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Acupuncture Guide

What is on this page:

How Does Acupuncture Work

Yin & Yan

The Five Elements

The Meridians

Acupuncture Points Charts

The Consultation

The Treatment

The Acupuncture Facial

Learn Acupuncture at College

Acupuncture Clinics Manchester


Other Gelisy Chinese Medicine Pages:

Therapy Charts

Acupuncture Guide


How Does Acupuncture Work ? Back to Top

Acupuncture is an ancient method of healing that uses needles inserted at special acupuncture points along lines in the body called meridians. Meridians balance the flow of energy in the body enabling it to heal itself, it originated in China thousands of years ago, there is also a Japanese system of acupuncture. 


There has been a great deal of research into the subject but so far not one simple answer. One theory called "the gate of pain" suggests there are specific nerve fibers that transmit and others that inhibit pain to the spinal cord, if these fibers are overloaded with to many impulses they shut down (shutting the gate) when the needles are inserted into certain places they shut the right gate and inhibit pain. 

There are several other theories non of them conclusive, so acupuncture remains shrouded in magic and mystery for a bit longer and people will continue to benefit without knowing exactly how. If you have an acupuncture experience please share it with us on the message board, or send us an e-mail.


Acupuncture requires extensive training, visit a qualified practitioner do not attempt to treat yourself or others using acupuncture without the appropriate training.

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Yin & Yan Back to Top

Yin YangYin and Yang are opposite forces, and when in balance work together any upset in the balance causes chaos. Yin is negative, female-passive, dark, moist, cold. Yang is positive, male- light, warm, dry, active. Nothing it completely yin or yang even humans are a bit of both a part of yin the mother and yang the father. Too much yang causes over activity and heat not enough yang causes tiredness, chilliness, poor circulation. Too much yin causes coldness, dampness, not enough yin causes excitability, insomnia.


One of the main aims of the acupuncturist is to maintain a balance of yin and yang within the whole person to prevent illness occurring and to restore existing health. Acupuncture is a yang therapy because it moves from the exterior to the interior. Herbal and nutritional therapies, on the other hand, are yin therapies, as they move from the interior throughout the body. Many of the major organs of the body are classified as yin-yang pairs that exchange healthy and unhealthy influences


The Five Elements Back to Top

The yin and yang philosophy was further refined into the system of the five elements to gain a deeper understanding of how the body, mind and spirit work and acupuncture.

The microcosm of the body is linked to the universe and is affected by the daily and seasonal cycles of nature. (Think about the seasonal affective disorder which manifests itself in winter or when the light is not sufficient). The individual and the world are changing all the time. But Chinese believe that these changes are occurring in certain order and in cycles. (We can think about these like our economic cycles or agricultural cycles. A period of growth is always followed by a period of stagnation or unemployment. In the stock market, a bull market is always followed by a bear market etc.) In the same way, a seed planted in spring blooms in summer, seeds itself in late summer to autumn, dies in winter, and a new seed grows again in spring. It is part of a never-ending cycle and each phase has its role to play in maintaining the balance of nature. The same process of change occurs within the body. Cells grow and die to make way for new cells, and body systems depend upon each other in a similar way to the seasons, working together to ensure the balanced functioning of the body, mind and spirit and the healthy flow of life through the whole person




Yin-Yang Phase

Yin Organ

Yang Organ

Energy Pattern







Full yin


Urinary bladder








New yang










Full yang


Small Intestine

Culmination, completion





Late Summer


yin-yang balance










New yin


Large Intestine

Contraction and accumulation


Grief sadness




Chinese philosophy recognizes five distinct elements of cyclical change called water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. These five elements can be related to our four seasons (with a fifth late summer season) as shown in the table below. The elements can also be related to different colors, emotion, taste, voice and various organs. These can also be related to the selection of food and herbs. Notice the correspondence between the Chinese philosophy and the underlying Indian philosophy, which also classifies everything in the universe under earth, water, fire, air, and ether.

