Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Practitioners: Nicola Renovich, Rob Long

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine are the two principle treatment modalities of Chinese Medicine which have a history of over 3000 years. Acupuncture uses fine single use disposable needles to stimulate points on energy channels in the body. This stimulation affects changes in the hormones and in the nervous system of the body. It is widely recognized for it’s effectiveness in pain relief including neck and back ache, and dental pain. It is however becoming more recognized to benefit a range of illnesses and symptoms, from migraines, sinus congestion, arthritis and digestive disorders, through to more general feelings of ill health such as nausea, lethargy or low energy. Due to it’s relaxing effect on the nervous system it is considered very beneficial for stress related conditions such as I.B.S, anxiety or depression. Some people without disease or symptoms choose acupuncture to enhance their feeling of well being and maintain a balanced state of health.

Acupuncture is often used in the treatment of a variety of conditions and in conjunction with western medicine. Increasingly women are choosing to have acupuncture for fertility, in conjunction with IVF treatment, and to support them throughout pregnancy, labour and after giving birth.

Acupuncture for Pain Relief

Persistent (chronic) pain is a widespread problem that affects around 8 million people of all ages in the UK. Typical chronic pain conditions include:

Can Acupuncture help?

Recent reviews have shown that it is more effective than no treatment or usual care for chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, or headache (Sherman 2009). There is also evidence that it is effective for chronic knee pain or headache and, for chronic back pain (Hopton 2010).

Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.

The condition affects more than 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting the lower back.
Most lower back pain is caused not by serious damage or disease, but by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve. It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, viral infection or a kidney infection.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as (if not better than) standard medical care for back pain (Witt 2006; Haake 2007; Cherkin 2009; Sherman 2009a). It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs (Sherman 2009a, 2009b; Lewis 2010). It may help back pain in pregnancy (Ee 2008) and work-related back pain, with fewer work-days lost (Weidenhammer 2007; Sawazaki 2008).

Acupuncture can help by:


Sometimes it may be appropriate in a treatment to include the use of Moxa or Cupping.

Moxa has been traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to complement acupuncture with the use of burning a herb from the Artemisia family either above the skin, or on the end of the needle, to put heat into the muscles and fascia of the body. This can be very relaxing and help tense muscles to relax thereby aiding the circulation of blood in the area. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process.

Cupping uses glass cups which create suction over an area of the skin to increase the blood circulation in the area.This can be used to clear phlegm congestion in the chest and to aid with sore aching muscles.


Involved in the teaching of human physiology for a number of years, I had a general interest in acupuncture, the fact that it did seem to be effective in certain situations and it's possible mechanism of action.

It was a year or two after formal retirement, that I began to get what were clearly arthritic pains in the joints of some of my fingers. These became sufficiently painful sometimes that I felt the need for some therapeutic action. Reluctant to use conventional anti-inflammatory durgs at this stage, I sought help through acupuncture on the basis that, if it can work (even if not for everyone), I would give it a try.

It has, in fact, been remarkably efective in easing the pain so that, althorugh it flares up a bit in cold/damp wiather, the level remains almost continuously low and largely almost insignificant. Subsequent problems with a knee joint have also been considerably eased by the same therapy.

I do recommend acupuncture to friends & associates as a possible way of easing joint problems (whilst making it clear that it does not always work for everyone).

Tony. Retired Teacher

I found the treatments which I had from you over many years were immensely beneficial in reducing the pain I was experiencing from the arthritis in my joints. This undoubtably helped to delay the time when surgical intervention for both my knee and ankle become imperative. This has greatly increased the chance of these prosthetics lasting me for the rest of my active life! So many thanks.


Having acupuncture has been such a positive thing for me and I would definitely have more in the future. Thank you!


It has been a great help with my localised pain - in my knees and back. With the back up of the Chinese Herbs, it has also helped my phlegm a lot.

Lola, Ashburton

Writing on behalf of my Father who travelled up yesterday from Cornwall to see Rob Long for Acupuncture.  He has been suffering a lot of pain due to Rheumatoid Arthritis style symptoms.  After the initial consultation and treatment he felt much better and could feel his feet again.  Rob is extremely talented, professional and knowledgeable and I am extremely grateful for his help.  He will definitely be back for a course of treatment. Thank you Rob.


