Leading acupuncture Adelaide therapists

The Australian Natural Therapists Association has been awarding accreditation to Adelaide acupuncturists for over 60 years, ensuring high educational and training standards are upheld.

All acupuncturists within the ANTA directory meet our stringent qualifications, and always deliver top-quality treatments and therapies. For qualified, capable, and professional acupuncturists in Adelaide, search our directory.

Find an acupuncture clinic in Adelaide

The ANTA directory makes it easy to find local acupuncture practitioners in Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs. To find an Adelaide city acupuncture pain clinic, you can search our directory located at the top of the page.

Why use an acupuncturist who is an ANTA member?

✔️ANTA acupuncturists must meet our high standards for qualifications and accreditation
✔️By using holistic methods, our acupuncturists treat your entire body, rather than just surface symptoms
✔️Acupuncturists within our directory can help to enhance your body’s natural healing abilities
✔️Both federal and state governments recognise our acupuncturists
✔️We have over 60 years of experience working within the professional acupuncture field
✔️You can search for fertility acupuncture in Adelaide, to assist with your pregnancy

Expert guide on acupuncture


What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapy that involves inserting small, flexible needles into various places on a patient’s body. These needles are made of stainless steel and are approximately 0.2mm thick (similar to the width of a human hair). By stimulating channels that run through the human body (also known as meridians), acupuncture can alleviate pain, and treat a number of symptoms. Acupuncturists are well-versed in acupuncture points, as well as neural zones that sit underneath the skin, and use these different points depending on your body’s health and/or conditions.

History of acupuncture

There’s ongoing debate regarding the origin of acupuncture. Some believe that it emerged from China, where it has been practised for 2,500 years. Others argue that it originated in Eurasia, due to the discovery of needles similar to acupuncture tools (though made of animal bone and stone) from the Stone Age (8700 to 2000 BCE). The most widely accepted theory is that acupuncture originated from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

First described in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (China, around 300 BCE), acupuncture needles in China were originally created from bamboo and other materials. These included silver, copper, bronze, iron, and even gold. These needles are very similar to contemporary hypodermic needles, and are believed to have inspired the modern version.

The philosophy of acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the concept that a life force, called Qi (pronounced “chee”), exists within the human body. This life force flows along 12-14 channels (also known as meridians), which run through our internal organs, as well as our skin, fascia, muscle, and bone. Illness within our bodies can be caused by our Qi being imbalanced or disrupted. This can be fixed by acupuncture, which works to unblock the meridians, and restore a balanced Qi.

Many people have benefitted from Traditional Chinese Medicine, especially when complemented by acupuncture. Acupuncture can be used to treat multiple health concerns, including anxiety and depression, fertility difficulties, and chronic pain.

How does acupuncture heal the body?

The human body is made up of many systems that work together and alongside each other, to keep you alive and in good health. Scientific and academic studies over the years highlight how acupuncture can work in many different ways, depending on the person and body being worked on.

Scientific team Gabriel and Dominic Lu made a discovery in 2013 about one such way that acupuncture can help. According to Lu and Lu, acupuncture activates neurohormonal pathways (Dominic P Lu, Gabriel P Lu, 2013, PMC). These pathways trigger biochemical processes within the body, releasing a variety of chemicals. Endorphins, serotonin, enkephalins, y-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, and dopamine are included among these. These chemicals help different ailments and enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted, it stimulates nerves in the body. Signals are then sent from these nerves to the brain, and neural hormones are released. This can alleviate pain from the body, and make the patient more content or happy. While acupuncture doesn’t directly release happiness chemicals, it works to stimulate vital organs. These organs, such as the pituitary gland, can produce additional hormones, and create feel-good chemicals.

Acupuncture can also alleviate inflammation. Inflammation can be debilitating, and lead to a variety of health issues both physical or mental. Our bodies become inflamed due to proinflammatory marker proteins, and acupuncture is a treatment that can lower these markers (such as IL-1β and TNF). When practitioners use acupuncture to target specific areas, such as a common pro-inflammatory marker below the knee, inflammation can be reduced throughout the entire body. Other benefits include increased energy, and a strengthened immune system (Elizabeth Palermo, 2017, Livescience).

