Medicinal bleeding for psoriasis

Bloodletting might not be the first thing you’d think of as a modern treatment for psoriasis, but research suggests that it may be able to help.

Psoriasis often involves chronic pain, and is not a nice condition to have. Genetics play a big role, and it’s now recognised as an immune disorder. Triggers for a new flareup can be as minor as small cuts or scrapes, infections or cold weather. New biological therapies have proved to be a powerful help for many people suffering with psoriasis, but sadly not everyone’s psoriasis has responded well.

Medicinal bleeding

Bloodletting, or medicinal bleeding is part of traditional Chinese medicine, like acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion. Less research has been done for this therapy than for some of those other techniques, so it’s not that often that i come across relevant research that reaches the level that I can share it with you. So I was interested to come across a study looking at the effectiveness of medicinal bleeding for psoriasis.

Wet cupping

Traditional Chinese medicinal bleeding can be performed in various ways, but this study looked at wet cupping. This is where we make small incisions in the skin and then use a cup to create a vaccum and draw out a small amount of blood. When I do wet cupping, I use automatic lancets like people with diabetes use, which generally gives a sensation more of pressure than of any pain. I use fully disposable cups for this, for hygeine and infection control.

In traditional Chinese medical theory, this helps to release some toxicity along with the blood, and makes space for fresh blood to move into the tissues, promoting your body’s flow of Qi and blood. This explanation does not have scientific evidence to support it so far, but what research has been able to look at is the results of treatment. Does bloodletting help psoriasis?

Research results

In 2023 a team did a systematic review and metanalysis of the studies of medicinal bleeding for psoriasis, which means they took a close look at all of the available studies on this topic. They whittled them down to 10 studies with 833 patients. They looked at Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), adverse effects, and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), and found:

“Bloodletting cupping combined with conventional treatment can achieve the ideal treatment for psoriasis. However, the combined treatment in psoriasis needs to be further evaluated in high-quality RCTs with large sample sizes to enable future studies in clinical use.”

“We found no significant difference in adverse reactions.”

2023 systematic review and metanalysis of the studies of medicinal bleeding for psoriasis

As is common in medical research, they also noted limitations in the research performed so far, and encouraged further studies with large samples to improve the confidence of this result.

Get in touch

So if you continue to suffer with psoriasis, and would like to try medicinal bleeding to see if it may help, just get in touch.


Ma, X., Li, D., Zhao, M., He, J., Yang, F., & Kong, J. (2023). Bloodletting cupping combined with conventional measures therapy for psoriasis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in Medicine, 10.

Image from the British Acupuncture Council.

Acupuncture for vocal cord problems

I really feel for people who have a problem that is very visible to others – a problem affecting the face, or ability to walk, or something else that can feel like it’s on display to other full time. Problems with the vocal cords are another one of these – every time you try and speak to someone, a raspy, low or breathy sound may have a bigger impact on your listener’s attention than the thing you’d actually like to say. I can imagine that not being able to express yourself clearly and reliably must be very frustrating. And if your problems also involve difficulties with swallowing, or coughing, then a whole range of normal everyday activities can become an unwelcome challenge.

What are vocal cord problems and where do they come from?

Vocal cord problems can cause difficulty speaking, hoarseness, coughing and problems with swallowing. Medical diagnoses can include laryngitis, vocal nodules, vocal polyps, and vocal cord paralysis.

Our vocal cords are delicate structures within our necks, so a whole range of causes can cause vocal cord problems, including vigorous exercise, airborne toxins, reflux problems and inflammation in the throat and sinuses. Trauma, whether physical such as near-drowning, choking, or surgical injuries, or emotional, can also leave a big impact on our voices. Women, and teachers, are more likely to suffer vocal cord problems.

Can acupuncture help vocal cord problems?

So, can acupuncture help? Well, as ever, it’s not professional for me to share anectodal stories from my own experience. But, happily, some research has been done in this area.

The evidence base

In 2017 a systematic review was published – systematic reviews are near the top of the evidence pyramid, they are studies of all of the published studies on a topic. The scientists in this case were looking at a range of interventions, including massage and physiotherapy, and for acupuncture they were only able to find one study that had been done so far. Nonetheless, their conclusion was:

“The literature regarding the effectiveness of physiotherapy and complementary therapies was good in both quality and results, indicating that massage, TENS, and acupuncture seem to be effective treatments to reduce voice complaints and improve voice quality, supporting the inclusion of complementary therapies but mostly physiotherapy interventions in the treatment of patients with voice disorders.”

a 2017 systematic review on allied health treatments for vocal cord problems

Specifically about acupuncture, they said:

“Yiu et al. conducted a high-quality study … In this RCT [randomised controlled trial], 84 participants with dysphonia were divided in three groups: genuine acupuncture group that received needles in nine voice-related acupoints … A significant improvement in vocal function … was verified in both the genuine and sham acupuncture groups, but not in the no-treatment group. About perceived quality of life, genuine acupuncture groups showed significant results comparing to sham acupuncture group (p = 0.003) and no-treatment group (p = 0.01). No significant difference was found between the no-treatment and sham acupuncture group (p = 0.83). Only the genuine acupuncture group demonstrated a significant reduction in the size of the vocal fold lesions.”