I have known Robert Long for many years and have valued his gifts as an acupuncturist, healer and masseur. He has put me back on track on so many occasions when my body was struggling. Rob is a huge asset to any team of alternative therapists. Reliable and easy to talk to, his gifts to his clients are many, and my friends and I would not be the people we are today without his invaluable help.

Bridget C

I cannot recommend Rob highly enough - over a period of 15 years, I’ve found him impressively skilled and extremely professional. As a practitioner he has a refreshingly down-to-earth, flexible and intuitive approach, accompanied by excellent communication skills. I find him to be a very safe practitioner who also provides balanced and well-informed advice.

Sue P

I have found Rob Long quite the best practitioner with whom I’ve had the fortune to engage. Empathic, attentive but with a clear resolve to achieve results, Rob's treatment had an immediate effect on my chronic migraine condition. I went from three to four migraines per week to just one every six weeks. I can whole-heartedly recommend Rob Long as an acupuncturist of great experience and utmost professionalism.

Chris W

I saw Rob very regularly in Truro, Cornwall. Thanks to Rob’s expertise, skill and passion for acupuncture, I was rescued many times from terrible sciatic pain. Our loss here in Cornwall is certainly Devon’s gain. A true professional.

James D

Rob Long was recommended to me nearly twenty years ago. I was at a critical point in my life, with recent past traumas and big challenges ahead, so I needed to be at my best - physically, emotionally, psychologically, even spiritually.

Lynn D

I have visited Rob for some time now, and would highly recommend him. He has always provided excellent treatments; acupuncture for menopause symptoms and general wellbeing, and Traditional Chinese Massage for a shoulder injury. Wonderful!

Deana R

Rob has treated me twice monthly for 12 years and is a superb acupuncturist and healer. He has also treated most of my overseas family, helping immeasurably with, amongst other things, their jet lag. I am now 80 years old and feel Rob has played a major part in my overall wellbeing. From general aches and pains to more specific treatments like arthritis and frozen shoulder he has been able to give me great relief. As he now lives in Devon, Cornwall’s loss is Devon’s gain!

Ann B

I have been a patient of Rob's for about 20 years. He has treated me for various things, both physical and emotional; always with great understanding, kindness, and sympathy. I now count him as a friend who also happens to be an extremely good acupuncturist!

Rose B

For over twenty years Rob has been my Acupuncturist. In this I have found him to be knowledgeable, caring, skilled and easy to be with. Well-read and impressively grounded in Chinese medicine, he has been able to explain his treatments in layman's terms; with both feet firmly on the ground! When you find a practitioner with Rob's quality and integrity, they are like a sound life investment that’s well worth hanging on to. Practitioners like this are so rare!

Chris P

Rob Long gave me my first introduction to experiencing Qi. The results have never failed to impress me, and so he has treated me now for many years. This, combined with Rob’s Daoist ‘healing hands’ techniques, means that I couldn’t recommend anybody better if you were wanting to maximise your energy and feel like a ‘new person’. I also had the absolute pleasure of one-on-one training from Rob in Qi Gong. There is no one else who I've trusted so much to cultivate my energy

Baz C

I was treated by Rob over a number of years, and found him to be an excellent practitioner who was attentive, practical and sensitive. He listens well and explains each treatment clearly, giving useful advice. I always felt that he immediately understood my needs. He is also a very nice man who brings a wealth of life experience to his work as an Acupuncturist! I would recommend him highly.

Christine T

To say that I value Rob’s expertise and intuition would be a gross understatement. Having gone to him for help with late onset labour, he immediately raised a ‘red flag’ that quite possibly saved the life of my daughter. My baby was born via emergency C-section and then spent a week in ICU. Had Rob not picked up that something was wrong I honestly don’t know what might have happened. (Nobody else had). After this traumatic experience I suffered severe itching and blisters all over my body, which were treated unsuccessfully with medication. I also had extreme anxiety. One session with Rob and the blisters and itching subsided, and he somehow switched off my anxiety! Everyone needs Rob Long in their health toolbox.

