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True Health Clinics, highest-rated
Osteopathy, Acupuncture and Hypnotherapy clinic based in Godmanchester, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

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What is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment where thin sterile acupuncture needles are inserted into specific acupuncture body points to treat a wide variety of physical or psychological conditions.

Acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago. Over the last 50 years much scientific research has been done to explain how acupuncture works.

With the help of brain scans and blood tests, scientists discovered that acupuncture has a powerful effect on the brain. Acupuncture has been shown to rewire brain pathways and have a permanent healing effect.

Acupuncture for stress
Acupuncture for knee pain
Acupuncture for elbow pain
Acupuncture for wrist pain

Does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is one of the most evidence-based medical modalities. Evidence shows that acupuncture works.

Past 20 years

Unprecedented in allied medicine, over 13,000 acupuncture trials published

Over 13,000 studies conducted in 60 countries. Conditions studied include pain, cancer, insomnia, inflammatory conditions, infertility and many others. The quantity and quality of acupuncture research is rising exponentially. (Evidence Based Acupuncture)


World Health Organisation publishes report on acupuncture effectiveness

World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report of the evidence of acupuncture effectiveness. They identified 91 conditions that had preliminary moderate to strong evidence of acupuncture effectiveness.


The Acupuncture Evidence Project finds evidence that acupuncture can help 117 conditions

Publication of a major review of acupuncture effectiveness in which the authors reviewed over 1,000 trials. They found moderate to high evidence of acupuncture effectiveness for 117 conditions out of 122 conditions studied. Only five conditions were found to have little or no evidence of acupuncture effectiveness.

Stephen Janz, one of the authors concluded "It is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture can be attributed to the placebo effect or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain”.


2,189 international guidelines recommend acupuncture

A review of 1,311 clinical guidelines from government health institutions, national guideline, and medical specialty groups from around the world found 2,189 positive recommendations of acupuncture for 107 pain and 97 non-pain conditions.

On average, it takes 17 years for new clinical research to be incorporated into clinical practice. Therefore, with the increase in the evidence of acupuncture effectiveness, it is likely that acupuncture will be recommended in more future guidelines. 


Acupuncture is now more accepted than many other forms of medicine

After 13,000 trials, thousands of reviews and an unmatched safety record, acupuncture is one of the most widely recommended treatments in contemporary medicine.

Acupuncture effects last

Acupuncture pain-relieving effects last for at least 12 months

Two meta-analysis studies (considered highest level of scientific proof) on acupuncture for chronic pain found that 85-90% of the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture lasted for over 12 months after a course of acupuncture treatment. 

Acupuncture MRI studies show show that a course of acupuncture literally re-wires the brain and this has a lasting effect.

Acupuncture effects last graph

Is acupuncture safe?

Research on the safety of acupuncture is so conclusive, even critics concede that acupuncture is safe

Several studies on the safety of acupuncture involving over 10.5 million treatments demonstrated that acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment. The most common side-effects reported included minor bleeding or bruising, tiredness and temporary aggravation of symptoms. 

The rate of more serious adverse events was 0.00011%. In contrast, a recent meta-analysis study found that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen even for a short duration increased the risk of a heart attack. 

Acupuncture is only safe if administered by a fully qualified acupuncturist. In the UK, anyone can work as an 'acupuncturist' with virtually no training. It is possible to do short courses over one to two days (sometimes referred to as 'dry needling' or 'medical acupuncture').

World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2,500 hours of formal training to qualify as an acupuncturist. Therefore, the onus is on patients to verify how well trained their acupuncturist is. 

At True Health Clinics, all acupuncturists hold UK Master of Science or Bachelor's degree level qualifications after undertaking three to four years formal training. They are registered with The British Acupuncture Council and are accredited by The Professional Standards Authority.

True Health Clinics have been inspected and are licensed by Huntingdonshire District Council for carrying out acupuncture treatments. 

We use only disposable needles

We use only sterile single-use acupuncture needles that are disposed of immediately after each use. We never use reusable acupuncture needles. This significantly reduces the risk of infections.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Unlike injections, acupuncture needles do not hurt.

Acupuncture needles are so thin you will barely feel them penetrating the skin. Once inserted, we may adjust the needle until you feel a slight ache or tingling sensation. This sensation is a sign that we've activated the acupuncture point. Research shows that it's this sensation that induces physiological changes in the body. 

That sensation shouldn't be uncomfortable and should settle within few seconds. If you feel any discomfort during your treatment, please tell your acupuncturist who will adjust the needle to make it more comfortable. 

If you are still concerned about having needles inserted, why not book a 15 minutes free consultation with one of our acupuncturists and ask to try one needle so that you know how it will feel. 

Our expert acupuncturists

Fully registered, highly experienced, abide by strict code of safe practice, world-leaders in the field of acupuncture.