So, one study is only a start for our evidence base, but certainly it’s encouraging. They summed up their findings by saying:

“The literature regarding the effectiveness of physiotherapy and complementary therapies was good in both quality and results. The evidence from the studies included in the review suggest that manual therapy through laryngeal massage and massage of the neck or shoulder girdle is an effective treatment to reduce dysphonia complaints and muscle tension and to improve voice quality. It is important to emphasize that the TENS and acupuncture also presented good results. The knowledge of the relationship between body posture, laryngeal muscles, voice production, and dysphonia is of paramount importance because a transdisciplinary action can optimize evaluation and treatment in order to provide clinically significant benefits to patients with voice problems.”

So, if you’ve been suffering with vocal cord problems, this feels like a really positive message, that there are a number of things that may be able to help you. You don’t necessarily need to feel stuck at your current level of vocal problems. And acupuncture may be one of the things that could be able to help.

Get in touch

If you’d like to give acupuncture a try for your vocal cord problems, just get in touch to get started.


Cardoso R, Meneses RF, Lumini-Oliveira J. The Effectiveness of Physiotherapy and Complementary Therapies on Voice Disorders: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Med (Lausanne). 2017 Apr 24;4:45. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2017.00045. PMID: 28484700; PMCID: PMC5401878.

Image by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

Acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

Being a middle aged woman myself, and experiencing the challenges of the perimenopause, I have plenty of sympathy for everyone going through this phase of our lives!

And I love that there’s a much more open discussion going on about how this powerful transition can affect us. Often the focus is on physical symptoms that we may experience, whether it’s hot flushes or an increased risk of urinary tract infections.

But, I have a particular interest in working with mental health and emotional wellbeing, and the impact on mood for some women at this time should not be underestimated too. Unfortunately, studies have shown that women in perimenopause are at higher risk of depression than premenopausal women.

So, how about acupuncture for perimenopausal depression? Can it help?

Research on acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

Well, I was really pleased to see that 2021 also saw the publication of a systematic review and metanalysis (a study of all the studies) into acupuncture for perimenopausal depression.

The study looked at the results of 25 randomised controlled trials, including 2,200 women.

“Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression in their lifetime as men … Menopausal transition, also called perimenopause, refers to a critical stage of dynamic hormonal flux that occurs at midlife in women … Perimenopause is defined as a “window” of vulnerability for the development of depression.”

“In comparison with standard care, acupuncture alone or combined with standard care was associated with significant improvements in PMD [perimenopausal depression] and reductions of other menopausal symptoms. This finding suggests that acupuncture may be a useful addition to treatment for PMD.”

Extracts from a 2021 systematic review and metanalysis of acupuncture for perimenopausal depression

I’ve written before about how the evidence base for acupuncture is unfortunately not being well integrated into health systems. Hopefully, over time, more and more women who are going through this part of their life and finding it difficult will get access to everything that can help them, including acupuncture.

Ready to try some acupuncture?

Just book online or get in touch. Jessica will be happy to help you.


Zhao F-Y, Fu Q-Q, Kennedy GA, Conduit R, Zhang W-J and Zheng Z (2021) Acupuncture as an Independent or Adjuvant Management to Standard Care for Perimenopausal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychiatry 12:666988. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.666988

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Acupuncture for pain-related depression

If you’re feeling low, or stuck in a bit of a hole, you’re definitely not alone. Unfortunately depression is very common – more than 16% of us can expect to experience it at some point in our lives, making it the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide. And if you’re experiencing chronic pain, unfortunately your risk of depression may be as high as 50%.

Acupuncture for pain-related depression

Chronic pain is a horrible situation to be in, and it can really get you down. We probably all know someone with chronic back pain, who is also suffering with their mood.

I was happy to see though, that a 2021 study concluded, after analysing the results of eight randomised controlled trials, that acupuncture can be helpful for people who are suffering in this way:

“Depression and pain are the most common psychological and physical symptoms in primary care, respectively … Pain has a negative impact on the prognosis and treatment of depression and vice versa. There is a significant correlation between the severity of pain and the degree of depression.”

“… compared with drug treatment, single acupuncture treatment has the same effect in reducing pain and relieving symptoms of depression in patients with CPRD [chronic pain-related depression] … In addition, acupuncture combined with drug therapy has a better effect than a single drug.”

Extracts from a 2021 systematic review and metanalysis of acupuncture for acupuncture for chronic pain-related depression

The researchers also looked at whether any conclusions could be drawn about the safety of acupuncture in this context, and said:

“… single acupuncture treatment has a lower incidence of adverse events compared to oral drugs. Therefore, we can cautiously recommend that acupuncture is a safe treatment for CPRD [chronic pain-related depression].”

Although it’s worth noting, as is so common with acupuncture research, that the study also concluded that more research is needed:

“… due to the insufficient number of included studies, low methodological quality, and heterogeneity of results, further studies using large- and high-quality samples are needed to confirm the role of acupuncture for CPRD.”

Acupuncture for your pain-related depression

So if you’re suffering with pain-related depression and would like to try acupuncture, get in touch to get started.


Jianyu You, Haiyan Li, Dingyi Xie, Rixin Chen, Mingren Chen, “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain-Related Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, Pain Research and Management, vol. 2021, Article ID 6617075, 10 pages, 2021.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Acupuncture evidence is underused by other health professionals

Unfortunately, it’s quite frequent that people tell me that another health professional has told them that acupuncture will not be able to help with their problem, when those statements are not supported by the current evidence base.

