Acupuncture is a system of medicine that has been practiced in China and other far Eastern countries for thousands of years. It forms a part of Chinese medicine that has been used to treat many different health problems.

The Chinese see living in harmony with the Universe as very important. Being in balance at all times. Balancing times of quiet with times of excitement, relaxation with exercise, etc. Balancing yin and yang (shady side of the hill and sunny side of the hill) leads to health, an imbalance leads to disease.

'Qi' is the life force or vital energy. For health to be maintained there must be a balance of qi, neither too much nor too little. Different types of qi relate to different parts of the body. The qi that is involved with a person's life has 3 sources. The first is yuan qi (original qi) which is transmitted by our parents at conception. This qi is partly responsible for an individual's inherited constitution. The second source is gu qi (grain qi) which is derived from the digestion of food. The third is kong qi (natural air qi) which is extracted by the lungs from the air we breathe.

When we are healthy, all forms of qi interact harmoniously. In illness, specific types of qi may be deficient or in excess. This will lead to physical, emotional, or psychological symptoms. Qi flows in the Jing-Luo, the network of channels that integrate the whole energetic functioning of the body. Acupuncture works by regulating qi via needles inserted into points along these channels.

With regards to anatomy, Chinese medicine is more concerned with an organs function and spheres of influence than its physical structure. It is the integrating of all the organs that is important. If one is not working properly, an acupuncturist will explore how this relates to the other organs.

The attention of the Chinese physician is on the patient as an individual and to try to find the pattern of disharmony. Whilst two patients may present with the same symptoms, they may receive very different diagnosis.

Causes of disease may be External (those that affect the body) or Internal (those that affect the mind or spirit).

  • External causes include wind, heat, cold, damp, dryness, diet and excess sexual activity.

  • Internal causes relate to the effect on a persons health of extremes of particular emotions; anger, joy, worry, grief, fear or fright.

The first appointment will take up to an hour and a half and during this time your presenting condition, medical history, diet and lifestyle will be discussed. Feeling your pulses and having your tongue inspected are further diagnostic methods you can expect.

After the consultation, a diagnosis will be made and several acupuncture points selected. Patients receiving acupuncture for the first time are often concerned it will be painful. Usually, the feeling is that of an ache when the needle comes into contact with the qi. The needles will be left in for around twenty minutes. Follow on appointments last up to one hour and will be discussed with you.

Mark Hire
My interest in acupuncture came about through my training in Wing Chun kung fu, a Chinese martial art I started practicing in 1990 and have taught since 1996. I had always been very active, partaking in many different sports. However, it was only when I discovered Wing Chun, which integrated mind, body and soul that I felt fulfilled. This brought about a sense of calm and balance within me, that I had not experienced before. Healing and fighting have always had a close relationship. Traditionally, martial arts masters would know how to heal as well as how to fight. Central to both is the balance and flow of qi. When facing an opponent or treating a patient, you are observing, listening and feeling for their qi, looking for the imbalance.

I trained at the University of Westminster for three years gaining a BSc (Hons) degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture and am a member of the British Acupuncture Council.

Case Examples
Patients come to the clinic presenting with a variety of different conditions. A female patient in her early thirties, had experienced hay fever since childhood. Symptoms included sneezing attacks, runny nose, itchy, running and puffy eyes, itchy roof of mouth and throat. She was three months pregnant and did not want to take any medication. Her diagnosis was Lung and Kidney defensive qi deficiency and wind in the nose. After 6 weekly sessions and two monthly sessions she was fine. She came back to me this year at the beginning of the summer for a top up treatment.

If you would like any advice on how to get yourself back to work, or would like to book an appointment with any of our practitioners, then please contact the Clinic on 01273 835116 or

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