syndrome
  • PMS
  • Benign irregular menstruation
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Benign amenorrhea

Cardiovascular conditions

  • Essential hypertension

Other conditions

  • Appetite suppression
  • Withdrawal from street and pharmacological drugs

Balance Method acupuncture

This system of treatment was developed by Dr Richard Teh-Fu Tan, with strong influences from Master Tung and Dr Chao Chen’s I Ching Acupuncture. The common thread among these three great modern acupuncturists is their Taiwanese origin. During the Cultural Revolution in China many of the best Chinese medical practitioners escaped Communism by relocating to Taiwan. This allowed a pure form of Chinese medicine to persist without the injection of the Communist government’s views.

Advanced style of acupuncture treatment

It is a common misconception that acupuncture should be given to the affected area of a patient’s disease. This concept of ‘local’ treatment is actually less effective and misses the magic of acupuncture theory. The body possesses a complex system of connections, primarily made of nerves and blood vessels. Acupuncture uses its meridian system to describe the functional organisation of these connections to help relieve pain and improve bodily functions. As Dr Tan famously tells his students, ‘The switch is not on the light’, meaning that the local area is not the ideal location for treatment.

The Balance Method uses powerful ‘distal’ acupuncture points on the arms and legs to treat all aspects of the body. Balance Method Acupuncture is unique in its ability to obtain instantaneous results for pain. After insertion of the needles most patients can immediately feel a decrease in pain level and improved range of motion.

Another advantage of these distal point locations is their accessibility without the need to remove the patient’s clothing.

The points used during Balance Method Acupuncture treatments are considered to be the most powerful points on each meridian, according to classical Chinese theory. These locations were originally detailed in the oldest known Chinese medical text: The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic. Their use also highlights Dr Tan’s ‘light switch’ example: put the switch in an accessible place, like on the wall beside the door (in acupuncture terms: the arms and legs).