Auckland COVID update

Yes, we’re open 🟢

Auckland Level 3 restrictions have been extended. Is acupuncture permitted at Level 3 lockdown?

Starting 21/08/2021 we have been given the green light to see patients, while following strict criteria and protocols. We are both relieved and excited.

Because we are limiting our capacity for face-to-face appointments, if you need to see us, please get in touch now.

As a part of the current Ministry of Health requirements, to establish if you require a face-to-face appointment, we need to know why you need to see us ahead of your appointment.

To make it safer, we’re limiting our capacity, if you need to see us, get in touch as soon as possible to secure an appointment.


Dr Vitalis Acupuncture

Update 20/08/2021

We are cautiously optimistic, we can start taking appointments soon.

Our professional organizations are in discussion with the Ministry of Health to permit acupuncture in the current alert level. The information we have received today, 20 October, has been both contradictory and has been changing by the hour. We hope to have some clarity by the end of the week.

If you need an appointment, please get in touch today, so that we can waitlist you.

Kia kaha!

Dr Vitalis Acupuncture

*Update 21/10/2021

We have just received an email from ACC regarding allied health professionals:

“Due to community spread of COVID-19 in Alert Level 3 areas, telehealth is still the preferred option where possible. Face-to-face services are allowed where:

  • Treatment cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability, or
  • Failure to access services will lead to an acute deterioration of a known condition, or
  • Delay in access to services will impact the consumer’s ability to maintain functional independence and significantly negatively impact quality of life, and
  • Services can’t be delivered by a similar service which is currently operating, or by clinicians already in contact with the patient for ongoing care.”

What are allied health professionals?

Dental therapy/oral health therapy
Medical Laboratory Science/Anaesthetic Technology
Occupational Therapy

Acupuncture is currently not regulated under the Health Practitioners Assurance Act. Recently the goverment has made a decision to regulate acupucture under HPCA Act, and therfore the Ministry of Health suggested that acupuncture is to be treated as allied health proffesion in this instance.

Why is acupuncture not considered an “essential service”?

Yes, the consistency with the assessment of what is essential is lacking.

For example:

  • General practitioners are considered essential, but the same GPs with a special interest – no. Specialist care is also considered essential. Does it make sense? No.
  • Hand therapy and physio are an essential service, but not podiatry.

We do appreciate, that during the first lockdown a quick decision was made, there was no time to and consistently assess what is essential. Didn’t we have COVID situation long enough to have consistency, allowing patients in emergency and acute needs to access the health service they require?

Our patients having acute needs include ones undergoing IVF treatments, cancer pain, severe pelvic pain (endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain, acute period pain), recurrent miscarriages (currently pregnant), atrial fibrillation, migraines to name a few.

How is recurrent miscarriage an acute need, you say? If you had 8 miscarriages that did not last 8 weeks, you started acupuncture and now you’re 9 weeks pregnant for the very first time. How discontinuing the ongoing treatment will affect you?

Tongue diagnosis Acupuncture TCM

“Why do you need to see my tongue?”

Understanding TCM Acupuncture tongue diagnosis

Chinese medicine says that anything that happens inside of your body may have some representation on the outside. If you haven’t slept enough last night, likely your observant colleagues will pick it up. Having a cold? This one can be even more obvious.

Even mild conditions may represent in the facial complexion, in your voice, your smell, the way we behave. Chinese medicine practitioners utilised these observations extensively for millennia. And they discovered that tongue and pulse can change a great deal. Therefore, when you come in for a treatment other than an injury, it is likely I will inspect your tongue and feel your pulse.

I don’t base TCM diagnosis solely on this, but it helps me to get a more complete picture of your condition and choose the best acupuncture protocol in your situation.

Pulse and tongue diagnoses are often mystified and the powers of them are exaggerated. Some practitioners claiming they can detect the sex of the baby in pregnancy or detect cancer. However, the leading minds in Chinese medicine are very clear on this. These diagnostic techniques are only a small integral part of TCM diagnosis.

Acupuncture for immunity

How do you boost your immune system while awaiting COVID-19 vaccine? Can you prevent getting this virus? Does acupuncture help?

Acupuncture has a powerful effect on immunity. It can save lives*!


In 2014, a study on sepsis and acupuncture appeared in the most prestigious medical journal – Nature.

Sepsis is highly deadly. But in the acupuncture study, 50% of recipients stayed alive. Great, no? One little detail.  *The subjects of the study were mice! :)

Sepsis depresses the immune system to the degree that it can lead to systemic inflammation, multiple organ failure, and, unfortunately, death. No current drugs are approved to counteract failing immunity for these patients.

So two clever scientists from America explored the effect of acupuncture. Of 40 mice with sepsis, 20 got treated with real acupuncture. Another 20 rodents also had needles, but not on acupuncture points.


Half of the acupuncture mice group survived, whereas ALL the fake acupuncture-treated mice perished.

To sum it up, the mice who had correct electro-acupuncture had an infinity times higher chance to stay alive.


Now. No other therapy studied on this planet achieved this.

In 2017 another group of scientists studied a similar treatment on the elderly (human) patients and the results were good.

Take-away message? Unless you’re a mouse, don’t use acupuncture for sepsis alone. We don’t have sufficient evidence acupuncture can cure sepsis or COVID-19 in human. But these experiments show that acupuncture is hugely successful at modulating the immune system. And is pretty darn good at it even in such extreme conditions, as sepsis.

Can acupuncture boost immunity to prevent COVID-19?

Before we dive into how acupuncture supports immunity, let’s have a quick 101 on how your immune system works.