Lucy C

I have attended Rob Long's acupuncture clinic for 10 years. He has treated my painful knees, shoulders, thumbs, wrists and neck, as well as 'balancing up' meridians as necessary. I have always felt a whole lot better after each treatment.

Eileen T

My first visit to Rob was for a very acute shoulder that refused to settle despite many visits to a chiropractor. After only a couple of Rob’s treatments my shoulder function was returned to normal and I have happily continued seeing him ever since for treatment of many general health problems.

Monica D

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had problems with very irregular periods. I could often go for months without having a period. As a teenager, this didn’t worry me, as I had my whole life ahead of me. However, when I reached 30 and got married, my husband and I decided we would like to try to start a family, only to be faced with the problem of horrendously irregular periods. At one point I went for about 3 months without a period, making planning for a baby very difficult.

A friend of mine recommended acupuncture, which I decided might be worth a try, so at the beginning of December, I started seeing an acupuncturist, Nicola Renovich, once a week. I started my treatment in December and became pregnant the following February. Unfortunately, that pregnancy was not to be and I suffered a miscarriage in April. Although disappointed, I decided the best thing to do was to continue my acupuncture and returned for treatment a few weeks after my miscarriage. That month, my menstrual cycle was exactly 28 days long, which has never happened to me before. I know how long it was, because I became pregnant for the second time and that pregnancy has continued successfully, meaning that I am now 29 weeks pregnant.

I have absolutely no doubt that acupuncture contributed directly to my getting pregnant in a very short period of time and would recommend it to anyone!


I began treatment with many long-standing major problems and multitudinous minor ones. Felt completely disconnected and despairing of ever sorting it all. 4 months on, and it's still a work in progress, but feeling 'whole' for the first time in 20 years. Symptoms have consolidated down to only 3 or 4 discrete issues, and I'm now strong enough to be worked on at a deeper level to begin clearing what remains. I thoroughly recommend Acupuncture as a therapy, and Nicola as a Practitioner. She's cool, calm, knowledgeable - and listens. Very professional and well worth the 40 miles I have to travel to see her.

Jay. 55 yr old Administrator for Author

I expected to experience an improvement (I hoped relatively quickly) and fortunately this was correct. After my treatments with Nicola (I experienced) increased movement and pain reduction in my shoulder/arm (especially after my first treatment). Also painful wrist has been helped. (I'm) pleased with the improvement and it is also a relaxing experience. I would recommend the treatment to anyone with muscular pain like myself

Pauline (age 66) Treatment for very painful shoulder/arm with ex

I found Nicola most welcoming and put me at ease...I found the Acupuncture treatment effective and profoundly relaxing and would not hesitate to recommend it. I am looking forward to my next appointment.


I found my sessions with Rob Long extremely helpful and satisfactory. His treatments definitely contributed to the recovery of my voice and my recovery generally from a major operation. He is also very good company and we enjoyed each others' conversations. Many thanks to him.

Tom Walker

Acupuncture sessions with you Nicola, brought back to me a great sense of well-being following a sad and difficult period in my life just previous to my move to the West Country. This did so much to enable my smooth integration in the life down here. Thank you so much Nicola.

Joyce, Retired.

Please describe what you came to have Acupuncture for:
Pain in back and right leg and headaches caused by living with constant pain. Frozen left shoulder due to lost right arm, meaning my left arm over working.

How did you benefit from treatment?
Like a wrecked car that has been fixed. Feel I have increased quality of life, happiness and well being.

How would you describe your overall experience of having Acupuncture with Nicola?
Although not expecting anything too positive in the beginning, I felt with no other options (have tried other treatments, such as massage and cranial sacral - they were good but not effective for my long term hopes) it was worth trusting Nicola as she is very calm and gives one a sense of empathy and without getting hopes up too much takes you on a journey to a place where your body gains a sense of balance - that had been lost in life before this treatment.

Did you experience any side effects to Acupuncture treatment?
 without getting too mystical there was the sense of blocks and darker energies being released somehow.


53 yr old, software engineer

I have been having acupuncture with Nicola for several months and find the treatments very beneficial on all levels...

Nicola has a warm and caring manner...I very much enjoy having acupuncture with Nicola and really look forward to the sessions each month.

Becky, Intervention Worker