Of course it would be unfair to expect the average GP to have a deep expertise in acupuncture in the way that an acupuncturist does. And it’s a challenge to keep up to date with all the great research that is being done. Although it’s worth noting that all health professionals do have an ethical obligation to keep themselves up to date on the evidence base for therapies that may help their patients.

So in this context, this article in the British Medical Journal in February 2022 was a breath of fresh air: Evidence on acupuncture therapies is underused in clinical practice and health policy.

What did the research team find?

The article examined the systematic reviews that have been published for acupuncture – a systematic review is a study of the studies. So whereas one particular trial might reach a certain finding and another study a different conclusion, a systematic review seeks to identify all the relevant trials for a particular topic, and look at what conclusions can be reached overall. So what did they find when they did a study of the studies of the studies for acupuncture?

“Despite minor limitations, systematic reviews of acupuncture therapies are generally methodologically rigorous.”

“A recent overview of acupuncture systematic reviews found … acupuncture showed a moderate or large effect with moderate or high certainty evidence in eight diseases or conditions … However, instead of endorsement in health policies and wide use in clinical practice, only a few healthcare systems incorporated acupuncture into clinical practice guidelines.”

“For example, acupuncture is underused in practice for treatment of post-stroke aphasia … by 2015 compelling evidence had accumulated that acupuncture provided important improvement, relative to the best existing therapy … To date, however, only one Chinese clinical practice guideline has recommended acupuncture therapies for treatment of post-stroke aphasia. In the US alone, 10 million patients with post-stroke aphasia could have benefited from acupuncture treatment.”

“Identified research opportunities are underfunded … Promising acupuncture therapies (large effect supported by low certainty evidence) represent potentially fruitful future clinical research targets, and thus require further investigation and research funding support. The overview of systematic reviews found that in 33 outcomes for 22 conditions, acupuncture showed a promising effect. Existing funding and research endeavours in these areas have, however, increased little in the past decade.”

“Take three diseases or conditions in which acupuncture showed promising effects as an example. Depressive disorders, migraine, and opioid use disorders are prevalent and associated with a high disease burden globally … Even though acupuncture therapies have shown large effects supported by low certainty evidence for all three of these prevalent and high burden diseases, they received limited funding for further investigation.”

The authors’ recommendations included using the acupuncture evidence base properly in health system decision making, and a better organised approach to funding acupuncture research.

What’s standing in the way?

A wide range of factors undoubtedly lie behind this, but sticking to just the topic of clinical research, one point to note is that acupuncture research doesn’t have the financial might of big pharma behind it. The profit motive that drives a proportion of medical research is not there for acupuncture treatment. But apart from funding, there are quite a few other interesting issues to consider in creating good quality acupuncture research.

Often a trial will seek to assess acupuncture using ideas that were developed to test drugs, for example using comparisons to an inert placebo. Concepts like ‘sham acupuncture’ are sometimes used, when from a Chinese medical perspective even touching a point (acupressure) is an active therapy. Acupuncture is more akin to a minor procedure than to popping a pill, and not all studies do well in recognising that.

Meanwhile the master practitioners of our medicine, and the practitioners who are well integrated into research institutions and can gain access to research funding, may not always be well aligned. The ‘acupuncture’ used in some studies can feel like a bit of a puzzle.

For example, I was surprised to see a study on acupuncture for pubic symphysis pain (a condition of late pregnancy), which used a number of acupuncture points that are considered unsafe in pregnancy. (Say what now?) Debra Betts, an acupuncturist in New Zealand and probably the foremost expert in obstetric acupuncture globally, wrote an interesting analysis:

“Although no serious complications were reported during treatment it is of concern that the acupuncture points Hegu LI-4, Kunlun BL-60 and Ciliao Bl-32 are listed with no mention of their function in traditional Chinese medicine to induce labour … The study states that these distal points were chosen due to their well known pain relieving effect … This is an interesting study as while it confirms the benefit of offering acupuncture for pelvic pain in pregnancy it also raises questions about the way point prescription acupuncture can be used by physiotherapists and medical acupuncturists.”

Debra Betts, author of The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Meanwhile, there are lots of other issues around achieving good quality acupuncture research – meaning both good science, and good Chinese Medicine. The same edition of the British Medical Journal also had a very interesting article about how to improve the quality of acupuncture research.

So, when the benefit of acupuncture has managed to shine through all of these kinds of hurdles, it’s all the more disappointing that the resulting evidence is not always being listened to by medical decision makers.


In summary, it is a great pleasure for me to see the evidence base for acupuncture becoming more complete over time. I am in admiration of all the practitioners and researchers who are dedicating time and energy to building the scientific recognition of our venerable healing art.

Unfortunately it is not an infrequent experience to see acupuncture receiving ill-informed negativity. Sadly this sometimes comes from other medical professionals, despite their relevant ethical obligations.

And so I very much concur with the authors’ recommendations that the evidence base for acupuncture should be used properly in mainstream clinical practice and health policy. As wide a group of people as possible should be able to benefit from the evidence-based benefits of acupuncture.


