Is Acupuncture Regulated?
In the UK, USA and most of Europe, traditional acupuncture is not regulated.
Where is acupuncture regulated?
In Canada, Australia and East Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Vietnam acupuncture is regulated and certain standards of training must be meet in order to practice acupuncture.
Western medical acupuncture is governed under existing western medical associations such as the GMC. For this reason some insurance companies will only allow their members to have acupuncture treatment from a western medical acupuncturist even though they have largely just done a weekend course.
Who can practice acupuncture?
In countries where acupuncture isn't regulated, anyone in the medical or complementary medical field can practice acupuncture after basic training, such as a weekend course.
Why should acupuncture be regulated?
In countries where acupuncture isn't regulated such as the UK, there is an increased risk to patients. Healthcare professionals with basic training in acupuncture are often the ones who cause most of the serious side effects reported about acupuncture treatment.
Unfortunately, the acupuncture profession does not push regulatory bodies such as the British acupuncture council to statutorily regulate the different styles of acupuncture.
Acupuncture practitioners need only apply to join a voluntary register which isn't governed by the department of health or secretary of state. Instead local authorities except those in London regulate traditional acupuncture practitioners.
Personally, I support the statutory regulation of acupuncture in the UK.
Dr (TCM) Attilio D'Alberto graduated from Beijing University in China and has over 14 years of practicing acupuncture in London.