Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Practitioners: Nicola Renovich, Rob Long

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine are the two principle treatment modalities of Chinese Medicine which have a history of over 3000 years. Acupuncture uses fine single use disposable needles to stimulate points on energy channels in the body. This stimulation affects changes in the hormones and in the nervous system of the body. It is widely recognized for it’s effectiveness in pain relief including neck and back ache, and dental pain. It is however becoming more recognized to benefit a range of illnesses and symptoms, from migraines, sinus congestion, arthritis and digestive disorders, through to more general feelings of ill health such as nausea, lethargy or low energy. Due to it’s relaxing effect on the nervous system it is considered very beneficial for stress related conditions such as I.B.S, anxiety or depression. Some people without disease or symptoms choose acupuncture to enhance their feeling of well being and maintain a balanced state of health.

Acupuncture is often used in the treatment of a variety of conditions and in conjunction with western medicine. Increasingly women are choosing to have acupuncture for fertility, in conjunction with IVF treatment, and to support them throughout pregnancy, labour and after giving birth.

Acupuncture for Pain Relief

Persistent (chronic) pain is a widespread problem that affects around 8 million people of all ages in the UK. Typical chronic pain conditions include:

Can Acupuncture help?

Recent reviews have shown that it is more effective than no treatment or usual care for chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, or headache (Sherman 2009). There is also evidence that it is effective for chronic knee pain or headache and, for chronic back pain (Hopton 2010).

Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.

The condition affects more than 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting the lower back.
Most lower back pain is caused not by serious damage or disease, but by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve. It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, viral infection or a kidney infection.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as (if not better than) standard medical care for back pain (Witt 2006; Haake 2007; Cherkin 2009; Sherman 2009a). It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs (Sherman 2009a, 2009b; Lewis 2010). It may help back pain in pregnancy (Ee 2008) and work-related back pain, with fewer work-days lost (Weidenhammer 2007; Sawazaki 2008).

Acupuncture can help by:


Sometimes it may be appropriate in a treatment to include the use of Moxa or Cupping.

Moxa has been traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to complement acupuncture with the use of burning a herb from the Artemisia family either above the skin, or on the end of the needle, to put heat into the muscles and fascia of the body. This can be very relaxing and help tense muscles to relax thereby aiding the circulation of blood in the area. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process.

Cupping uses glass cups which create suction over an area of the skin to increase the blood circulation in the area.This can be used to clear phlegm congestion in the chest and to aid with sore aching muscles.


Involved in the teaching of human physiology for a number of years, I had a general interest in acupuncture, the fact that it did seem to be effective in certain situations and it's possible mechanism of action.

It was a year or two after formal retirement, that I began to get what were clearly arthritic pains in the joints of some of my fingers. These became sufficiently painful sometimes that I felt the need for some therapeutic action. Reluctant to use conventional anti-inflammatory durgs at this stage, I sought help through acupuncture on the basis that, if it can work (even if not for everyone), I would give it a try.

It has, in fact, been remarkably efective in easing the pain so that, althorugh it flares up a bit in cold/damp wiather, the level remains almost continuously low and largely almost insignificant. Subsequent problems with a knee joint have also been considerably eased by the same therapy.

I do recommend acupuncture to friends & associates as a possible way of easing joint problems (whilst making it clear that it does not always work for everyone).

Tony. Retired Teacher

I found the treatments which I had from you over many years were immensely beneficial in reducing the pain I was experiencing from the arthritis in my joints. This undoubtably helped to delay the time when surgical intervention for both my knee and ankle become imperative. This has greatly increased the chance of these prosthetics lasting me for the rest of my active life! So many thanks.


Having acupuncture has been such a positive thing for me and I would definitely have more in the future. Thank you!


I began treatment with many long-standing major problems and multitudinous minor ones. Felt completely disconnected and despairing of ever sorting it all. 4 months on, and it's still a work in progress, but feeling 'whole' for the first time in 20 years. Symptoms have consolidated down to only 3 or 4 discrete issues, and I'm now strong enough to be worked on at a deeper level to begin clearing what remains. I thoroughly recommend Acupuncture as a therapy, and Nicola as a Practitioner. She's cool, calm, knowledgeable - and listens. Very professional and well worth the 40 miles I have to travel to see her.

Jay. 55 yr old Administrator for Author

I expected to experience an improvement (I hoped relatively quickly) and fortunately this was correct. (I experienced) increased movement and pain reduction in my shoulder/arm (especially after my first treatment). Also painful wrist has been helped. (I'm) pleased with the improvement and it is also a relaxing experience. I would recommend the treatment to anyone with muscular pain like myself

Pauline (age 66) Treatment for very painful shoulder/arm with ex

I have been having acupuncture with Nicola for several months and find the treatments very beneficial on all levels...

Nicola has a warm and caring manner...I very much enjoy having acupuncture with Nicola and really look forward to the sessions each month.

Becky, Intervention Worker

It has been a great help with my localised pain - in my knees and back. With the back up of the Chinese Herbs, it has also helped my phlegm a lot.

Lola, Ashburton

Acupuncture sessions with you Nicola, brought back to me a great sense of well-being following a sad and difficult period in my life just previous to my move to the West Country. This did so much to enable my smooth integration in the life down here. Thank you so much Nicola.

Joyce, Retired.

Writing on behalf of my Father who travelled up yesterday from Cornwall to see Rob Long for Acupuncture.  He has been suffering a lot of pain due to Rheumatoid Arthritis style symptoms.  After the initial consultation and treatment he felt much better and could feel his feet again.  Rob is extremely talented, professional and knowledgeable and I am extremely grateful for his help.  He will definitely be back for a course of treatment. Thank you Rob.