The Practice of Acupuncture in the UK: How Regulation Moulds Expectations

This study examined the practice related to the transformation of acupuncture practice in the UK using the methods of literature review, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews. In the West, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) became popular after President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Among all the TCM therapies, the theory and practice of acupuncture are easier to understand to the Westerners, and it thus received the widest acceptance outside of China, and it quickly became established in many countries. In the UK, one of the termination for TCM to spread around the world, acupuncture transformed from a merely ancient physical therapy in China to being the hybrid of traditional theories and updated technology and practice approaches. The informants of this study reported that the transformed acupuncture practice needs to accord with UK regulatory requirements. These are: A voluntary registration scheme, hygiene and fire regulation, and laws regulating special skin treatments. When using acupuncture services, people are also influenced potentially by these regulatory requirements. For instance, there is no referral process to an acupuncturist working outside the NHS, and thus it is required that people should judge qualified acupuncturists according to their registration certificate, environment of the clinics and lawsuit record. After that, people can add their personal preferences, such as the choice of practitioners using fine needles or who does not insist Deqi (feeling of pain when inserting needles). These factors have shaped acupuncture in the UK to be a practice in new form, and its safety and effectiveness are of great importance to the public, which needs to be further discussed.

ArgO-EMR Seminars Michaelmas 2022

Wednesdays at 5pm (Weeks 3, 5, 7, 8)

On Teams and also taking place in person in the Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road

Acupuncture in Practice

Convened by Elisabeth Hsu