Betts, Debra, Acupuncture Research,

Elden H, Ladfors l, Fagevik Olsen M, Ostaard H, Hagberg H. Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercisers as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised singleblind controlled trail.BMJ 2005;330:761

Lu L, Zhang Y, Tang X, Ge S, Wen H, Zeng J et al. Evidence on acupuncture therapies is underused in clinical practice and health policy BMJ 2022; 376 :e067475 doi:10.1136/bmj-2021-067475

Zhang Y, Jing X, Guyatt G. Improving acupuncture research: progress, guidance, and future directions BMJ 2022; 376 :o487 doi:10.1136/bmj.o487

Acupuncture for vertigo in Perth

Acupuncture for vertigo focuses on restoring your balance.

Of all the conditions that people come to me with, vertigo seems like a really nasty one. A lot of people seem to imagine that it’s just about feeling dizzy in high places. But if you’re suffering from vertigo, you’ll know that it’s a much wider problem than that.

You can feel like the room is spinning around you, feel dizzy even when you’re sitting still with your eyes closed, and end up unsteady and nauseous. It’s clearly no fun at all.

Vertigo in Chinese Medicine

As in Western Medicine, vertigo can be driven by a range of diagnoses in Chinese Medicine. They have less familiar names, like ‘blood deficiency’ or ‘Liver fire’. But the goal of treatment is the same, to get your sense of balance back in balance!

Acupuncture aims to clear your head and ears of congestion, and get things flowing smoothly again.

Acupuncture for vertigo – the evidence base

At the moment, as for so many conditions, the research base for vertigo remains at the level of ‘more research is needed’. Here are some of the conclusions of a 2016 study. This was a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials, involving 993 patients with Meniere’s Disease:

“The quality of most eligible studies was very low which limited the value of the meta-analysis. Compared with western medicine comprehensive treatment (WMCT), the APS [acupuncture point stimulation] alone or in combination with WMCT had a significant positive effect in controlling vertigo … No adverse events were reported in the studies More high-quality researches with larger sample size are urgently needed to assess the effectiveness and safety.

He J, Jiang L, Peng T, Xia M, Chen H. Acupuncture Points Stimulation for Meniere’s Disease/Syndrome: A Promising Therapeutic Approach

So, more studies are needed to draw firm conclusions about how effective acupuncture for vertigo can be.

Meanwhile, traditional acupuncture practice is not defined by modern scientific research. But it’s great to see lots of studies going on in this area.

Try acupuncture for vertigo

To see if acupuncture may be able to help your vertigo, just get in touch.


He J, Jiang L, Peng T, Xia M, Chen H. Acupuncture Points Stimulation for Meniere’s Disease/Syndrome: A Promising Therapeutic Approach. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:6404197.

Acupuncture for acne works as well as medication

In my acupuncture clinic I always feel for people with acne. If you’re suffering with bad skin it can be really hard to get away from. You can feel like it’s staring other people in the face the whole time. It’s great that you’re researching acupuncture for acne and are looking for natural approaches to your health.

Happily this is one of the areas where we now have some good quality scientific evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Acupuncture for acne is as effective as pharmaceuticals

There was no statistical difference in the efficacy of acupuncture compared to pharmacotherapies for acne vulgaris; however acupuncture interventions reported less adverse effects. Poor methodological quality of trial design and lack of consistent reporting of outcome measures from some trials were found in this review; therefore results should be interpreted with caution.

Acupuncture for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

So that might sound a bit downbeat! But, what it’s saying is that the studies so far show that acupuncture works just as well as the pharmaceutical treatements for acne. And, with fewer unwelcome side effects.

(Also they’re noting that more research is needed. It will be great when we get to that stage, of a really indisputable result.)

How strong is this evidence?

The study I’ve quoted above represents one the most robust forms of scientific evidence – a systematic review and meta-analysis. This gathers and analyses the results of all the good quality studies that have been done on that topic.

Above all, this type of review helps to even out quirky results that single studies may have thrown up. And it stops you cherry picking and just quoting the one study that backs up what you want to say! Researchers from RMIT in Victoria, and Guangdong in China conducted this study.

In summary, this type of study is considered to be a very strong level of scientific evidence.

The Chinese perspective

From the point of view of traditional Chinese medicine, acne is often all about ‘Heat’. In some ways this parallels the idea of inflammation. Imbalances related to hormones, diet, stress and lifestyle can cause these eruptions of Heat on the surface of the body.

Certainly treatment will often focus on clearing your Heat and harmonising your system, to bring your skin back into balance.

Holistic treatment, looking at all of your health

Meanwhile I take a very holistic approach to your treatment. In your first consultation we’ll review all aspects of your wellbeing, and identify any other areas where acupuncture may be able to help.

If you choose acupuncture over pharmaceuticals, as well as the benefits to your acne, and the potential reduction in side effects, you may receive improvements in other areas of your health.

Try acupuncture for your acne

So if you’d like to give acupuncture for acne a try, just get in touch.


Acupuncture for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018; 2018: 4806734.

Image by Kjerstin Michaela Haraldsen from Pixabay

Acupuncture for endometriosis

Unfortunately it sometimes seems like we’re living through an epidemic of endometriosis. And if you have endometriosis your symptoms can be so all-consuming. I hear from a lot of women wanting acupuncture for endometriosis.

When I read about a woman as young, and with as much access to healthcare as the actor Lena Dunham, having a hysterectomy due to intolerable endometriosis symptoms, I found it truly tragic.

