Acupuncture: introduction & regulation


Acupuncture – a quick introduction to a system of medicine that’s one of the oldest in the world

Acupuncture is a branch of traditional medicine that has been practised in China and the far east for thousands of years. It has been developed, tested, researched and refined over this time into a treatment option accessed by increasing numbers of patients in the West.

A growing body of evidence-based clinical research helps us understand the science behind what practitioners and patients have known for centuries –  how the body responds to acupuncture and its benefits for a wide range of common health conditions. Visit the British Acupuncture Council page Evidence A-Z for more information on the growing body of research, how it’s carried out and for fact sheets summarising research on acupuncture for common conditions. 

The focus  for a traditional acupuncturist is on the patient as an individual and not just their specific illness, and all symptoms are seen as part of an interconnected pattern. The translation between the patterns of Chinese medicine and western named conditions is a fascinating one. For nearly every named condition – for example, nausea, insomnia, anxiety migraine or osteoarthritis –  there is a complex weave of different syndromes and patterns your practitioner will consider as part of your Chinese medicine diagnosis. All your symptoms, even apparently unrelated aches and pains, are important. They are a bridge between what you experience and how the practitioner, be they eastern or western, makes sense of what you bring to them. Every symptom has meaning within the eastern tradition.

Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points which are said to affect the flow of your body’s qi, or vital energy, although there is ongoing research and study that suggests what many practitioners already know: that inserting needles into the channels (or meridians) affects change within the human body in several different ways, and the term ‘moving or stimulating energy’ is rather simplistic.

Find out more about my professional governing body, The British Acupuncture Council.

Visit Evidence A-Z on the British Acupuncture Council website


I’m a member of the British Acupuncture Council – what does that mean? 

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of around 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK’s largest professional/ self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture.

The BAcC’s register of members has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under its Accredited Registers programme. 

The Professional Standards Authority created the Accredited Voluntary Register in order that members of the public can choose the services of practitioners who are on a register that has been independently assessed and approved.

Being accredited means that the BAcC has satisfied the Authority that it meets its high standards. It is a mark of quality.

My membership of a voluntary register that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority demonstrates my commitment to high professional standards, enhancing safety and delivering a better service.