Gavin Erickson

Gavin Erickson

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese medicine Association (AACMA) commissioned this review to provide an up to date evidence based guide to the effectiveness of acupuncture using scientifically rigorous methods. Comprehensive acupuncture reviews have been published by the Australian (2010) and US (2013) Departments of Veterans’ Affairs in recent years and this current study built on those by adding data from 2013-16.

These are all, strictly speaking, over-reviews, where published systematic reviews of (largely) randomised controlled trials are collected together and summarised. The results thus reflect the highest level evidence available.

122 different health conditions are represented and the evidence in each of these has been assigned to one of four categories:

Evidence levelNumber of conditions
Positive effect 8
Potential positive effect 38
Unclear/insufficient 71
No evidence of effect 5
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 11:15

Tribute to George Lewith

Professor George Lewith was a qualified physician and general practitioner who had recently retired from clinical practice. He conducted research within primary care and complementary medicine over the last 35 years, largely based at the University of Southampton where he led an internationally respected integrated medicine research group within the medical school’s department of primary medical care.

Professor Lewith combined his scientific interests – including over 300 primary research papers and a series of substantial grants from various charities and the major UK medical research funding bodies – with a busy clinical practice in integrated medicine.

George was a friend not only to all of the acupuncture profession, be it traditional, medical or physiotherapist – he was a member of all three professional bodies – but to the whole of complementary medicine. As well as being a research leader he was also politically savvy, working tirelessly up front and behind the scenes to try to bring acupuncture and CAM further into the mainstream. Nobody did more.

At the same time, both for individuals and organisations, George was always incredibly generous with his time and wise advice, though he could be blunt about woolly thinking. He was the go-to person for any serious media debate, whether written or broadcast, for he was invariably better informed and sharper than his opponents, and could mix it with the best (and worst) of them.

We have lost a guiding hand, a wise counsellor, a dynamic achiever, an all-round good guy, and our world will be a poorer place without him.

Mark Bovey
BAcC Research Manager

Thursday, 02 February 2017 21:12

How acupuncture can treat premature ejaculation

Men's Health magazine item on a new review in the journal Sexual Medicine.

The American College of Physicians recently published a guideline entitled Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians

http://annals.org/aim/article/2603228/noninvasive-treatments-acute-subacute-chronic-low-back-pain-clinical-practice

How very confusing these guidelines are. No sooner does NICE change its mind and give acupuncture the thumbs down for low back pain than up pops the American College of Physicians (the largest medical speciality organisation in the USA) to endorse it. Their conclusions are in line with those of two US government agencies that reviewed the evidence in 2016 and found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for chronic back pain (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Feb 2016; Nahin et al, Sept 2016). How can different guidelines, using much the same data, come up with such different answers? Well, guideline recommendations reflect not only the state of the evidence but also how this evidence is interpreted by the people producing them, and this is subject to all kinds of personal and institutional influences. Hence single guidelines cannot really be trusted: as with builders’ quotes you’d be wise to look at several different ones and get a consensus.

Last week’s popular news story has important implications for guidelines on back pain and puts NICE’s decision on acupuncture into an even worse light. Here is some information you could use to help you to understand, inform, debate, complain or whatever else moves you.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 13:04

Peggy Bosch interview @ ARRC Symposium 2016

In October 2013 I went to a stakeholders workshop to hear about, and discuss, NICE’s plan for an updated guideline on low back pain. The 2009 recommendation of acupuncture has become a key part of BAcC marketing and may have knock-on effects for all of us through increased acceptability in orthodox medical circles. However, the acupuncture recommendation has never gained much of a foothold when it comes to funding primary care services, leaving NICE with egg on its face. This was one of the stated reasons for the guideline update. One solution would be to persuade the NHS to comply with the recommendation; the easier and cheaper option would be simply to uncouple acupuncture.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) was pleased to hear the discussion around the role of acupuncture on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 this morning.

Of particular interest is how there is growing recognition of the use of acupuncture in the primary care or general practice context.

GPs are experiencing an unprecedented increase in demand for their services across the UK, with an increase in face-to-face contact with patients of 13% and an increase in telephone contacts of 63%.1

Such increases are not entirely unexpected, given the changes in age demographics and corresponding rise in numbers of patients with long-term conditions and co-morbidities. Adding to the burden of sheer numbers is the recognition that such conditions often cannot be fully resolved by the usual western medical management options, leading to an increase in anxiety for many patients; a rise in numbers of the so-called ‘worried well’.