If you know you’re suffering from endometriosis, you have my sympathies. It’s a step forward at least that you’ve been diagnosed. It can take SO long before some women receive a clear diagnosis. US research shows that the average delay is an unbelievable nine years.

And of course this is partly because it’s such a complex disease, that can affect you in so many ways.

What is my endometrium?

Your endometrium is the tissue lining your womb. It’s supposed to stay put. During your fertile years it swells up during your menstrual cycle, and then sheds each month to create the flow of your period.

It’s when some of your endometrium escapes from your womb that your problems start. This is called endometriosis.

How can my endometrium wander around my body?

You may not realise that your womb actually opens out into your abdominal cavity. It’s not sealed at the top. It has two arms – the fallopian tubes – which reach up and around, and kind of fondle your two ovaries. Your fallopian tubes have feathery frondy ends, that nestle around your ovaries. It’s a bit hard to describe, but there’s a nice diagram here on MedicineNet.

When everything’s working smoothly, your fallopian tubes catch the egg that is released by one of your ovaries each month, and bring it down into your uterus (your womb).

Things aren’t supposed to travel in the opposite direction, up and out of your uterus, and it’s generally not good news if they do. For example, if sperm manage to get all the way up there, and find an egg, you can end up with an ectopic pregnancy. This is a pregnancy outside the womb, which is potentially a very dangerous situation.

Where can it get to?

So with your endometriosis, some of your endometrial tissues has travelled up your fallopian tubes and managed to escape from your womb. When this happens, patches of your endometrial tissues can get stuck to your ovaries. And to all the other structures in the area, including your bowels.

Your doctors may have mentioned your pouch of Douglas – and this is the lowest point in your abdominal cavity. It’s a bit of a backwater in amongst your organs there. Gravity may encourage any loose materials to end up pooling down there and potentially colonising any surfaces they find.

Apparently endometrial tissue can even migrate to your brains or your eyeballs. It hardly bears thinking about.

Anyway, abdominal areas are where it’s normally found.

And why is this a problem?

Two main things – these rogue patches of endometrium may bleed every month, introducing blood to places where it’s not supposed to be. This can include confined spaces, like a patch of endometrium bleeding into itself on the surface of one of your ovaries. This can create a blood filled cyst which grows bigger over time, causing pain and pressure.

Secondly, adhesions. These patches of endometrium may glue tissues together that should not be glued together. When things need to move, for example something as simple as when food needs to move through your intestine, or a stool needs to move out of your system, the pain can be off the charts.

The broader impact

And I say two main things, but actually, also, a third thing, inflammation.

People who don’t have endometriosis often think it’s basically about period pain. And endometriosis can definitely cause extremely severe pain, both during your period and at other times.

What’s less obvious is that endometriosis can also cause mind-blowing levels of fatigue, brain fog, and other systemic symptoms.

When I’ve looked into this, it doesn’t seem clear WHY endometriosis causes these kind of symptoms. But the best understanding I’ve found in the medical literature is that basically all that blood and all those adhesions in the wrong places cause a ton of inflammation. And a ton of inflammation can make you feel properly terrible.

What is the cause of endometriosis?

It’s unkown. It’s a bit of a mystery. I’ve read theories that it’s because we’re all exposed to so many plastics and chemicals these days, some of which mimic the effects of hormones in our bodies. But scientifically, the jury is still out.

It’s also a bit of a mystery that the amount of endometrium, and adhesions, and cysts, and whatnot, that may show up in your scans, and the level of symptoms you have, may not correlate. You can have lots of one, with little of the other.

Acupuncture for endometriosis

From a scientific point of view, acupuncture for endometriosis has not yet benefited from a large volume of high quality research. The effectiveness of acupuncture for endometriosis is unproven. Further research is needed.

Meanwhile the ancient system of traditional Chinese medicine looks at your body through its own lens. With acupuncture for endometriosis, your symptoms are likely to be all about Stagnation. Blood Stagnation and Qi Stagnation. Also Heat, arising from all that Stagnation.

The aim with acupuncture for endometriosis is to smooth back out the flow of your Qi and your Blood and clear Heat, to restore your bodily harmony.

Try acupuncture for your endometriosis

To try acupuncture for your endometriosis, and see whether it may be able to help you, just get in touch.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Acupuncture for sinus problems

Wow, everywhere I go in Australia I hear people talking about sinus problems! In my years practising acupuncture in London, acupuncture for sinus problems did crop up, but it wasn’t something I was hearing about all the time.

You’d think that the damp British climate would promote sinus problems, but it seems like no, it’s the dry heat of Western Australia that does it.

And from the point of view of Chinese medicine actually, this makes sense. Sinus problems come under the heading of ‘Phlegm’ – charming I know. And Phlegm arises from ‘Heat’ baking body fluids and creating stickiness and obstruction. And for sure there’s plenty of heat in a Perth summer!

So, what’s the story with your sinuses, and with acupuncture for your sinus problems?

What are your sinuses?

So the sinuses are cavities in the bones of your face. They sit above your eyebrows, and below your eyes. There’s a slightly creepy illustration of what they look like here on WebMD.

It seems like no-one is quite sure what your sinuses are for. I had this conversation once with someone who suggested they’re so that your face doesn’t look all hollow. And well, mayyyybe. But I’m guessing that if the sinuses weren’t there, and we all had hollow faces, we’d think that was normal. And we’d be weirded out by the idea of plump outward faces, with weird holes in the bones underneath?

