Western medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles; it is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine.
While the Western medical approach has evolved from the Chinese method, its practitioners no longer adhere to concepts such as Yin/Yang and circulation of qi, and regard the treatment as part of conventional medicine rather than a complete “alternative medical system”.
It acts mainly by stimulating the nervous system. Western medical acupuncture is principally used by conventional healthcare practitioners, most commonly in primary care. It is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, including myofascial trigger point pain. It is also effective for postoperative pain and nausea.
The British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) believes that this treatment should only be used by trained practitioners who can adequately assess the risks and benefits of applying the therapy. All members of the Society are regulated health professionals and are subject to the Society’s Code of Practice and Complaints Procedure.
(Download the BMAS Code of Practice.)
Currently, anybody in the UK is allowed to call themselves an acupuncturist and can start advertising and practising immediately, regardless of qualifications or experience. This of course is not ideal within a healthcare setting, so patients are strongly advised to check the credentials of their practitioner.
Lisa Ives is registered with the BMAS