More than 1,000 delegates gathered at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris for a conference on Thursday 15 November 2018, while in London the British Acupuncture Council held a high-profile press briefing.
The Paris event, organised by the European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ETCMA) in conjunction with the World Acupuncture Day Organization (WADO), brought together practitioners, researchers, politicians, academics and administrators of all disciplines related to acupuncture and moxibustion.
In London, acupuncturists, researchers and doctors presented the latest evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture to an audience of MPs and journalists, who gathered at the Shard.
Elsewhere in the UK acupuncturists marked the day with a variety of events, ranging from holding taster sessions for charity to writing to their local GPs and MPs.
Chief executive of the British Acupuncture Council, Rob Strange, said: ‘The day was a huge success all round.
‘Many people know about acupuncture because of its ability to help with lower back pain – a huge problem in the UK and indeed the world. But World Acupuncture Day aimed to raise awareness that it is also an effective treatment for many other conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, fertility problems, IBS, migraine, depression and the side effects of cancer treatment.
‘When carried out by a fully trained acupuncture practitioner, acupuncture is extremely safe and cost effective and has the potential to transform lives for the better.’
He went on to highlight the importance of promoting acupuncture in the UK.
‘In China, acupuncture is fully integrated into the healthcare system. In Australia it is officially recognised and state registered. The US has a number of integrated programmes where acupuncture is used alongside orthodox medicine.
‘We would like to see acupuncture play a greater role in routine primary care in the UK as it does in other countries. At our press briefing speakers presented some very compelling evidence to show how effective acupuncture is. We are calling on health professionals to examine the science and take steps to integrate acupuncture into their practice.’
Among the speakers at the UK event was consultant cardiologist Sanjay Gupta, from York Hospital, who is collaborating with the Northern College of Acupuncture on a clinical trial to examine the benefits of acupuncture in patients with atrial fibrillation.
Acupuncturist Rebecca Geanty from Norfolk spoke about her multibed clinic, Treat, which helps patients with a range of conditions including musculoskeletal disorders, fertility issues, psychological problems, pregnancy and other chronic conditions.
Adrian Lyster presented on his 25-year career treating patients for pain in hospital and primary care clinics, and extolled the benefits of integrated care.
And Naava Carman presented evidence on the benefits of acupuncture for fertility.
Vice-president of WADO and president of the ETCMA, Gerd Ohmstede, said the Paris event also went extremely well.
He said: ‘One in four EU citizens uses complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), either as a complement or an alternative to conventional care. Yet this increasingly high level of popular use is not reflected in EU or national health policy or provision.
‘The aim of World Acupuncture Day was to highlight new research that further demonstrates how acupuncture can contribute to national health systems around the world in a safe and cost-effective way.’