Other, more convincing, theories are that your sinuses help to moisten the air that you breathe in, or that they help give resonance to your voice.

In any case, your sinuses are lined with thin tissue called musosa. As it sounds, they produce mucous. And when everything is working smoothly, this mucous drains away through passages that lead to your nose.

Sinus problems

The most typical reason that people seek acupuncture for sinus problems is because of sinusitis. The ‘itis’ bit on the end means ‘inflammation’. So, the mucous membrane lining one or more of your sinus cavities has become inflamed. Most typically this started originally with some kind of infection. For example a bacterial or viral cold.

Common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Blocked or stuffy feeling above the eyebrows or below the eyes
  • Pain in those areas
  • Blocked nose
  • And if it gets worse, you may have a sore throat, fatigue, and other symptoms of being a bit more unwell

When sinusitis becomes chronic

Unfortunately it’s relatively common for these symptoms to become a bit entrenched. Your sinus cavities are a bit of a backwater within your head, and lingering infection or inflammation may not always clear smoothly.

The tissues lining your sinuses may remain inflamed, they may produce excess mucous, and polyps may even start to grow – little benign growths. Each of these things creates obstruction and stagnation, within these small and confined spaces.

So, you can end up with soreness, pain and pressure on an ongoing basis. It can be difficult to treat medically – this article from OnHealth talks about how surgery may be needed for some people as a last resort.

Acupuncture for sinus problems

From a scientific point of view, this is an area where more research is needed. A strong body of good quality studies on acupuncture for sinus problems have not yet built up.

A related area where more research HAS been done is acupuncture for allergic rhinitis – you can see my blog post on that here. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hayfever, can itself cause sinus problems. And the evidence shows a good benefit for allergic rhinitis from acupuncture.

Looking from the point of view of traditional Chinese medicine, using acupuncture for sinus problems is all about working to release stagnation, congestion and Phlegm in the area, and clearing the Heat arising from inflammation. The aim is to bring these areas of your head back to a smooth flow – of Qi and blood and air and everything else.

Try acupuncture for your sinus problems

If you’d like to see whether acupuncture for sinus problems may be able to help you, just get in touch.

Acupuncture for headaches can reduce your symptoms

If you have lots of headaches, that’s no fun at all. So it makes sense that you’re interested in acupuncture for headaches. The good news is that the evidence base is now strong that acupuncture can provide real relief, for both migraines and tension headaches.

Headache symptoms

It might seem like a simple problem, but headache symptoms can be very diverse. For example they can include:

  • Aching, throbbing, pressure or sharp pain
  • At your temples, behind your eyes, behind your forehead, to the rear of your head, or throughout your head
  • On one or both sides of your head

Your headaches may be better or worse:

  • At certain times of the day
  • In certain weather
  • With certain foods
  • With stress
  • With exercise
  • At certain points in your menstrual cycle
  • Etc

In addition they may be accompanied by:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visual disturbances
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to sound and light
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Neck and shoulder tension

Which type of headache?

The three most common kinds of primary headaches are:

  • Migraines – if you’ve got these, you probably know all about it! Pulsing pain in your head, which can go on for days, may be accompanied by nausa, vomiting and visual disturbances. You may become very sensitive to bright light or loud sounds. You may be completely debilitated while it lasts. Different people may have different triggers, but they may include certain foods, hormonal shifts, sleep disruption or exposure to chemicals. Read my blog post here about the research showing that acupuncture for headaches can be a cost-effective way of preventing migraines.
  • Tension headaches – these usually give you a dull ache in your whole head, and your neck and shoulders or other parts of your head may feel tense and be sore when you touch them. Stress is a common trigger. Read my blog post here about how acupuncture for headaches can help. The research is positive for both treating and preventing chronic tension headaches.
  • Cluster headaches – again, if you’ve got these, you’ll know about it! You will suffer a severe burning pain, on one side of your head. You may get swelling, redness, tears in your eyes and/or nasal congestion on that side too. Typically each headache won’t last more than three hours, but they’ll recur over a period of time. These headaches are more common at certain times of the year, and more common in men.

Is medication causing your headache?

A lot of progress has been made in recent years in recognising that in some people your headaches are being CAUSED by taking painkillers regularly. As a result these are known as ‘medication overuse headaches‘ or ‘rebound headaches’.

Consequently, even though medication may temporarily relieve this kind of headache, the strain on your body of processing the drug has reached the stage where taking the medication may now be the main driver of your ongoing headaches.

Headaches as a danger sign

Most headaches are not an indicator of another, more serious, underlying disease. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras!

However you should consider seeking medical attention urgently if you have a strong headache accompanied by a rash, fever, neck stiffness, the worst headache you’ve ever had, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, paralysis and/or loss of vision.

But hopefully your headaches fall outside this category. Still, if they don’t respond to pharmaceutical treatment, acupuncture for headaches, or other commonly useful approaches, I would definitely recommend to get them checked out by your doctor.

Acupuncture for headaches

The evidence base for acupuncture treatment of all kinds of health conditions is at different stages of evolution. Happily, for migraines and tension headaches, a good body of evidence has now built up. In short, we can say with confidence that acupuncture for headaches can bring real benefits.

Book your appointment for acupuncture for headaches

To see how acupuncture for headaches may be able to help you, just get in touch.

