What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

Apr 2023
Advice & Information
5 minutes
Abby Raddon

What is Acupuncture?

At ReBalance Injury Clinic, we offer musculoskeletal or medical acupuncture treatment as part of our injury rehabilitation service.

Patients often ask us how acupuncture works. There are different directions you could explore here: an Eastern and Western stand-point.

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that originated in China over 2,500 years ago. The Eastern ancient traditional Chinese acupuncture method involves inserting needles along specific meridian lines. The aim is to restore the flow of our ‘Qi’ life force energy (pronounced ‘chee’) to help promote health and overall balance. There is not a strong body of scientific research and evidence to support the existence of Qi.

Medical acupuncture is based on the principles of traditional acupuncture, but it incorporates a more scientific approach to the practice and is based more on the current understanding of human anatomy, physiology and pathology. It involves the insertion of needles into specific trigger points, or tight bands of muscle that cause pain or discomfort. By inserting needles into these trigger points, therapists aim to produce a clinical effect to alleviate musculoskeletal pain.

Medical acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, tension-type headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, acute pain, lower back pain, neck pain, post-operative pain and many others. We have a body of research articles below that support the use of acupuncture in many common musculoskeletal conditions.

The needles used in medical acupuncture are extremely thin, while some patients may experience a slight prick or pinch when the needle is inserted, most people report feeling very little discomfort. Once the needles are in place, they are typically left in for about 10-30 minutes, during which time patients may experience a sensation of warmth, heaviness, or tingling in the area where the needles have been inserted.


So how does medical acupuncture actually work?

While the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, there are several theories that have been proposed to explain its therapeutic effects. The exact mechanisms are still unknown and further research is needed, however, there is good evidence to suggest the beneficial impact that acupuncture has on musculoskeletal issues and pain.

There are many neurophysiological mechanisms which may explain why acupuncture may have an analgesic effect and reduce the pain we feel.

  • Firstly, the needles in the skin and muscle can activate nociceptors (sensory receptors that detect signals from damaged tissue or threat of damage), which can induce pain relief and relaxation of the trigger points.
  • Another response is that the needles stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced in response to stress or pain, and they can help to reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Another is that by inserting needles into specific trigger points, this stimulates improved blood flow and the production of collagen and other healing factors, which can help to promote tissue repair and regeneration.
  • Acupuncture needles can modulate the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates many of the body’s involuntary functions such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture may help to rebalance the autonomic nervous system and activate parts of our nervous system which can modulate pain and pain relief which can have a positive impact on many different aspects of health.

Despite the many theories that have been proposed to explain its therapeutic effects, there is still much that is not fully understood about how medical acupuncture works. However, there is a growing body of scientific research and clinical experience that highlight the benefits that it can be effective in reducing pain levels and treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is now also approved by the NICE clinical guidelines.

If you are interested in exploring medical acupuncture as a treatment option, be sure to consult with a licensed medical professional who is trained in this practice. They can help you determine if acupuncture is right for you and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

At ReBalance, all our therapists that offer this treatment are fully trained and licenced to practice Acupuncture.

Get in contact to find out more about how we can help you.

We have put together a range of studies that support the use of acupuncture as part of a multi-modal approach for patients suffering from common musculoskeletal symptoms including:

Our Bespoke Exercise App

Our bespoke exercise app helps you achieve your goals

At ReBalance Injury Clinic we pride ourselves in offering you the best support to achieve your goals.

Whilst working together, we give you access to a bespoke app called PhysiApp which allows you to view our tailored exercise program we have developed for you.

We know that it’s hard to consistently do your exercises between appointments. Whether it’s forgetting to complete exercises in between a busy schedule, you struggle to remember the key coaching points, you have lost your exercise sheet, you can’t do certain exercises due to a flare up of pain, you lose motivation, you easily forget your starting point and the achievements you’ve made, or the dog ate your exercise sheet!


We have a solution…

We believe PhysiApp will support you in achieving your goals more effectively:

  • View your prescribed exercise program by following crystal-clear, narrated exercise videos.
  • Built-in reminders help you to stay on track towards a better you!
  • Easily track your adherence, keeping you accountable and motivated.
  • Never forget the key focus points of your exercises.
  • It helps us to monitor your pain levels and adapt your program accordingly.
  • It enables feedback and communication with your therapist between appointments.
  • Keep track of your progression.
  • Easily access your exercises wherever you are – through the app, webpage or download a pdf.

PhysiApp is completely free to download from the App store and Google Play store or can be accessed via your web browser.


Watch the video below to learn how PhysiApp can help you achive your goals and how to ensure you have the best experience.


