What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine, sterile, disposable needles into specific acupuncture points on the body. It is used to regulate the function of the human body, for example to increase blood flow, modulate the nervous system and to enhance the immune system. Evidence currently available supports acupuncture as a potentially effective therapy to manage a range of symptoms.

What are acupuncture points?

Modern science shows that the location the 320 most commonly used acupuncture points are associated with a high concentration of nerve fibres and blood vessels.

They are unique neuro-anatomical targets which we can use to stimulate the body to help it to self-regulate via the brain and nervous system to accelerate healing.

How does it work?

Acupuncture achieves its many effects through complex physiological mechanisms in differing ways throughout the various aspects of the body.

In a nutshell, needling an ‘acupoint’ triggers not only an effect in that local area, but depending on the point chosen, can affect both the muscles and organs via specific spinal segments.

It can trigger the release of our own natural pain killers which is why it is so well known for relieving pain. Acupuncture works to regulate the autonomic nervous system, the motor pathways of the nervous system and the immune and endocrine systems and in so doing it can reduce inflammation, increase cellular metabolism and speed tissue healing.

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

Yes. Our practitioners are trained in various styles which we adapt depending on what is best suited to our patients. Our acupuncturists are skilled in Japanese superficial, Chinese Traditional, Western Neurofunctional and Orthopedic acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, motor point therapy and auricular (ear) acupuncture.

We always do a full diagnosis and discuss which type of treatment, or combination of treatments is right for you.

Acupuncture is not the same as dry needling which is practiced by some physiotherapists and chiropractors as an adjunct to their practice and usually only treats the local muscle trigger points. Dry needling does not use the comprehensive diagnostic parameters which we use and it is not an holistic treatment.

Acupuncturists at ben&biao use precision needling to specific depths, pre-determined to elicit direct neurological and physiological responses.

Our practitioners are highly trained, members of AHPRA and use the most currently researched protocols and methods and applications when treating patients.

For more information about our acupuncturists click here.

Will it hurt? Are there side-effects?

Acupuncture should not be painful, however very mild sensations may be felt in the form of a dull ache, a ‘spreading’ sensation or slight electric feeling. The type of feeling depends on the type of nerve or muscle fibre being stimulated and tells us that your nervous system is responding to the needles in the right way.
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine, so insertion should not produce the sharp or stinging pain that an injection or blood test does. Those needles are much larger and hollow to draw up blood, our purpose is very different, our needles are very much smaller.

It is unlikely that you will experience side effects. Occasionally people note a slight bleed, bruising and/or some light-headedness following acupuncture. Our acupuncturists are university-trained with a minimum of four years clinical practice and are all AHPRA regulated to minimise any side-effects and perform your treatment safely.

What if I hate needles?

No need to worry, we have alternatives for those of you who really don’t want to be needled. Scroll down to the ‘Alternatives to acupuncture’ list.

How many treatments will it take?

Every patient is different, so a Treatment Plan will be determined and discussed with you as part of your initial consultation.

Factors which come into play include age, general health, the severity of the condition and how long the patient has had the condition, what the patient goals are, eg achieving pregnancy, relieving pain.

Sometimes there is full resolution after just one treatment, but this is unusual. In our experience, the first treatment produces a noticeable impact that typically dissipates after a day or two. This is partly because the biochemicals released by acupuncture have their effect but are metabolised and gone out of the system in around 3-5 days.

Reversion is also affected by the possible continued presence of degenerative change, inflammation (often systemic), pathogens (eg chronic viruses), long-term stress and overwork, unhealthy eating habits, poor nutrition.

Studies and clinical experience show that a course of treatments, correctly spaced works better to prolong the treatment effect, stabilise the condition and for the body to self-regulate to provide longer-term symptomatic relief.

Our Treatment Plan sets out our agreed goals and how we plan to get you there. We will also provide you with a cost outline and available options.

Types of acupuncture

Manual acupuncture

This is the most traditional of the systems. We use both the Chinese and Japanese style which is gentle and painless insertion. Used for many conditions especially psychological, during pregnancy, or for elderly and/or immune compromised individuals.

Electro-acupuncture (EA)

This is acupuncture with the addition of electrodes clipped to the needles in order to apply very small electric current to the needles. EA is often used to relieve pain, congestion, constipation, inflammation, neurological disorders and to help induce labour.

We use only the most modern electro acupuncture machines which have been manufactured to provide safe and accurate micro-stimulation and which switch off when the desired ‘dosage’ has been achieved. Our machines and protocols are designed to achieve reliable clinical outcomes.

Our patients often report that they feel a slight buzzing or tapping or a warm sensation with electro. Many patients find it relaxing and fall asleep.

Auricular (ear) acupuncture – with or without needles

This system was originally invented by the Chinese but perfected by Europeans in the 1950s. It uses the stimulation of specific points or areas on the ear to initiate a neuro-physiologial reaction such as:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Vasodilation
  • Mediation of pain signalling
  • Regulation of histamine response
  • Lowering inflammatory factors

Using modern scanning techniques such as functional MRI tests, studies have shown that there are point-for-point correlations between the ear and body regions – and not just the musculoskeletal parts of the body, but via the central nervous system it can influence hormonal and visceral triggers too.

