Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine that involves the insertion of very fine needles into energy points in the body. These energy points are on Energy Channels or meridians which are connected with specific organs e.g. liver, heart etc. By stimulating the energy point via the needle we can have a positive effect upon the organ and induce a state of well being or dynamic balance (homeostasis).

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, in fact, early acupuncture needles, made of fish bones, have been found in tombs in China dating up to 6000 bce. Because acupuncture and Chinese medicine is so old there have been thousands of years of clinical trials and everything that didn’t work has been discarded long ago. What’s left is a very effective form of natural medicine which has stood the test of time.

Through modern scientific study and testing acupuncture has been shown to stimulate sensory nerves and the release of endorphins and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) on a cellular level. It has also been shown to stimulate fascial fibroblast cells which are essential for wound healing.

Due to the diversity of points and application acupuncture can be used to treat a whole range of conditions including musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain, insomnia, fertility issues, lethargy and tiredness, vertigo among many others. Most acupuncture research has focused on it’s effectiveness in pain relief and there is strong evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat a number of conditions including but not limited to knee pain, migraines, headaches, osteo-arthritis etc.

acupuncture point model and herb jars

Does Acupuncture hurt?

The needles are very fine, sometimes hair fine and in most cases you don’t feel anything. Sometimes there is a mild sensation like a gentle tingling or buzzing. This is the sensation of “Da Qi” or the needles activating and stimulating the flow of Qi (energy). They are dramatically smaller than hypodermic needles and not inserted as deeply.

Mick Ryan inserting acupuncture needles in foot

Are Acupuncture needles safe?

Just like any other medical procedure all of the needles used in acupuncture are pre-sterilized and pre-packaged as well as disposable and single use. This means that as each needle is used it is disposed into a bio-hazard container that ensures not only the safe disposal but that the entire work space in an office is kept entirely clean.

abdominal acupuncture points

Are there any side effects to Acupuncture?

After a few sessions you can start to experience better sleep, less stress, improve mental clarity, better digestion and improved energy levels. Some minor negative side effects that you might experience could include feeling lightheaded after a treatment as well as a bit more emotional on a day that you have experienced acupuncture, however, these effects are usually short lived.

happy guy in office

Does Acupuncture work?

The evidence of patients presenting in the clinic would say yes. In my clinical experience I have seen many patients improve dramatically through acupuncture treatment from a wide variety of ailments including but not exclusively:

  • Migraine
  • back ache
  • sciatica
  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain/frozen shoulder
  • tennis elbow
  • digestive complaints
  • tiredness and lack of energy

According to a study published by the national institute for health acupuncture is at least as effective as pharmacology and causes less adverse events in preventing migraine attacks *

Acupuncture Migraine Study

For further reading please go to

Evidence Based Acupuncture

touching the sun over water

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works on what we refer to as Qi (pronounced Chee), the vital energy or life force which energises us and gives us life. In TCM terms illness and “dis-ease” are caused by some disharmony in the flow and function of this Qi. Qi flows through energy channels or meridians (Jing Luo) connected to the organs and these channels have multiple acupuncture points which have various effects on the associated organ. By using the acupuncture points to redirect the Qi we promote the body’s natural healing intelligence which allow it to heal itself

statue of Guan Yin

How many visits will it take?

This will be determined by your response to treatment and varies with each individual. Unlike some other therapies and medicine the patient plays a key role in their own rehabilitation. Willingness to adopt dietary advice and make lifestyle changes will have a significant effect on the success of the treatment.

Acupuncture is not a miracle cure. While you may get instant relief from taking medication or drugs they are usually just masking symptoms and not actually treating the underlying cause of illness. Through our careful questioning and probing we aim to determine the underlying pattern of disharmony and then promote the body’s innate healing capabilites to restore balance and health. Unlike drugs and medication there are no nasty side effects.

fresh tea pot and jars at Solas Wellbeing

What can I expect on my first visit?

The initial consultation is when we formulate a treatment plan and in order to do this we will go through various diagnostic procedures including tongue diagnosis, pulse diagnosis and talking.  Michael will ask you many questions and many of these questions may appear quite unusual, however, they are essential to build a complete picture from a TCM perspective and determine the pattern of disharmony causing the illness, pain etc.

Mick Ryan taking a pulse diagnosis in clinic