Irina Szmelskyj Acupuncturist in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire

Irina Szmelskyj
Dip Ac, MSc, MBAcC


Acupuncture National Award Winner

17 years' clinical experience

Registered with The British Acupuncture Council

Registered with The British Medical Acupuncture Society

MSc Lecturer and Examiner

International Conference Speaker

Co-author of the international best-selling textbook 'Acupuncture for IVF and Assisted Reproduction'

Philip Rose-Neil Associate Acupuncturist Huntingdon Cambridgeshire

Philip Rose-Neil
BA(Hons), Lic.Ac, MBAcC


9 years' clinical experience

Member of The British Acupuncture Council

International Speaker and Presenter

Former Chairman of The British Acupuncture Council

What happens during the initial acupuncture appointment?

Prior to your consultation, you will be asked to fill out our detailed medical questionnaires. You will be asked about:

• how long you have had the problem
• how it may have started
• what factors may be stopping it getting better
• what aggravates and relieves the symptoms
• the impact on your daily activities
• medical tests and investigations

You will also be asked about your:

• past history of similar problems
• past injuries
• other illnesses
• hospitalisations or operations
• any illnesses that have affected your blood relatives
• the impact of your lifestyle on your health, for example your diet and exercise

During your initial consultation, we will ask you more questions about any aspects of your medical history that require more detail.

The examination undertaken with depend on your presenting condition, for example we may assess your posture, muscles or joints.

We may also feel your pulse on both wrists to check quality, rhythm and strength.

The structure, colour and coating of your tongue may also be examined to assess your physical health. These are very valuable techniques used by acupuncturists to confirm a diagnosis.

Once all the relevant information has been obtained, our acupuncturist will formulate the diagnosis and the most appropriate acupuncture treatment. 

You may be asked to remove some of your outer clothing. To preserve your modesty, only the areas of the body being treated are exposed during the treatment and a sheet or a towel may be offered for your comfort, if required.

You will usually be asked to lie down on a treatment couch, but acupuncture can be administered with you sitting up if required.

Acupuncture needles will be inserted into the most appropriate acupuncture points. This may be away from the site of the problem. The needles will usually be left in place for an average of 10-15 minutes, although this may be shorter or longer, depending on the problem being treated. During this time most patients feel quite relaxed, some even fall asleep. At the end of the treatment, the needles will be painlessly removed. We will then safely dispose of them.

As part of your acupuncture management, you may be advised on lifestyle and healthcare improvement. For example, modifications to the levels of exercise, rest and relaxation and dietary alterations may be recommended. This lifestyle counselling will help you to recover faster and to prevent future health problems.

Acupuncture treatment may involve the use of supplementary techniques.

Acupuncture adjunctive techniques



Electro-acupuncture enhances the effects of manual acupuncture and is particularly effective in the treating pain. It has also been shown to improve blood flow to the ovaries and the uterus, which is useful in fertility and IVF patients. During electro-acupuncture small electrical pulses are passed through the needles into acupuncture points. Patients usually experience a slight pulsating sensation. It is not painful, in fact most patients really enjoy electro-acupuncture.

Acupuncture moxa treatment

Heat, moxibustion

For some conditions, acupuncture's effect can be enhanced by heating the points. For larger areas we use an infrared heat-lamp. Individual points are heated with moxa or moxibustion, a technique where the herb mugwort is burned near a point.

Acupuncture cupping treatment


Cupping is where the air is removed from a cup and it is then placed on the patient’s skin. This vacuum effect pulls on the skin, thus generating an effect similar to acupressure. Cupping is completely painless but can leave temporary circular marks where the cups were applied. Cupping is often used to shift congestion and can have a beneficial effect in respiratory conditions such as cough, flu or bronchitis. It can also improve muscular pain.

Acupressure treatment


Acupressure is where acupuncture points are stimulated by finger pressure or by a small pen-like probe. Acupressure is particularly suitable for people who would like to have acupuncture but are worried about needles. Acupressure can also be used on babies and children.

Auricular ear acupuncture

Auricular acupuncture

Auricular (ear) acupuncture is where acupuncture points on the ear are treated to help relieve symptoms. There are over 200 acupuncture points on the ear. These can be stimulated with small needles or magnetic or herbal seeds. These needles or seeds can be left in place for up to several days in order to stimulate acupuncture points for longer.

Media articles about our acupuncture work

Our Principal Acupuncturist Irina Szmelskyj's work has been covered by national and international press, and she has been featured on several occasions on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

We are fully accredited

Logo British Acupuncture Council

Registered with The British Acupuncture Council

General Osteopathic Council Registration Mark No 1290

Registered with The General Osteopathic Council

Professional Standards Authority registration logo

Accredited by The Professional Standards Authority

Member of The British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis Logo

Member of The British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis

True Health Clinics
34 Cambridge Road
PE29 2BT


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Patients travel to see us from a wide area, including Huntingdon, Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and London.

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Available 24/7.

© 2020 True Health Clinics - All Rights Reserved. 
True Health Clinics Unlimited registered in England and Wales. Reg No: 6848657. Reg. office: 34 Cambridge Road Godmanchester Huntingdon Cambridgeshire PE29 2BT