Each person's physical and mental constitution can be described as a balance of the elements in which one or more may naturally dominate. The proportion of the elements in a person determines his or her temperament. Oriental medicine considers the ideal condition as one in which all the five elements are in balance or in harmony. Wood is said to be the mother of fire and the son of water. (Water allows wood to grow, wood provides fuel for the fire). Using these relationships one can describe all possible yin-yang imbalances within the body. The thrust of five element diagnosis is to isolate and treat the imbalanced element, because an imbalanced element is like a weak link in your energetic chain that can undermine the strength of your mind, body and spirit






Growing, flourishing, rooted yet pushing upward

Striving, controlling, flexible strength, self-assured


Productive, fertile

Solid, stable, reliable, tenacious, grounded


Hard, structured, symmetric

Organized, substantial, strong, durable


Dry, hot, ascending

Dynamic, sparkling, enthusiastic


Wet, cool, descending

Flowing, adaptable, pliant


The Meridians Back to Top

The meridians are channels which the Qi flows through the body, there are 12 well known meridians, all 12 meridians are bilateral making 24 in total. Each meridian is associated with an organ or function. When you press on a point on a meridian you are stimulating the nerves, tissue and flow of  Qi through the meridians. Dotted along these meridians are more than 400 acupuncture points. The acupuncture points have been proven to have a lower electrical resistance , many of these points are trigger points which cause the muscle to contract or relax. 


When Chi flows freely through the meridians, the body is balanced and healthy, but if the energy becomes blocked, stagnated or weakened, it can result in physical, mental or emotional ill health. An imbalance in a person's body can result from inappropriate emotional responses such as: excess anger, over-excitement, self-pity, deep grief and fear. Environmental factors such as cold, damp/humidity, wind, dryness, and heat can also cause imbalance so as factors such as wrong diet, too much sex, overwork and too much exercise.

To restore the balance, the acupuncturist stimulates the acupuncture points that will counteract that imbalance. So, if you have stagnant Chi, he will choose specific points to stimulate it. If the Chi is too cold, he will choose points to warm it. If it is too weak, he will strengthen it. If it is blocked, he will unblock it, and so on. In this way, acupuncture can effectively rebalance the energy system and restore health or prevent the development of disease. The points that the practitioner chooses to stimulate may not necessarily be at the site of the symptoms.


What is QI                                                                                                                         

Pronounced chi it is the invisible vital energy that runs through our bodies along the meridian channels, there are 5 main forms of Qi  below.

QI Matter,energy: vital energy of all living things, movement and change in the universe

XUE Blood : our blood, vitalizes the Qi and aids the flow.

JING Essence: the energy we inherit and obtain from air and food

SHEN Spirit: our emotions that are stored in our heart  

JIN-YE Body fluids: our body fluids, tears ,sweat, saliva, milk, mucus, ect 


Acupuncture Points Charts Back to Top


Click thumbnails below to enlarge



  Back           Front


The Consultation Back to Top

When a acupuncture therapist examines you they use a though system called the four examinations: looking, inquiring, listening, smelling, touching, included in that are the following stages:

  • Asking questions: in doing so they evaluate your mental and physical state, your emotional behaviour, voice and appearance.

  • The tongue: the shape, colour, fur or spots on the tongue can tell the practitioner a lot about your state of health.

  • Body language: the practitioner looks at the way you walk, how loudly you talk and if you slouch or sit straight. 

  • Facial colours: are associated with different organs and you may have a combination of several red~ heart, green~ liver, yellow~ spleen, white~ lungs black~ kidneys.

  • The voice: the sound and level of the voice and the way you breath or cough are also indications of problems.

  • Smell: there are  certain odors we give off through sweat and body fluids which indicate certain problems

  • The pulse: practitioners spend time reading your pulse and use a complicated system of evaluation to determine the value of your pulse

  • Touch: pressure on acupuncture points to evaluate pain, pain that feels better when pressed is due to deficiency, pain that feels worse when pressed is due to excess.  

Acupuncture Treatment


The Acupuncture Treatment Back to Top

Acupuncturist use 6-9 different needles, there are several methods of insertion at different angles, you will feel a sensation when a needle is inserted called dequi which is not considered painful. After the needle is inserted the following techniques may be used on the needle:  raising and thrusting, twirling, plucking, scraping or trembling (vibration). 