How your immunity works

The immune system is precisely that — a system, not one single thing. To function well, it needs balance and harmony. A well-working immunity is like a sports team. To have a good defence, it takes a joint effort. Various organs and cells play a part in your immune response.

Physical barriers:

These are skin and membranes that cover your digestive, respiratory and reproductive tracts. All combined, those areas are as big as about two tennis courts. This a sizeable area to protect. Washing hands and covering the coughs reduces the risk of viruses slipping through your physical barriers.

Innate immunity

It’s a team of immune cells you gain before you are born. With COVID-19, we are in a bit of terrible luck. None of us has any protection from this virus. Once it enters the body your immune cells’ usual protection tricks don’t work.

Learnt or adapted immunity

It’s a so-called “adaptive team” of immunity cells that your body teaches new tricks in response to diseases you had in the past.
Vaccines help you develop adapted immunity. They trick your body into recognising the viruses as an enemy and fighting them.
We hope that soon there will be a vaccine to teach your immunity on how to deal with COVID-19.



Bone marrow produces most immunity cells. The blood transports them everywhere we need them. They will move in and out of tissues and organs defending your body against hostile invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. They also like to exterminate cancerous cells.

Your nervous system modulates immunity. But the immune system also modulates your nervous system, including brain activity, like body temperature, sleep, and eating patterns.

Your immunity is like an octopus that has one leg in each body system. If it senses something is wrong, it sends a cloud of immune cells.

Keeping your immune system running smoothly is not a matter of drinking turmeric tea, it’s a matter of all your body systems working well.

What weakens your immunity?

Poor Sleep

Lack of sleep can weaken your immunity. For instance, the less sleep you get, the more likely you will catch a cold.

Just one night? It makes a difference. One-night of four hours of sleep can dramatically reduce Natural Killer cells. NK cells kill virus-infected and cancerous cells.

Chronic insomnia? Sleep deprivation compromises your immunity. For instance, a flu vaccine becomes less effective if you suffer from this.

Chronic pain and medications for it

Chronic pain may wear you out to the point it reprograms how your immunity genes work. And ongoing pain triggers stress. Chronic stress is also taxing on immunity.

Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen can reduce your immune system response to vaccines.


Think of the stress response as a combination of neurologic, hormonal, and immune systems that come together to help the body ward off perceived danger or threat.

Long-term chronic stress keeps your cortisol levels high, and that eventually compromises your immune system.


How acupuncture can support your immune system


The sepsis experiment shows how acupuncture has a powerful effect on immunity. It also reduces stress and improves the quality of your sleep.

Will you get acupunctures immunity-boosting effect if we treat your neck pain or fertility?

The comprehensive/holistic approach is the very fibre of our acupuncture philosophy.

We don’t just fix one condition. We seek a systemic effect on your entire body so it can heal itself faster. No matter if we treat headaches or help with fertility.

We have seen IBS symptoms vanish as a side effect of treating PCOS. Or sleep improve even though the key focus was fertility. We have seen chronic headaches stop when treating neck pain.

When used correctly, acupuncture doesn’t heal just one ailment. It treats the entire body. Holistically.

How does a pill know to only do the one thing you take it for?

If you pop Ibuprofen for a headache, how does it know to treat just that?

Even the most common over-the-counter drugs affect all of your body. They have side effects and can have deadly interactions. As mentioned, Ibuprofen reduces your immunity by compromising the effects of vaccines.

How acupuncture’s “side effects” support immunity

Acupuncture is different. It is a biological stimulation. Think exercise and sunlight. Use them correctly, and all body systems benefit simultaneously. Let’s say you go for a brisk walk. Even the focus of this exercise is your leg muscles, there are thousands of chemical reactions happening in your body. As a result, your blood pressure changes, your heart rate goes up, your body responds by modulating the hormones.


Acupuncture is similar. Stimulating the acupoints is like a feel-good floodgate release. The result is less stress, anxiety, and better sleep. These are the common “side effects” of our treatments.


Acupuncture supports your immunity by helping you sleep better, improving your energy, optimising your digestion, reducing stress and inflammation. Acupuncture helps to cope with any illness. Both physically and emotionally. Or, hopefully, acupuncture will help to prevent you from getting sick altogether.

How does acupuncture work for immunity?


By stimulating the correct acupoints, we can reach the parts of the nervous system that modulate immunity.


ZuSanLi, an acupoint just below your knee, is one of these special locations. On acupuncture, ZuSanLi relays a signal to the spinal cord and then the brain. Once processed there, the signal goes to the vagus nerve, and finally reaches the adrenal glands. Adrenals produce the dopamine, the key agent in reducing inflammation.


The above example shows how simple stimulation causes a response and interaction between your nervous and immune systems.

Besides the anti-inflammatory effect, acupuncture causes a rise of interferon, one of the immune system’s messenger hormones, modulates natural killer cell activity.

How to prevent COVID-19?


Despite accumulating knowledge, we know extraordinarily little about COVID-19 and how to treat it. Coronavirus patients in China routinely receive  experimentally. But from a scientific perspective, it’s unknown what part acupuncture plays in recovery or prevention.

As for COVID-19 prevention, the best strategy, for now, is to avoid getting the virus in the first place: wash your hands, practice social distancing, follow the recommendations of the NZ Ministry of Health.

Boost your immune system

Keep your health and immune system in top-notch condition. If you are in better health, should you get COVID-19, you’re bound to have the best chance to recover smoothly.


  • Sleep enough
  • Exercise
  • Enjoy safe sunshine
  • Have regular acupuncture
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight
  • Minimise stress