Press Releases & Articles

National fertility awareness week

Attempting to have a baby isn’t always as straight forward as it may seem and when things don’t go as planned it can become one of the most stressful issues for any couple. Research suggests that around one in six couples are likely to experience problems conceiving with over 3.5 million people affected. While infertility is often thought of as a female problem, only a third of cases can be linked solely to women.

Couples are often faced with a minefield of emotions and life changing decisions whilst trying to conceive, not to mention the financial burden of fertility tests and IVF. Stress plays a big factor and can be incredibly counterproductive to our body’s natural functions and cycles. Fertility issues affect both men and women and couples are increasingly turning to traditional acupuncture to help them conceive.

Traditional acupuncture is a tried and tested system of traditional Chinese medicine, which has been used in China and other eastern cultures for thousands of years to restore, promote and maintain good health. Its benefits are now widely acknowledged all over the world and in the past decade, traditional acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently alongside mainstream medicine in the UK.

Acupuncture has a long and successful history in reproductive medicine and as a supportive therapy alongside assisted conception techniques such as IVF. Traditional acupuncture treatment has been shown to influence the quality and quantity of sperm, improving motility and count. It can regulate the menstrual cycle and promote ovulation by controlling hormonal imbalances, thus helping to increase the chances of natural conception.

Acupuncture is also very good at helping with the emotional aspect of trying to conceive. With day to day life being stressful and busy enough acupuncture offers couples a safe, calm and quiet environment where they can talk through their concerns and worries about trying to conceive whilst receiving a truly relaxing treatment. Patients often report feeling a lot calmer and more energised after treatment.

Couples that have acupuncture treatment for a three to six month period may well find they can conceive naturally, negating the need for IVF treatment.  If couples do chose to have IVF however, acupuncture works alongside it very effectively and research has shown an increase in success rates for those who have had acupuncture throughout their treatment.

In my experience acupuncture has a lot to offer couples trying for a baby, whatever their diagnosis. Dealing with infertility can be extremely stressful and both parties can become tense and anxious and often struggle to keep positive during such a trying time. The pressure on relationships often has a very negative affect on their sex life which again makes conception very difficult. Acupuncture really does bring many benefits both physically and mentally and can be a wonderfully supportive treatment at such a trying time.

I am always happy to talk with any couples who are having difficulty trying to conceive and would like to consider acupuncture. I normally look to put a 3 month treatment plan in place as a starting point with regular reviews depending on what additional testing and conventional treatment is being recommended from consultants.

You can read more about my approach and my experience with the Zita West national fertility network at

Beating the autumn blues with an acupuncture tune up

By Ian Stones
BSc Hons, Lic Ac, MBAcC

Traditional Acupuncturist, Farnham & Hove

Autumn can be a big come down for many people with the onset of darker and colder nights, our mood can be affected, impacting our sleep patterns, our diet and our energy levels. For some people it can be worse with many people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and even depression. However there is help at hand and acupuncture can make a big difference.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture refers to a system of healing that originates from China and the Far East. It has been practised for thousands of years and is based on the philosophy that good health is determined by the smooth flow of our body's energy (Qi). For any number of reasons, including emotional stress and overwork the body can be knocked out of balance, interrupting the flow of Qi which can lead to illness. 

Your initial session with an acupuncturist will look at all aspects of your health including your sleep, digestion, bowels and more. This enables a practitioner to make sure the treatment is fully tailored to your needs. Acupuncturists treat the mind and body as one, rather than as separate entities, so as well as identifying imbalances in the body, they will also provide dietary and lifestyle advice specific to you.

Traditional acupuncture is ideal for kick starting the body and can help you to shrug off a cold that won't shift, increase energy levels and improve sleep quality as well as boost general wellbeing. It’s the ideal pick me up if you’re feeling a little under the weather during the winter months.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to address energy imbalances and areas of tension and pain to return the body to a state of balance and health. Acupuncture needles act like switches in the body's circuits, freeing up stagnant energy to get it flowing again. 

In Chinese medicine autumn is a time where the activity and excitement of summer (ultimate Yang) begins to fade and the cooler calmer side of winter begins to grow (Yin).

Chinese medicine is based on the principle of balance between Yin and Yang and this comes from observing nature. The cycles of nature are reflected in our own energy and this is what we should being working to as we shift from summer to winter. The seasons are the clearest examples of Yin and Yang at work with summer being the peak of Yang and winter the peak of Yin. Yang is about heat and activity whilst Yin is calm and cool. 

Autumn and winter are seen as times of rest and reflection. It is a time where we should be taking it easy and storing our energy up for the colder months to come. Life however tends to carry on at its frenetic pace with few of us actually doing what nature is trying to help us to do! With the darker nights and shorter days we should be staying home and resting to preserve our Yin energy. We should be taking the opportunity to get some early nights, eat well and just generally try and take life at a slightly slower pace!

Diet and exercise are an incredibly important part of Chinese medicine too and we should adjust this accordingly. Many of my patients continue to eat foods such as salad and fruit throughout winter which although are healthy to some extent may not be the right foods for everyone. In Chinese medicine we see that food plays a really important role and it can have a strong energetic affect on us. If you’re a person who really struggles with the cold during the winter then cold raw foods such as salads are not for you, no matter how healthy you think they are. During the winter we should be more focussed on foods such as stews, soups and casseroles which are warming and nourishing in nature.