Another issue acupuncture can treat is nerve damage. Nerve regeneration can occur when signals are sent to the brain to repair damaged nerve areas. Acupuncture initiates these signals, and can be specifically targeted to repair certain areas. Studies show acupuncture can also benefit those with fertility issues. By improving the strength and effectiveness of hormone-increasing drugs, hormones are well-balanced within the body.2 This can lead to a greater chance of pregnancy.

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How is acupuncture performed?

Acupuncture is performed when a practitioner inserts hair-thin stainless steel needles into different areas of the body. These needles then stay in position for anywhere between 25-40 minutes. This time can be reduced for those who are extremely sensitive to needles.

How to choose an acupuncturist?

The best way to choose an acupuncturist is by ensuring they are highly qualified and accredited. The ANTA acupuncture directory is a great resource, as all practitioners must meet stringent membership requirements before being included, especially for qualifications.

You can find the ANTA acupuncture directory by using the form at the top of this page.

If you would prefer to find an acupuncture clinic yourself, there are some important things to keep in mind.


All acupuncturists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). National and formally-recognised accreditation is extremely important to check, as is malpractice insurance.

Up-to-date knowledge

All medicine and therapies evolve with new information, and this includes acupuncture. It is vital that acupuncturists have up-to-date knowledge on advancements within the field, as well as the latest techniques, in order to provide you with the best and most effective service.

Specialist areas

Like many medical fields, acupuncturists can specialise in certain areas. If you are looking to treat a specific issue (for example, pain relief) consider searching for a specialised acupuncturist. They will have more experience in the specific area, as well as techniques specifically designed to treat your ailment or issue.


Australia legally requires sealed, single-use needles to be used in acupuncture. The practice must also be performed in a sterilised area, as it is a medical treatment.

Your first acupuncture appointment: what to expect

As acupuncture is a more holistic method, an acupuncturist will want to know information about your lifestyle, including medical history, diet, lifestyle, and past problems. Your first appointment may be a detailed discussion about everything from your sleep habits, digestive functions, and emotional health to your urinary and sexual function. This depends on the problem you are wanting to address. Being aware and prepared for this can assist your acupuncturist to understand what aspects of your life may be contributing to your ailment, which is extremely important for an effective treatment to be devised. Thinking about this information prior to your appointment can help.

Acupuncture Adelaide FAQs

#1 Does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture has been proven by science to treat a range of medical conditions, whether physical, mental, or neurological. These conditions and illnesses include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Rhinitis
  • Acute pain, such as acupuncture for migraines, or acupuncture for back pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Dental pain
  • The common cold
  • Tension headaches
  • Depression
  • Acupuncture for anxiety
  • Acupuncture for pregnancy or acupuncture for fertility
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Pregnancy and labour difficulties
  • Acupuncture for labour induction
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Acupuncture for weight loss
  • Stroke rehabilitation

#2 What does acupuncture do?

Acupuncture stimulates nerves by inserting thin needles into the body. This enhances the body’s ability to heal itself. Depending on the condition or problem discussed during an initial consultation, needles will be positioned in different areas of the body.

#3 What does acupuncture feel like?

Because acupuncture involves needles, it is associated with the idea of a painful treatment. Acupuncture is actually not painful, and many people feel nothing when receiving treatment. Some people experience a tingling sensation or ache, but this should be very mild. If you do feel pain during a session, you should inform your acupuncturist, and they may adjust needle position.

#4 Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture does not hurt, and should not be painful. If a patient feels any sensation, it is usually a mild tingling or ache, which is considered a positive sign the treatment is working. Most patients feel nothing during the process, which is also a positive sign.

#5 What is the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?

While both treatments involve needles being inserted into the body, acupuncture and dry needling have distinct differences. Acupuncture has been practiced for 2,500 years, and involves the Traditional Chinese Medicine concept of Qi. It incorporates a holistic method. Dry needling is a more modern technique that aims to stimulate specific trigger points or muscles that are causing issues. Other aspects, such as energy flow, are not considered in dry needling.

#6 What are the risks of acupuncture?

There are very few side effects of acupuncture, and those that do exist are very rare. Potential side effects can include bruising, soreness, light-headedness, fatigue, and emotional sensitivity. Some of these are effects of the needles themselves, and some are a result of emotional blockages being reduced through acupuncture. Any post-treatment soreness will usually disappear within 24 hours. More intensive treatments may last a little longer.

Searching for a qualified and experienced practitioner reduces the chance of experiencing any adverse side effects. This can be done through our acupuncture directory, located at the top of this page.