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

Acupuncture can prevent tension headaches

Research suggests that acupuncture for tension headaches may be able to help.

Tension headaches, also known as stress headaches, are really common – up to 80% of us may get them from time to time, according to WebMD.

At their worst, they may feel like a vice clamping your head. A milder tension headache may feel like pressure, tension, or dull pain around your forehead or the back of your head. Knock on problems can include tiredness, irritability and sleep problems. (The difference to migraines is that tension headaches don’t usually include eye pain, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting.)

If you have these types of headaches more than 15 times a month, they’re known as chronic tension headaches, and if they’re less frequent than that they’re known as episodic tension headaches.

The good news is that a body of scientific evidence has built up to confirm that acupuncture may be able to help.

What does the research say?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project summarises the the research supporting acupuncture for tension headaches like this:

“Chronic tension-type headaches and chronic episodic headaches were not reviewed in the Australian DVA review (2010) and rated as ‘evidence of positive effect’ in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). The most recent Cochrane systematic review update confirmed that acupuncture is effective for frequent episodic and chronic tension-type headaches with moderate to low quality evidence (43). A brief review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses described acupuncture as having a potentially important role as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders (44). Studies in Germany and the UK found acupuncture for chronic headaches to be cost-effective (44).”

In the UK the evidence for acupuncture is considered to be strong enough that NICE recommends acupuncture for the prevention of chronic tension-type headaches:

“Consider a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5–8 weeks for the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension‑type headache.”

(NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, is the UK’s governmental body which issues recommendations to health professionals about all medical interventions – including pharmaceuticals and surgery.  Their recommendations are based on their assessment of the evidence for efficacy and cost effectiveness.)

How does acupuncture for headaches work?

From a scientific point of view, there is all kinds of interesting research going on into numerous mechanisms by which acupuncture may affect the body, but viewed through a Chinese medicine lens, treating headaches is about releasing tension in the head. Moving your Qi, your daily bodily energy, where your Qi is stuck.

What will my treatment look like?

Your personal holistic diagnosis, and your individual needs, will be at the heart of your treatment. You are more than just a cluster of headaches! 

Try acupuncture for your headaches

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

43. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587.

44. Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Acupuncture for knee arthritis can help

Research suggests that acupuncture for osteoarthritic knee pain can reduce pain, improve mobility and help with quality of life. Acupuncture for arthritic knee pain even appears to be more effective than several other treatments, including standard medical care.

And so many people are suffering – Arthritis Australia says that 1 in 6 Australians has arthritis, and around half of those are of working age. It’s the leading cause of chronic pain.

If you have osteoarthritic (OA) knee pain, acupuncture may be able to help.

What does the research say?

The Acupuncture Evidence Project summarises the the research supporting acupuncture for knee arthritis pain like this:

“ Knee osteoarthritis pain was not reviewed in the Australian DVA review (2010) and rated as evidence of potential positive effect in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). In a network meta-analysis comparing 22 interventions in 152 studies, acupuncture was found to be equal to balneotherapy and superior to sham acupuncture, muscle-strengthening exercise, Tai Chi, weight loss, standard care and aerobic exercise (in ranked order) (52). Acupuncture was also superior to standard care and muscle-strengthening exercises in a sub-analysis of moderate to high quality studies (52). In a systematic review of 12 randomised controlled trials, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce pain intensity, to improve functional mobility and quality of life (53). Subgroup analysis showed greater reduction in pain intensity when treatment lasted for more than four weeks (53). The reviewers concluded that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis (53). ”

How does acupuncture for knee arthritis work?

Chinese Medicine sees this in terms of releasing blockages to the flow of your Qi, your vital energy.  Where there is obstruction and stiffness, there should be flow and ease.

From a scientific perspective, there are a range of ideas about how acupuncture is able to reduce pain – for example it may have an anti inflammatory effect.  This is an area where lots of research is going on, with interesting information emerging all the time.

What will my treatment look like?

Your treatment will be all about you, and personalised to your needs.  You are a richly flavoured individual, not just a pair of knees! 

We will discuss your health holistically, to fully understand the context of your knee problem, and how best to help.  Your treatment plan will fit you as an individual.

Try acupuncture for your knee arthritis

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

52. Corbett MS, Rice SJ, Madurasinghe V, Slack R, Fayter DA, Harden M, et al. Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.

53. Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, Abou-Setta A, Friesen C, Tennenhouse M, et al. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:312.

Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay

Acupuncture for hayfever can help

Acupuncture for hayfever is one of the better researched areas of acupuncture, highlighting acupuncture’s role as a safe and effective treatment for this problem.

As you’ll know very well if you’ve suffered from hayfever – or seasonal allergic rhinitis as it’s technically known – it can be a nightmare.  Sneezing, streaming nose, itchy eyes can make time spent outdoors something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Thankfully, relief is at hand!

What does the research say?

Here’s a summary from the Australian Acupuncture Evidence Project on the research supporting acupuncture for allergic rhinitis:

“For allergic rhinitis, acupuncture was rated as ‘effective’ in the Australian DVA review (2010)  and ‘unclear’ in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (5, 6). A systematic review of 13 randomised controlled trials concluded that acupuncture could be a safe and valid treatment option for allergic rhinitis (moderate quality evidence) (54). Another systematic review (which included two large multi-centre randomised controlled trials, three comparisons of acupuncture versus medication and one cost-effectiveness study) concluded that there is high quality evidence of the efficacy and effectiveness of acupuncture and that it appears to be safe and cost-effective (15). Clinical practice guidelines for allergic rhinitis published by the Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery Foundation in 2015 included acupuncture as Option five: Clinicians may offer acupuncture, or refer to a clinician who can offer acupuncture, for patients with AR who are interested in nonpharmacological therapy (Aggregate evidence quality – Grade B) (37).”

