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World Health Organisation


The World Health Organisation lists a wide variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials

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Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. The focus is on you as an individual, not your illness, and all symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to affect the flow of your body’s qi, or vital energy.

Members of the British Acupuncture Council practice the traditional acupuncture modality.

ESTABLISHED: with its roots  in Chinese medicine traditional acupuncture has been used to restore and maintain good health by billions of people for thousands of years. <link history>

HOLISTIC: traditional acupuncture recognises that illness and pain are signs the body is out of balance and treats the whole person, not just symptoms of disease. <link trad acup>

PROFESSIONAL: all BAcC members are bound by our Codes of Professional Conduct and Safe Practice which set the standard for the safe practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK.

PROVEN: a growing and significant body of evidence-based clinical research proves that traditional acupuncture works. <link to research>

RECOGNISED: the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises that acupuncture successfully treats a wide range of common health conditions in adults and children. <link A-Z>

RESPECTED: in the past decade traditional acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare in the UK. <link GPs>

SAFE: Traditional acupuncture has virtually no side effects and the risk of a serious adverse reaction is less than 1 in 10,000. <Link safety>

VERSATILE: Traditional acupuncture can be used to maintain good health and strengthen the constitution at every stage in life. <link A-Z>
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Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function, and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body's equilibrium.

What makes this system so uniquely suited to modern life is that physical, emotional and mental are seen as interdependent, and reflect what many people perceive as the connection between the different aspects their lives.

 

Based on traditional belief, acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. The focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.

Traditional acupuncturists believe that the underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body's qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. There can be many reasons for this; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury are among the most common. By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and trigger the body's natural healing response.

Until the 1940s, when the Chinese government commissioned the development of a uniform system of diagnosis and treatment, somewhat misleadingly referred to as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), nearly all training had been apprentice-style with masters and within families. The same applied when acupuncture travelled overseas to Japan and South East Asia.

 

 

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As a consequence of this there are many different styles of acupuncture which share a common root but are distinct and different in their emphasis.  You may read of TCM, Five Elements, Stems and Branches, Japanese Meridian Therapy, and many others, all of which have their passionate devotees. The BAcC, though, has long embraced this plurality under the heading "unity in diversity" and sees the variety of approaches as the mark of a healthy profession.

Traditional acupuncture has a long history of adapting to new cultures in which it is practised. Its growing popularity and acceptance in the West may well promote yet more new and exciting variations on the ancient themes.

 

A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture safely treats a wide range of common health problems.


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Traditional acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine - a tried and tested healthcare system that has been practised for thousands of years in China and the Far East. It has been developed, tested, researched and refined over centuries to give us a complex and detailed understanding of the body's energetic balance.

The first known book of Chinese Medicine, the Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor, dates back to between the first century BC and the first century AD. All styles of acupuncture currently practised around the world trace their roots back to this text.

Without the help of modern scientific equipment, ancient Chinese scholars discovered many now familiar aspects of biomedical science, such as the effect of emotional stress on the immune system. Traditional acupuncturists are no less scientific or sophisticated than western clinicians in their understanding of how the body functions, although to this day they use terminology that reflects Chinese medicine's cultural and historic origins.

In China during the early part of the twentieth century traditional medicine fell out of fashion as symptomatic healthcare treatments were imported from the West along with other cultural influences. Calls by western trained doctors to ban traditional Chinese medicine were rejected by the National Medical Assembly in Shanghai on 17 March 1929. This day is still celebrated every year as Chinese Doctors' Day.

Traditional Chinese medicine remained in the shadow of western medicine until the Long March of 1934-5. Without drugs, anaesthetics or surgery vast numbers of sick and wounded soldiers faced death until doctors of traditional Chinese medicine achieved amazing results using acupuncture and other traditional methods of treatment.

From this point on, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and western medicine were practised side by side in China. Under the People's Republic of China, established in 1948, all branches of TCM were nurtured and encouraged to grow. By 1978, whole hospitals and research departments were devoted to the practice of TCM.

Today traditional acupuncture is practised all around the world and clinical trials are now confirming its efficacy. More and more people are able to benefit as traditional acupuncture becomes a recognised option within standard healthcare.

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