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CF's Summer Guide

Where To Go In London For Acupuncture

Did you know that there’s a beauty treatment that can soothe your migraines, improve the quality of your skin, and help with fertility, all in one fell swoop? That treatment is acupuncture and it is fast becoming one of the most sought-after appointments booked by beauty and wellness insiders in London.

Read on to discover what exactly the trending practice involves. Plus the very best acupuncturists to visit for an acupuncture treatment in the capital.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and involves the inserting of super-fine needles into specific sites on the body and face. Traditionally, it’s based on the belief that energy, known as ‘Qi’ or ‘life force’, flows through the body, and when it doesn’t flow freely, this can cause illness and bodily imbalances. Acupuncture is used to rectify these blockages, restoring you to full health.

You may also have heard of dry needling – that’s the name often given to acupuncture when it is used as a form of alternative medicine in Western medicine. That means that, alongside its traditional spiritual routes, acupuncture is actually often used in the NHS for pain relief, especially on the body and around joints (although some people do still want to see more scientific evidence).

How does acupuncture work?

According to the NHS, acupuncture or dry needling has been proven to stimulate sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles, resulting in the release of ‘happy’ and ‘pain-relieving’ endorphins, as well as other beneficial naturally-released substances. This, in turn, leads to health benefits.

In fact, over a course of sessions, acupuncture has been found to successfully treat chronic pain, tension headaches and migraines, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It’s also widely-reported to help with fertility, insomnia, gut health, anxiety and skin quality, which is why its celebrated as such a multi-tasking treatment.

What is cosmetic acupuncture?

Cosmetic  acupuncture is the term normally used to define facial treatments that use acupuncture needling (and which still require a trained acupuncturist’s skill), but which focus more on boosting skin quality. That is mainly achieved by placing the needles in a way that can trigger your body’s natural collagen production, leading to a plumper, smoother complexion overtime. It is also said to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and pigmentation (again over a series of appointments).

What is an acupuncture treatment like to experience?

Sessions tend to range in length, lasting from around 20 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the size and number of areas being treated. You’ll be asked to sit or lie down, with the treatment area dry and free of clothes or makeup. Then, your practitioner will insert the single-use needles – which tend to be very fine and long especially for facial treatments – into specific acupuncture points, with the amount and positions tailored to your specific concerns. The needles are left in for a time – again ranging from a  few minutes to half an hour depending on your goals – before you can get up and continue your day as normal.

Does acupuncture hurt?

The body needles can reach deep enough to hit muscle, and you might experience a slight sting and dull ache when they are placed, but it shouldn’t rate highly on your pain scale for face or body. However, its probably worth giving it a miss if you tend to be a bit of a needle-phobe, as the experience can make some people feel a bit faint.

Sound interesting? Discover our guide to the very best acupuncture clinics and acupuncturists in London to book in with today.

Best for fertility: Ross J Barr


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Celebrated (and award-winning) as a fertility specialist for both men and women, Ross J Barr is arguably the first name on beauty and wellness editors lips when it comes to health-boosting acupuncture. From his charming manner, deft touch and stylish treatment room at the Claridge’s Hotel no less, Ross has successfully helped many leading figures in the industry – so much so he was even invited to Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Specialising in Five Element Acupuncture, which focuses on holistically treating an individual’s physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, each treatment is completely bespoke, so it’s worth making him you’re first acupuncture call if you are looking to get pregnant, or are struggling with grief, hormonal imbalances, stress or fatigue.

Best for stressed faces: Sarah Bradden


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It’s no surprise that beauty insiders – A-list celebrities included – get so excited about securing an enviable slot with cosmetic acupuncturist Sarah Bradden, because she doesn’t just offer traditional acupuncture – she combines the technique with the very latest next-gen tech too. Known for her signature ‘Bradden Method’, a treatment with Sarah is likely to include not only needling, but LED therapy, acupressure massage, reiki, and oxygen therapy. That means she gets results that showcase on your skin (think brighter, smoother and refreshed) and that have a positive impact on your body and mind. In fact, you’ll leave her treatment room floating on a cloud, feeling less stressed and ready to face your busy schedule.

Best for skin glow and PMS: Ada Ooi


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What do Rooney Mara, Emma Mackey, Ariana Debose and many leading beauty experts all have in common? They trust their faces to Ada Ooi for that fresh, red carpet-ready glow and smooth Korean glass skin finish. To be found just off Harley Street, she practices auricular micro-system acupuncture, a bespoke pinpoint treatment that can help tackle key skin concerns such as acne, congestion, dullness and wrinkles, for a smoother, more evenly-toned complexion. However, she’s not finished there. In fact, she should also be your go-to if you struggle with PMS, or hormonal imbalances, especially during the perimenopause, as she has specific expertise in treating the womb area using traditional Chinese Medicine-based acupuncture techniques.

Best for neck and body pain: Renata Nunes MCSP

As both a qualified physiotherapist and acupuncture specialist, if you are hunched over your phone or laptop right now, with the neck pain and headaches to prove it, you need to go see Renata Nunes. Currently in residence at the 180 Health Club, which is testament to how highly recommended she is in the wellness realm, Renata has a rather unique ability to put a little luxury back into joint care, and you’ll emerge totally refreshed and revived as a result. Before even inserting the acupuncture needles, she’ll assess your health via a tongue and pulse inspection, and then once they are in she’ll maximise your results using neck and scalp mobilisation, plus cupping and manual massage if required too. Afterwards, it’s as if you’ve grown an inch or two, plus the instant boost in energy can’t be ignored.

Best for the ‘Botox alternative’: Dr John Tsagaris


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A few years ago, our beauty editor asked an ex-colleague what the secret was to her plump, smooth skin, and instead of skincare, filler or even Botox, said editor whispered the name of Dr John Tsagaris. The leading London-based acupuncturist has crafted his own ‘Acuskinlift Method’, which aims to contour and firm your skin using cosmetic acupuncture needles. These are inserted at specific points on your face to stimulate your body’s natural collagen production, which in turn helps smooth fine lines and plump the skin. If you’re not quite sure if you want to embrace Botox injections just yet, this is a great alternative as it also won’t limit your facial movement, for a guaranteed natural finish. Plus, it can be used on the neck too.

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