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Press releases

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’.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published the Guideline on Low Back Pain and Sciatica that had been produced in draft form in April 2016 as NICE guideline [NG59].

We note with concern the final recommendations published today.

The exclusion of acupuncture from its place in the 2009 guideline we believe to be both a mistake and a retrogressive step.

The British Acupuncture Council wishes to make three clear statements regarding this decision.

Migraine Awareness Week - 4th - 10th September 2016

*In the UK 1 in 7 people at any one time experience a migraine attack.

A migraine is a complex neurological condition, which can affect the whole body and can result in many symptoms, sometimes without a headache at all. Migraines can be easily overlooked or mistaken for other conditions and can affect people in many different ways.
A migraine can involve recurrent attacks that can last up to three days and sufferers may also experience double vision, nausea and vomiting. Migraines are often thought to be caused by emotional strain, stress, hormonal imbalances, and lack of food and/or sleep or by a reaction to some foods or medications.
Research has shown that traditional acupuncture can be very beneficial in the treatment of migraines as it tends to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends acupuncture for headaches and migraines.  Migraines can manifest in very different ways and a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner will want to know, among other things exactly where the pain is located, what the nature of the pain is and whether the patient has any accompanying symptoms. An individual diagnosis and treatment plan is then tailored to the patient based on this information and on their general health history. 

As a leading cause of disability  and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness, lower back pain is estimated to cost the UK economy over £12 billion per year .

In the UK the condition is responsible for 37% of all chronic pain in men and 44% in women  but in a bid to cope with the condition, a study by the British Acupuncture Council reveals that 74% of people use painkillers as a quick fix to relieve discomfort.

‘Painkillers often mask the problem and don’t address many of the underlying causes of lower back pain, says Alison Savory, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council. ‘With traditional acupuncture we look at the root of the condition as well as the symptoms in order to try and promote longer term health and wellbeing. Many of my patients find the therapy extremely beneficial.’

With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years, acupuncture involves gently placing extremely fine, sterile needles at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response.

We are pleased to announce that Paul Hitchcock will be our new chief executive, joining us in July. As well as his current NHS role Paul brings valuable experience from his time as director of the Allied Health Professions Federation (AHPF), which looks after professional healthcare bodies similar to the BAcC. We hope you will join us in welcoming Paul to the BAcC at this time of great change and opportunity.

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