We can stimulate ear points in a number of ways, eg E-stim, micro needles or EA depending on the treatment goal and patient comfort.

We can prolong the treatment effect by placing ‘take-away’ ear seeds or sometimes micro-needles onto certain points which can stay in the ear for several days.

In this way we can prolong treatment after the patient has walked out of the door and thereby enhance the treatment effect.

Motor Point acupuncture for muscular systems

Also known as Sports Acupuncture or Orthopedic Acupuncture, at ben&biao we use this style of acupuncture for muscular-skeletal pain or restricted movement arising from tight, weak, torn or traumatised muscles, joints or fascia in your body.

Motor point acupuncture is now commonly used by professional athletes to keep them in the game – many of the big NBL teams use motor point acupuncture – as well as by the general population who suffer from chronic or acute muscle pain.

In comparison to the dry needling sometimes employed by physical therapists, motor point acupuncture, or E-Stim, is far more sophisticated because we add in electricity to directly stimulate specific muscles and elicit a neurofunctional response to ease pain and dysfunction more quickly.

This electricity shows the brain the contracted and relaxed end points of the muscle, stimulating the connection between the muscles and the brain to help reduce muscle inhibition, restore proper function, and reduce inflammation.

And because we are not just hiding the pain, but addressing the underlying causes, the results can be longer lasting.

Scalp acupuncture for neurological and vision disorders

Scalp acupuncture is a safe, painless and effective acupuncture technique that uses very fine needles on specific areas of the surface of your scalp to access your central nervous and endocrine systems.

As one of the few clinics in Australia offering scalp acupuncture, we have clients who travel from all over Australia and overseas for help with many kinds of conditions, including:

  • stroke and paralysis
  • neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • nerve pain and sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • headaches and migraines
  • facial pain and more

We also specialise in using scalp acupuncture for a variety of vision disorders, such as macular degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Micro systems acupuncture & press tack acupuncture for complex health issues

Micro systems acupuncture is used for complex health issues where it is too painful to use acupuncture needles in the local area, if there are cultural issues that prevent us from touching certain parts of the body or if it is not safe, e.g. for pain in the hip area of pregnant women when we don’t want to acupuncture near the womb.

There are many different micro systems that we might use for this kind of acupuncture, including the scalp, the abdomen or the ear.

Micro systems acupuncture can also be used to prolong the effect of your acupuncture after you leave our clinic. At ben&biao we sometimes leave “take away” acupuncture needles in your ear or we attach tiny surgical grade, “press tack” acupuncture needles to your skin with waterproof and breathable hypoallergenic tape. Although these press tack acupuncture needles do not puncture your skin, they do provide continuous and ongoing stimulation at the acupuncture points they are taped to.

Micro systems acupuncture is used to target stress, reduce anxiety and help to relieve pain without any of the side effects of the drugs you would use for these health conditions.

It can be used in painful conditions such as endometriosis to target the uterus and is also used as a way to boost the efficacy of other health treatments.

Alternatives to acupuncture

Cold laser

We find this especially useful when treating children. No needles necessary. Our purpose-manufactured cold lasers do the work of needles on the young, elderly or weak. Children love the red or blue lasers and report a cool sensation over the skin.


These small machines are either used in conjunction with needles or the cold laser to enhance the treatments. They are also painless. Patients may detect a small buzzing sound.

What else can I expect at my treatment?

In addition, during treatment it may be recommended that you receive Moxibustion, Gua sha, Tuina or Cupping. These additional modalities will not attract any further costs.


  • McDonald, J. Janz, J. 2017, The Acupuncture Evidence Project, AACMA,
  • Acupuncture – a Biomedical Information Therapy, Medical Acupuncture v28, n6, 2016
  • Mediators of Inflammation. 2003;12(2):59-69. doi:10.1080/0962935031000114943, Zijlstra FJ, van den Berg-de Lange I, Huygen FJPM, Klein J. Anti-inflammatory actions of acupuncture.
  • Fifteen-day Acupuncture Treatment Relieves Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
    Tong, Yanqing et al. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies , Volume 3 , Issue 2 , 95 – 103
  • The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: a meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain, MacPherson, H.a,*; Vertosick, E.A.b; Foster, N.E.c; Lewith, G.d; Linde, K.e; Sherman, K.J.f; Witt, C.M.g,h,i; Vickers, A.J.b, PAIN: May 2017 – Volume 158 – Issue 5 – p 784–793

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What is our approach

Our approach to natural therapy and medicine is simple. We use:

Evidence Based Protocols

We are guided by research and proven protocols that get results. We belong to global learning networks and keep up-to-date with the latest findings in our fields.

Summaries of our findings and recommendation

We provide you with a clear Treatment Plan setting out our agreed treatment aims and how we plan to get you there.

Experienced practitioners

We are highly qualified, with experienced practitioners with many years of experience. Most importantly we practice medicine because we love it

Proven modalities

  • Acupuncture
  • Physiotherapy
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Nursing
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Neutraceuticals
  • Ultra sound

High quality products

We source Organic and AAA rated natural herbs for our teas, broths and medicines. Our practitioner supplements are tested to ensure you are getting the exact ingredients and dosages we prescribe for you.