MSc, BSc Hons, DipMedAc, MISCP


Simon holds a Master of Science Degree in Physiotherapy and is a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists. A post graduate Diploma in Medical Acupuncture entitles him to accredited membership of the British Medical Acupuncture Society. Simon specialises in the integration of medical acupuncture techniques with manual therapy and therapeutic exercise for the treatment of musculo-skeletal pain and dysfunction.

Acupuncture better than exercises for arthritic knee pain

knee painMedical acupuncture has shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritic knee pain, with benefits maintained for at least six months.1,2

Leg muscle strengthening have also been shown to be effective and are recommended in the  UK national clinical guidelines as a core treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Medical acupuncture however is not included in these guidelines.

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Treatment of Low Back Pain with Acupuncture - the American Recommendations

Following on from the negativity for Acupuncture as a Treatment for Low Back Pain in the current UK NICE guidelines, our American Colleagues have taken a completely opposite view on this matter and recommend Acupuncture as a non-pharmacological therapy for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain.

According to the published guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine: referring to Non-invasive Treatments for Acute, Sub-Acute, and Chronic Low Back Pain:

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Highlights: BMAS - Autumn Conference Speaker Forum

After another tasty lunch at the Royal College of Physicians, we took up our seats to take part in the speaker forum. I was expecting plenty of questions to be put forward for discussion and was not disappointed. We had questions relating to the broad range of topics from the morning’s presentations; from purigenic signalling to the role of acupuncture in post-surgical pain to clinical application of auricular acupuncture and more.

Here are some highlights by topic:

Acupuncture and purigenic signalling

According to Professor Geoffrey Burnstock (GB), all cells release ATP. These include endothelial, skin, muscle, neural and immune (e.g mast) cells. ATP acts upon its various receptors creating a purigenic signalling effect, this may have positive effects at the various sites. In the correct doses, facilitated ATP release, for example in response to acupuncture, has been proposed to have a variety of therapeutic physiological effects. These range from autonomic modulation to analgesia, mainly due to its function as a co-transmitter.

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Medical Acupuncture Is A ‘Hands On’ Technique

acu handsonIn my view, to use medical acupuncture effectively, the needle becomes an extension of our fingers. Our fingers should begin the needling process by carefully palpating, becoming attuned to the patient's tissues, being responsive to feedback.

Such feedback may be a response from the tissues such as altered muscle tone, tension, thickening, congestion, bogginess, stringiness, stiffness, guarding and more. These are loose terms, more descriptive than scientific, not always reliable, but meaningful to the expert clinician.

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What does Medical Acupuncture and Exercise have in common?

acu exerciseMedical Acupuncture including Dry Needling helps ease pain, normalise muscle tension, and promotes tissue healing and repair1. It is also associated with an increase in brain serotonin levels1 which may partly explain how this technique often leaves my patients feeling in a better mood, more relaxed and at ease.

Similar feelings of well being are often felt after exercise, especially exercise which promotes muscle contractions2,3 such as PhysioPilates. This may be due to there being a physiological overlap between physical exercise and needling.

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