What is Western Acupuncture?

Medical or Western Acupuncture can also be known as Dry Needling. It is a western adaptation of traditional acupuncture.

It is practiced predominantly by doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths & chiropractors and uses a more select range of acupuncture techniques on the basis of a western medical diagnosis and evidence based research.

It is not one of the various forms of Traditional acupuncture and should not be confused as such!

Dry Needling is based on anatomy, physiology and western scientific findings. It is often used in conjunction with other therapies as discussed above. Most acupuncturists that practice western acupuncture should have some sort of medical qualification and have studied it as a post graduate qualification.

How does Western Acupuncture work?

Several processes have been proposed to explain acupuncture’s effects, primarily those on pain. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.

These chemicals either change the experience of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body’s self-regulating systems. The biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

There are three main mechanisms:

  • Conduction of electromagnetic signals: Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and of immune system cells to specific sites that are injured or vulnerable to disease.
  • Activation of opioid systems: research has found that several types of opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
  • Changes in brain chemistry sensation, and involuntary body functions: studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in a good way. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature are regulated.

What Does Western Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to those used in injections and blood tests.  They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow.  When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache.

Needles are normally left in place for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the effect required. During treatment patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

Western Acupuncture Practitioners

Michelle McWilliam
Ian Stuart
Amelia Butterwick
Tom Smith

Western Acupuncture Fees

Associate Osteopath Fees

£50 Initial Consultation – (45-60 minutes)
£40 Follow up Treatments – (30 minutes)

Principle Osteopath Fees

£60 Initial Consultation – (45-60 minutes)

£45 Follow up Treatments – (30 minutes)

Consultations and treatments by appointment only


Payments are made at the end of each treatment session or consultation. We accept cash, cheque, debit or credit card.

Our Secure  iZettle Reader takes chip, swipe and contactless payments from all major credit cards, as well as payments through Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay.


We are recognised by all major insurance companies and we may bill directly some insurances, including Bupa and Cigna, if you provide us the following details prior to your first consultation:

  • Your name, address and date of birth

  • Insurance policy or membership number

  • Pre-authorisation number for treatment

  • Number of treatments authorised