Exercise should also be gentle in winter with a focus on exercises such as Tai Chi and Qi gong rather than pounding down the street on the must do run we feel we should do even though it’s cold, dark and wet outside.

Acupuncture is suitable for everyone young or old and is safe and effective. It can be used alongside conventional medical treatment and is a great form of treatment to help maintain good health.

Back care awareness week – Acupuncture can support your back

Back care awareness week is an annual campaign to put the spot light on the prevention of back and neck pain.

This year’s focus is on office workers who are prone to bad posture, neck and back problems. According to an NHS study in 2010 / 11 around 7.6 million days were lost due to work-related back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders.
The most common causes of back pain are strained muscles or ligaments, wear and tear, bad posture and stress.

A new study by the British Acupuncture Council carried out in 2014 for Acupuncture awareness week shows Britain is risking a back pain epidemic caused by unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyles. The findings show that almost 80 per cent of people suffer with back pain yet admit to behaviours that put their backs under unnecessary strain.

The study of 5,000 adults found that almost half of the nation admit to eating on their lap, 40 per cent complain they sit at a desk all day and over a third admit to watching TV or films in bed. When asked about their posture, almost a third also admitted they slouch most of the time.

Further results reveal that when it comes to dealing with back pain, 74 per cent say they repeatedly use painkillers to deal with their discomfort rather than addressing the root cause of the problem.

Ian Stones, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council, comments: “Painkillers often numb the end symptom and mask the problem but do not address many of the combined underlying causes of back pain. By stimulating different points of the body, traditional acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for back pain, providing long term pain relief and reducing inflammation.”
With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years, acupuncture involves placing extremely fine, sterile needles painlessly at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response.

Despite acupuncture's widely recognised health benefits, many of us are missing the point when it comes to this ancient Chinese medicine. Statistics show that 41 per cent of people would only consider acupuncture as a last resort and 88 per cent didn't know the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the therapy for persistent, non-specific lower back pain.

Ian continues: "I find that many patients opt for the painkiller route with limited success before turning to acupuncture. Simple lifestyle changes alongside acupuncture could save millions of people taking medication every day. It's important to recognise the impact our behaviour has on our bodies and to make sure we are fully informed about all treatment options to promote long term health and wellbeing. Acupuncture really can be a very effective first line of attack against back pain and works fantastically well at keeping stress and tension at bay"

You can read more about the Back care awareness week at

About Ian Stones

Ian is a traditional Acupuncturist based at Hove Osteopathic clinic. He has extensive experience treating a wide variety of conditions since starting his practice in 2007. You can read more about acupuncture at or follow Ian on Facebook at

The finer points of acupuncture for migraine relief

Starting September 7th 2014, Migraine Awareness Week aims to boost recognition of a life-long public health problem that affects over eight million people in the UK.

A migraine is a headache involving recurrent attacks that can last up to three days. Sufferers may experience double vision, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms are usually one sided with pain occurring in the temple area. Migraines are often thought to be caused by emotional strain, stress, hormonal imbalances, lack of food and/or sleep or by a reaction to some foods or medications.

Medication can provide some relief but doesn’t always do enough to help with the pain. Many sufferers turn to complementary therapies in the hope that they can get some relief.

Acupuncture in particular is a popular choice amongst migraine sufferers with good reason.
How can acupuncture help?
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture refers to a system of healing that originates from China and the Far East. It has been practised for thousands of years and is based on the philosophy that good health is determined by the smooth flow of our body's energy (Qi).

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to address energy imbalances and areas of tension and pain to return the body to a state of balance and health.

Ian Stones, Traditional Acupuncturist based at Hove Osteopathic Clinic explains that "In Chinese medicine we see any symptoms as a sign of imbalance and migraines are no different. Quite often they will tie in with other health issues which may not seem related to the main complaint. This is why in Chinese medicine, a comprehensive case history looking at all aspects of a patient’s health is important."

Ian explains, “Acupuncturists treat patients as a whole rather than focusing on their specific ailments. This means treatment may also involve addressing other aspects of a patient’s life such as dietary and lifestyle advice.”  

Typically around four to six acupuncture sessions are needed for a patient to start seeing positive effects and most people respond well to treatment.

Ian goes on to say "From my experience I have found that most migraine sufferers experience an improvement quite quickly. Most find that their migraines become less severe and far less frequent. Stress often plays a big factor in migraines and acupuncture is excellent at helping people to deal with this."

Acupuncture can help by:

- Reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches in many patients
- Reducing the use of medication
- Reducing the number of sick days taken
- Showing a success rate of 50-80% comparable to the results of medication but without the side effects
- Offering an effective preventative treatment for migraine

Ian Stones is a Traditional Acupuncturist based at Hove Osteopathic Clinic. More information on Acupuncture can be found on his website

Ian is a member of the British Acupuncture Council, the lead professional body for traditional Acupuncturists.