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British Acupuncture Accreditation Board appoints new chair

British Acupuncture Accreditation Board appoints new chair

The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) has appointed a new chair.

Professor Mike Saks takes up his new role following the resignation of Rita Lewis, who held the position for nearly 20 years.

He has been appointed to the post for five years in the first instance.

The BAAB, which is supported by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), regulates degree-level acupuncture courses around the UK and ensures standards of practice remain high.

The BAAB lead accreditation officer, Harriet Lansdown, said: ‘Mike Saks has a longstanding connection with complementary medicine, particularly acupuncture, as well as senior roles in higher education and research.

‘We are delighted that he has agreed to join the BAAB as our new chair.’

As well as holding senior positions across several UK and international universities, Professor Saks has published extensively in the social sciences on professions, regulation, health, and complementary and alternative medicines. He has advised the UK Department of Health and professional bodies including the General Medical Council (GMC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

He has also chaired the UK Human Tissue Bank and the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM) and is honorary senior advisor on leadership to the United Nations and a founder member of the UN-endorsed Institute for Responsible Leadership (IRL).

Professor Saks said: ‘I am very pleased to become chair of the BAAB as a senior academic who has extensive experience overseeing, devising and implementing quality standards in the university sector, where I have worked at the highest level.

‘I am looking forward to working with colleagues associated with the BAAB and the British Acupuncture Council in enhancing standards in the accreditation process and putting acupuncture even more firmly on the map.’

Professor Saks said acupuncture has not always received the credit and standing that it deserves in the health agenda and he would like to see it secure a stronger place in the healthcare division of labour.

‘I think there is a strong case for acupuncture having statutory regulation because at the moment it is based on a voluntary register overseen by the British Acupuncture Council. This means that anyone who is not registered can still practise as an acupuncturist without having gone through the certified training and education as underwritten by the BAcC and the BAAB. This presents a potential threat to the health and wellbeing of the public.’


Notes to editor

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

For a full list of British Acupuncture Council press releases visit the newsroom.

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.

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 2,000 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 growing body of evidence 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

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