Learn how to update your exercises on the app following a review with your therapist

Learn how to download your exercises.

Use the instructions below to learn how to download your exercises into a single document that is easy to refer back to quickly.

Click here to jump to the webpage instructions.

Click here to jump to the app instructions.

How to update your exercises on the app following a review with your therapist

Follow the instructions below to learn how to update your exercises after a review with your therapist if you are using the app.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by emailing hello@rebalanceinjuryclinic.co.uk

Open PhysiApp and click on the preferences button at the bottom of the screen. Once in the preferences tab, click on the ‘My programme’ button.

You will then see a section that says ‘Last updated’, click on this line and your program will be updated to the new exercises.  

How to download your exercises into a single document if you are using PhysiApp through a webpage.

Watch the video below to learn how to download a document of your exercises, or follow the step by step instructions below.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by emailing hello@rebalanceinjuryclinic.co.uk

Click on the link in your email that says ‘Access your exercise program online at’ and you will arrive onto the exercises on PhysiApp webpage, you will need to enter your program code and your year of birth.
Click on the button named ‘Preferences’, at the bottom of the page.
You will arrive to a page that looks like this. Once on this page, click on the button ‘Show printable version’
It will open up the print program settings where you can create your printable PDF version of the exercises.

Select your preference of text size and whether you would like to print the tracking sheets or not.

Then click ‘create printable PDF’ and a new tab will open that shows your exercises.

To save the PDF document, click on the arrow icon at the top right side of the screen and it will ask where you would like to save your exercise document.

Save it in your preferred location and click save.

Once saved, open that folder and you should see your exercise document.

How to download your exercises into a single document if you are using the PhysiApp app through a phone or tablet.

Watch the video to learn how to download a document of your exercises, or follow the step by step instructions below.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by emailing hello@rebalanceinjuryclinic.co.uk

Download the PhysiApp app on your phone or tablet by clicking on the link in the exercise email.

You will need to enter your program code (which is on the email) and year of birth.

Click on the ‘Preferences’ button at the bottom of the page.

Once you are on the preferences page, click on ‘My Programme’

Then press the button in the top right corner which is a square with an upwards arrow.

Enter your email and your exercises should arrive to your email in a PDF format.

Our Story and Decision to Rebrand

Our Story and the Decision to Rebrand.

Sep 2022
Read in 5 minutes
Abby Raddon 

This blog captures the history of AR Sports Therapy and the transition into ReBalance Injury Clinic.

AR Sports Therapy was formed in 2015 by Abby Raddon. After finishing her master’s degree in Sports Therapy, Abby returned to Exeter, seeking her next steps in the industry but without any plans to start her own business.

An offer to work with Honiton Rugby Club was quickly followed by the availability of a treatment room at ‘The Barn’, an independent gym on the outskirts of Topsham, with a little deliberation and lots of learning in business start-up, AR Sports Therapy was born.

In the early days, Abby balanced lecturing at Exeter College with the business. For the next 3 years AR Sports Therapy continued to grow and Abby honed her therapy-based knowledge and skills.

In 2018 it was time for a refresh, to align the premises with the size of the business. The decision was made to move AR Sports Therapy to the current, and more professional location in Pinhoe, while also expanding the business to open the clinic in Honiton within B! Health and Fitness.

Pinhoe Clinic
Pinhoe Clinic

In early 2019, client numbers had developed significantly which had allowed Abby to leave her lecturing post and expand the AR Sports Therapy team. Chloe was the first to join, who Abby taught and mentored through her degree course and at Honiton Rugby Club, so Abby was confident that Chloe was going to make an excellent therapist.

As with many businesses the next challenge was Covid-19. The business had to adapt quickly and took the sports therapy process online to continue to be able to support those clients in need. Face to face appointments ebbed and flowed in line with government guidance with a robust testing protocol and PPE required, something we have only just moved away from.

Managing to get through the ups and downs of the pandemic and returning to relatively normal clinic routine was a success and relief, thanks to many loyal clients we work with today. Returning to normal, the AR Sports Therapy team grew further initially with Isla before she headed back to university, and Jake took her place and has impressed with his knowledge and experience.

 In early 2022, after a lot of thought and reflection it was decided that the AR Sports Therapy brand did not reflect the growing team and clinic environment that we operate today. Therefore, the decision to rebrand was made and ReBalance Injury Clinic was launched.

ReBalance Injury Clinic has the same fantastic ethos, focused on supporting clients in achieving their goals, getting to the root cause of their pain to ensure they remain symptom free.

We love the new brand, and hope you do to! Under ReBalance we have lots of exciting plans and aspirations to expand our services and offering to clients.

We look forward to welcoming and supporting you as ReBalance!