How does acupuncture for hayfever work?

From the point of view of Chinese Medicine, this is all about soothing and rebalancing your Qi, your vital energy.  Specifically your Wei Qi, your defensive Qi or immune system, is overreacting to an external stimulus, and needs to be calmed.

Looking through the lens of Western medicine, there are various ideas about the mechanisms of how acupuncture may work.  It may have an anti inflammatory effect, or help to modulate the immune system.  With more research, this is all likely to become clearer.

What will my treatment look like?

Your individual needs will be at the heart of your treatment.  You are more than just a case of hayfever!  We will discuss your health across the board and in detail, to fully understand where your problem is coming from,  and how best to help.  Your treatment plan will fit you as an individual.

When should I start treatment?

Ideally your acupuncture treatment will start a few weeks before your hayfever would normally get started.  It’s not too late though, even if your seasonal problem has already got going.

Try acupuncture for your hayfever

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.

6. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.

15. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.

37. Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, Schwartz SR, Baroody FM, Bonner JR, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(1 Suppl):S1-43.

54. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay 

Acupuncture for migraines has a good evidence base

Happily, acupuncture for migraines is one of the areas that has been best studied by researchers, and a good scientific evidence base has built up. 

If you’re suffering with migraines, you’re definitely not alone, the Migraine Trust tells us that it’s the third most common disease in the world.  Migraines affect one in seven people (Steiner, Stovner, & Birbeck, 2013), so finding something that can help, can make a huge difference.

What does the research say?

Acupuncture can help to prevent migraines, making them less frequent, and it does this at least as well as medication does.  The advantages of acupuncture for migraines include that it is a safe treatment, can have long-lasting results, and is cost effective.

Here’s how the Australian Acupuncture Evidence Project sums up the research supporting acupuncture for migraines:

“Since March 2013 a narrative review of high quality randomised controlled trials and two systematic reviews including a Cochrane systematic review update, have confirmed that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and seems to be at least as effective as conventional preventative medication in reducing migraine frequency (Da Silva, 2015), (Linde et al., 2016) & (Yang, Que, Ye, & Zheng, 2016). Moreover, acupuncture is described as safe, long-lasting and cost effective (Da Silva, 2015). Subgroup analysis in the Cochrane systematic review found that 16 or more treatment sessions showed a larger effect size (Z=4.06) than 12 treatments or fewer (Z=2.32). Evidence levels in these three reviews was moderate to high quality.”

And more recently, in 2024, a further systematic review and meta analysis study (a study of all the available studies) concluded that:

“In terms of efficacy, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, blood-letting and cupping, and special acupuncture method have shown better performance compared to drug therapy in reducing migraine VAS scores [Visual Analog Scale], decreasing migraine frequency, duration, and number of migraine days. Furthermore, combining acupuncture with drug therapy has demonstrated superior efficacy compared to using medication alone for the treatment of migraine.”

“In the context of professional practise, it is important to carefully choose suitable treatment options based on the individual circumstances of the patient.”

How well accepted is this evidence?

The evidence is strong enough that in the UK, NICE recommends acupuncture for migraine prevention

(NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, is the UK’s governmental body which issues recommendations to health professionals about all medical interventions – including pharmaceuticals and surgery.  Their recommendations are based on their assessment of the evidence for efficacy and cost effectiveness.)

How does acupuncture for migraines work?

Chinese Medicine thinks about this in terms of rebalancing your Qi, your vital energy. 

From a Western scientific perspective, the mechanisms of action aren’t yet clear, but there is all sorts of interesting research going on.  Mark Bovey, of the UK’s Acupuncture Research Resource Centre, describes research results so far for the various ways acupuncture may work to reduce migraines in this interesting article.

What will my treatment look like?

My approach puts you at the heart of your treatment.  We’ll discuss your health holistically and in detail, to get a really clear idea of what is happening and how best to approach it.  Your treatment plan will be uniquely tailored to you as an individual.

The best approach for treating your migraines with acupuncture will vary with your specific needs, but acupuncture points on the feet are likely to be relevant, to start to ease the stress which Chinese Medicine would often see as one of the roots of your headaches.

Try acupuncture for your migraines

Get in touch today to book your first appointment.


Da Silva, A. N. (2015). Acupuncture for Migraine Prevention. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 55(3), 470–473.

Liu Y, Wang Y, Mi C, Wang Z, Han Y, Qi X, Ding X. Efficacy of Acupuncture-Related Therapy for Migraine: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. J Pain Res. 2024;17:1107-1132

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Vertosick, E. A., … White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6), CD001218.

Steiner, T. J., Stovner, L. J., & Birbeck, G. L. (2013). Migraine: the seventh disabler. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 14(1), 1.

Yang, Y., Que, Q., Ye, X., & Zheng, G. hua. (2016). Verum versus Sham Manual Acupuncture for Migraine: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials. Acupuncture in Medicine, 34(2), 76–83.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay