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British acupuncturists to play leading role at inaugural global conference

British acupuncturists to play leading role at inaugural global conference

The chair of the British Acupuncture Council’s Governing Board will be one of a group of international speakers at a global conference being hosted by UNESCO in Paris next month.

Phil Rose-Neil will address more than 1,000 delegates from up to 70 countries at the inaugural World Acupuncture Day conference on Thursday 15 November 2018.

The event will bring together leading medical and health professionals and researchers to exchange knowledge, skills and practices in acupuncture.

Vice-president of the World Acupuncture Day Organization (WADO), Gerd Ohmstede, said: ‘Globally, there are more than 1,000 scientific studies a year on the effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese medicine but many people are not aware of them.

‘Many countries around the world, including Australia, Taiwan and China, have successfully integrated Chinese medicine into their national health systems with amazing results. One in four EU citizens uses complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), either as a complement or an alternative to conventional care. Yet, the increasingly high level of popular use is not reflected in EU or national health policy or provision.

‘The aim of World Acupuncture Day is to highlight new research that further demonstrates how acupuncture can improve outcomes and contribute to national health systems around the world in a safe, effective and cost-efficient way.’

Phil Rose-Neil’s speech will focus on the rise of acupuncture in England and how the treatment could be a more integral part of the NHS.

He said: ‘The widespread interest and study of acupuncture in Great Britain dates from the 1950s. Thus the history of acupuncture in the UK is one of cross-fertilisation and integration, drawing on the original traditional learning of China and the subsequent fostering of this knowledge in Europe.

‘The British Acupuncture Council is honoured to continue the evolution of acupuncture through its 2,700 practitioners.

‘In the UK, the health system is evolving out of necessity and hopefully acupuncture can help as a legitimate intervention. British Acupuncture Council members belong to a Professional Standards Authority accredited register, GPs can therefore be confident they are referring to a practitioner who has professional guarantees of safety, education and continuing development.’

Also speaking at the event will be British acupuncturist Merlin Young, co-founder of the charity Moxafrica, whose talk will focus on his work treating patients with TB in Africa.

In partnership with Uganda’s Makerere University, Moxafrica has completed the only randomised clinical study to date looking at the effects of daily small cone moxibustion – a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called ‘moxa’ are burned on or very near the surface of the skin – on people with active pulmonary tuberculosis.

Mr Young said: ‘This is potentially one of the most exciting ventures of research in medicine today, of potential benefit to literally millions of people who are at desperate risk of drug-resistant disease.

‘Moxa is extremely low-tech, is safe and is also very cheap. It is also eminently adaptable to resource-poor and remote environments.

‘Given all of the above we are carrying out more investigative research to establish whether moxibustion can help combat TB today, particularly when the drugs are failing.’

Other speakers will include president of the World Acupuncture Day Organization (WADO), Dr Denis Colin, president of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS), Liu Bao-Yan, and representatives from UNESCO.

Leading Australian acupuncturist John Macdonald, co-author of the 2017 Acupuncture Evidence Project, which found evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in 117 conditions, will present on the development of acupuncture and specific issues in Australia.

French acupuncturist Sophie Nivault will talk about the development of obstetric acupuncture in France, and David Miller will talk about acupuncture in the USA.

The UNESCO building was selected to host the event to mark eight years since acupuncture and moxibustion were included on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The list aims to ensure the protection of important practices, knowledge or skills and to raise awareness of their significance.

More than 1,000 delegates from up to 70 countries are expected to attend the event which will be followed by the annual World Scientific and Cultural Dialogue on Acupuncture (WSCDA), organised by the European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ETCMA).



Notes to Editor:

  • For further information, case studies or interviews please contact: Katie Osborne on 07990 922615 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the BAcC:

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of nearly 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK's largest professional body for the practice of acupuncture. BAcC members practise a traditional, holistic style of acupuncture diagnosis and treatment based on a system developed and refined over 2,000 years. To achieve BAcC membership, practitioners must first undertake extensive training in traditional acupuncture (minimum three years full-time or part-time equivalent), which includes physiology, anatomy and other biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture.

Acupuncture and moxibustion

Acupuncture and moxibustion are forms of traditional Chinese medicine widely practised in China and also found in regions of south-east Asia, Europe and the Americas. The theories of acupuncture and moxibustion hold that the human body acts as a small universe connected by channels, and that by physically stimulating these channels the practitioner can promote the human body’s self-regulating functions and bring health to the patient. This stimulation involves the burning of moxa (mugwort) or the insertion of needles into points on these channels, with the aim to restore the body’s balance and prevent and treat disease. In acupuncture, needles are selected according to the individual condition and used to puncture and stimulate the chosen points. Moxibustion is usually divided into direct and indirect moxibustion, in which either moxa cones are placed directly on points or moxa sticks are held and kept at some distance from the body surface to warm the chosen area. Moxa cones and sticks are made of dried mugwort leaves.

Traditional acupuncture:

Traditional acupuncture as practised by members of the BAcC is based on Chinese medicine principles that have been developed, researched and refined for over 2,500 years. Traditional acupuncture is holistic, not focused on isolated symptoms. It regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign the whole body is out of balance. Western or medical acupuncture is a more recent development practised predominantly by doctors and physiotherapists, who use acupuncture techniques within their existing scope of practice on the basis of a western medical diagnosis. There is a vast amount of research showing how effective acupuncture is in a range of conditions.

Why use a BAcC practitioner?

Only British Acupuncture Council members belong to a Professional Standards Authority accredited register, providing professional guarantees of safety, education and continuing development (

Look for the letters MBAcC after the name of your acupuncturist to ensure:

  • extensive training – minimum three years degree level – with relevant western medicine including anatomy and physiology
  • adherence to BAcC codes of safe practice and professional conduct
  • compliance with current health and safety legislation
  • full insurance cover for medical malpractice and public/products liability
  • mandatory continuing professional development to keep knowledge and skills up to date
  • postgraduate study of special interests such as pain management and acupuncture for children

Find a BAcC registered acupuncturist near you