There are also several other applications, electro-acupuncture which uses very small electrical impulses through the needles this method is used for pain relief and in China actually used during surgery, there are small battery operated electro-acupuncture devices without the use of needles available. Lasers, heat and sonopuncture (sound waves) are also used. Auriculotherapy acupuncture points. Vacuum suction using a small glass or wooden cups over points is another method and is a good way of reducing  fluid in an area and improving blood circulation.

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The Acupuncture Facial Back to Top

Have you read the treatment menu at your spa lately? you may have noticed a new and intriguing addition- Cosmetic acupuncture – also known as acupuncture facial rejuvenation or acupuncture facelift - is finding its way into an increasing number of full-service spas, and for good reason. This new modality can enhance not only your physical appearance but also your overall health, giving you a glow that radiates from deep within. While cosmetic acupuncture as a spa feature is a somewhat new phenomenon, there are nevertheless centuries-old records of it being used in the service of beauty. What’s more, acupuncture’s ability to improve a variety of skin conditions has now been documented in legitimate clinical studies. Its effectiveness is no longer a question of hearsay or testimonials. Before signing up for a course of facial acupuncture treatments, however, there are a few things you should consider.

Is it really a facelift? The answer is an unequivocal no. Nor is it intended to replace a facelift. Cosmetic acupuncture entails no incisions, sutures or acid peels and it will not produce sudden, drastic changes in underlying structures. In fact, the American Cosmetic Acupuncture Association discourages the use of the term, “facelift” in connection with acupuncture, as this creates unrealistic expectations and, ultimately, disappointment. Remember, it took decades of stress, sun damage and exposure to environmental toxins for your skin to reach a state of crisis, and the damage will not be instantly undone. The remedy cosmetic acupuncture may offer is the reduction or erasure of fine lines and the softening of deeper ones. Additionally, patients may experience the firming of jowls and a reduction in the size of under-eye bags. It is not unusual for clients to report enhanced skin tone, increased energy and eyes that sparkle.

But it doesn’t stop there. Since facial acupuncture is based on time-tested principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a person’s overall health may also benefit. Insomnia may be corrected and weight gain may be controlled. Cosmetic acupuncture is, after all, a whole-body treatment. In the Traditional Chinese Medicine view, a person’s face is affected selectively by his or her internal organs. Facial features reflect organic strengths, and as internal organs are fortified, one’s face reflects the improvement. Besides addressing a patient’s condition holistically, the practitioner will probably work locally, inserting painless, ultra-fine needles into--and around--specific wrinkles, acu-points or muscle points, depending on the technique employed. Techniques can be Spartan or luxuriant, and practitioners will often incorporate herbal poultices, moisturizers, pulsed light or essential oils into a treatment. An imperceptible electrical current may also be passed among the needles.

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Learn Acupuncture at College Back to Top

The British Acupuncture Council is the UK's main regulatory body for the practice of acupuncture by over 2500 professionally qualified acupuncturists. 

Further information about the work of the BAAB, can be obtained by contacting:
Tel. +44 (0) 20 8735 0466 Fax. +44 (0)20 8735 0477



NCA logoNorthern College of Acupuncture
(affiliated to the University of Wales)
61 Micklegate, York YO1 6LJ
Tel: +44 (0) 1904 343305
Fax: +44 (0) 1904 330370




CTA logoCollege of Traditional Acupuncture (UK)
(affiliated to Oxford Brookes University)
Haseley Manor, Hatton, Warwick
Warwickshire, CV35 7LU
Tel: +44 (0) 1926 484158 Fax: +44 (0) 1926 484444




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 Acupuncture Therapists In Manchester Back to Top


Acupuncture & Unitive Healing

07775 744410
Holistic Therapy Clinic, 601 Wilbraham Road, M21 9AN

Map & Directions


Dr & Herbs

0161 228 0288
Piccadilly Station, Manchester, M60 7RA
Map & Directions


Manchester Chiropractic Clinic

0161 881 8333
34 Manchester Road, Manchester, M21 9PH
Map & Directions


Shanghai Acupuncture Clinic

0161 236 1319
74 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4GU
Map & Directions


Shizhen Clinic

0161 342 0088
67 Ayres Road, Manchester, M16 9NH
Map & Directions


The Chinese Medical & Skin Centre

0161 905 3666
75 Cross Street, Sale, M33 7HF
Map & Directions


If you are qualified in Acupuncture List your clinic here free.

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