Find an acupuncturist...

Is there a minimum age for someone to receive acupuncture?

A:  Technically the answer is 'no' - anyone at any age can have treatment, and we are aware of newborn babies being given treatment within their first few weeks. The only two issues are the consent to treatment and the levels of training which one might need.

The BAcC has adopted the age of consent of 16 in line with current medical practice. After that age anyone can have treatment unchaperoned and at their own wish. Under the age of 16 a parent or guardian has to give consent and also be present during the treatment. In conventional medical encounters a person under the age of 16 can be declared what used to be known as 'Gillick competent' after a ruling in the High Court over a famous case where a mother failed to win the right to be told if her daughter was on the contraceptive pill. However, we do not have the same flexibility, and even a mature 15 year old with a clear appreciation of what they are signing up to
cannot give consent to treatment without an adult present.

The issue of expert competence is still under discussion within the BAcC. All BAcC members are by the nature of their training and the nature of Chinese medicine generalists - we treat people, not conditions - and all people from 0 to 100 are the same in overall energetic terms. However, we have recognised over the years that little children are not simply smaller versions of their eventual adult self, and there are a number of specific and quite common problems which are unique to the child. This requires a little extra postgraduate training as well as some experience of working with children who by their very nature are not likely to stay still for very long, never a
good thing when needles are involved. We have nearly reached the end of a very long process where we have defined the terms for expert practice which will enable members who have undertaken the relevant training to claim expertise in treating children.

Children are, in fact, incredibly responsive to treatment, and a number of BAcC members now run very successful children's clinics on a regular basis.

At the other end of the scale we are aware of several people over the age of 100 who have had treatment, and many 90 year olds still have regular sessions. Acupuncture treatment is as much about staying well as it is about getting better, and many people have now had regular treatment for forty or fifty years.

Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts