Exeter Acupuncture Clinic - Helen Stafford Acupuncturist

Helen is registered with SImplyhealth

     01392 221122

Helen Stafford  MSc, BA, LicAc, MBAcC

Exeter Acupuncture Clinic @

Cathedral Chiropractic and Acupuncture Clinic

6 Southernhay West,

​Exeter, EX1 1JG

Bookings: 01392 221122

Enquiries: 07814 304424


This short film made by the British Acupuncture Council, provides a good summary of how acupuncture works.

                      EXETER ACUPUNCTURE CLINIC ​  

Bookings: 01392 221122      Enquiries: 07814 304424

MSc. BA. LicAc. MBAcC

​Member of the Obstetrical Acupuncture Association

​​Helen Stafford Acupuncture


Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which date back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function, and considers pain and illness to be indications that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment is to restore the body's equilibrium.

According to Chinese philosophy, health is dependent upon the smooth, balanced movement of the body's

motivating energy through a number of channels or meridians coursing around the body. These meridians

are linked to specific organs or systems in the body. Illness occurs when the energy becomes imbalanced

or blocked due to injury, life-style, hereditary factors, and emotional factors, such as  stress, anxiety, grief

and anger. 

Chinese medicine is unique, in that it considers the effects of lifestyle, diet, emotions, work and environmental factors on the individual's health. It does not separate the emotional from the physical, as both impact upon each other to influence health.







Acupuncture works by stimulating the body's natural healing response. It can strengthen where there is 

weakness and clear where there is excess. For example, a skin condition such as eczema is indicative of

excess heat in the body. A condition such as irritable bowel syndrome may be the result of a weakness in the digestive system, which acupuncture would address. Where there is a blockage of energy, for example, at the site of an injury,  the needles stimulate movement and blood flow in the area. 



Traditional acupuncture is used by many people with varying health needs. Often people have been through the Western medical system and still find themselves in need of help. Many people come because acupuncture helps them to feel more relaxed and healthy. Some use acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their constitution. Acupuncture treatment is holistic in nature and therefore treats health problems at a deep level and does not separate physical and emotional health.


Yes. Acupuncture has a very sound track record and is a very safe form of treatment.  Traditional acupuncturists are taught to needle safely. The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and occasionally mild bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short lived. In 2001 the British Medical Journal published an extensive survey into the safety of acupuncture, which concluded that acupuncture is safe when delivered by a competent, well trained practitioner - read more. A 2021 systematic review concluded that acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medicine.


There is a growing body of research to support the efficacy of acupuncture. It is important to bear in mind that an absence of evidence showing the benefits of acupuncture for a particular health problem is not the same as there being evidence that it is ineffective for that condition.  It is difficult to access funding for medical trials and they are very expensive and therefore, there is little research evidence available for acupuncture in relation to many conditions. There are also problems with the application of Western research models to acupuncture research, as they were designed to test Western medical practice and pharmacology, rather than medical practice which is highly individualised and therefore, difficult to measure. Some research studies show that sham acupuncture has similar outcomes to real acupuncture. Sham acupuncture is often delivered by needling at non acupuncture points. The problem with this is that any needling will create a physiological response. To read more about acupuncture research issues go to: Understanding acupuncture clinical research: the evidence base and the problem of placebo acupuncture on the Acupuncture Research Resource Centre website. You can also read more about acupuncture research on the British Acupuncture Council website. 


To read more about the latest acupuncture research in allergic rhinitis, menopause, mental health, musculoskeletal issues, pain, pediatrics, oncology and safety, visit the Evidence Based Acupuncture website. 


Traditional acupuncture is an ancient practice which is still used all over the world. The age of this system of medicine gives it many advantages. Its theory has been tried, tested and refined over thousands of years to create a comprehensive mode of treatment. Traditional acupuncturists in the UK train to degree level over three years. 

You may have been treated with needles by a doctor, osteopath or physiotherapist. This form of needling is referred to as medical acupuncture or dry needling. It is very different from traditional acupuncture, in that training is usually over a few weekends, and practitioners learn basic needling techniques within the framework of western medical diagnosis which is focused on pain relief. Basic needling techniques are used within the framework of a western medical diagnosis to relieve symptoms such as pain and headache. This training does not use holistic Chinese medical theory.