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Acupuncture documentary and report unveiled at parliamentary reception

Acupuncture documentary and report unveiled at parliamentary reception

A film highlighting the diverse and high-level work being carried out by acupuncturists across the UK has been unveiled at a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons today [Wednesday 11 March, 2020], alongside an international report.

Against a backdrop of chronic underfunding and workforce shortages in the NHS, the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is stepping up its efforts to position acupuncture as a viable healthcare choice for a range of conditions.

The event, held in the Thames Pavilion at the House of Commons, was sponsored by Virendra Sharma MP.

The 30-minute film – To The Point –  showcases practitioners at work in settings including an NHS cancer unit, a mosque near Grenfell Tower, a paediatric clinic and a multibed clinic. The report – The Scope of Acupuncture – highlights best practice being carried out by acupuncturists around the world.

Launching the report and the film, chair of the BAcC Governing Board, Sarah Atwell-Griffiths, said: ‘More than 1,000 studies are carried out globally each year into the effectiveness of acupuncture, providing evidence that it is beneficial in many conditions. There are around four million acupuncture treatments per year in the UK, of which around half are delivered by members of the British Acupuncture Council. This event aims to highlight that acupuncture can complement conventional medicine, resulting in a holistic approach for patients.’

Opioid crisis

Ms Atwell-Griffiths added: ‘The evidence is particularly strong in the treatment of pain, and the world is also grappling with a rising problem of opioid addiction. Last year a Sunday Times investigation revealed that more than 40.5 million opioids were prescribed by doctors in 2018, a rise of 22 per cent compared to a decade ago, and more than half a million people have been on opioids for more than three years. It is a huge problem and the BAcC believes clinicians have a real opportunity to explore other treatment options for pain.’

The film features the UK’s first professor of acupuncture research, Hugh MacPherson, who is based in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.

Professor MacPherson’s systematic reviews of chronic pain conditions, including low back and neck pain, headache and migraine and osteoarthritis, have provided statistically significant evidence that acupuncture is more than a placebo. His neuroimaging studies have attracted considerable scientific interest as well as featuring on TV programmes such as BBC Science and the BBC’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor.

His use of rigorous scientific methods has resulted in a substantial contribution to the evidence base. He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has co-authored three books.

Grenfell tragedy

British Acupuncture Council member Rachel Peckham also appears in the film, delivering ear acupuncture treatment to members of the community surrounding Grenfell Tower in west London. Rachel set up a NADA clinic in the Al Manaar Mosque in 2017 in the wake of the Grenfell fire to help people suffering from trauma.

Also featuring in the film is paediatric acupuncturist Rebecca Avern, senior lecturer and clinical supervisor at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading. Rebecca decided to focus on paediatrics after becoming aware of the number of children suffering from physical, mental and emotional conditions for which there is often little other help, and which acupuncture treats so effectively.

--ENDS--

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 2,500 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 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 (professionalstandards.org.uk)

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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Press Contact

Katie Osborne

Tel: 07990 922615