Mapping the practice of acupuncture in the UK
In a survey of patients that we conducted and subsequently published in 2006, we identified the range of patients consulting acupuncturists and the most common conditions they sought help for.(MacPherson et al 2006) We subsequently extended this research to find out from practitioners who provide acupuncture treatment within the UK, what conditions their patients consulted for, and the characteristics of the treatment provided. In this second survey we collected data on the practitioners, including demographic details, association membership, statutorily regulation, practice setting, style of acupuncture, diagnostic methods, needle response sought. Practitioners recorded details of 10 most recent patients, including demographic details, their primary reason for consulting and lifestyle advice provided.
Three hundred and thirty practitioners responded, 62% were female with a median age 48. The majority (68%) practiced in independent settings, and 42% in the NHS. Western style acupuncture is the most prevalent form of practice among statutorily regulated practitioners, while styles based on Traditional Chinese medicine predominate among independent acupuncturists. Patients predominantly consult for back pain, other common musculoskeletal conditions and headaches. Treatment for infertility by the independent acupuncturists has increased five-fold in 10 years. Extrapolating from our data, we estimated that around 4 million acupuncture sessions are provided every year in the UK.(Hopton et al 2012)
Hopton AK, Curnoe S, Kanaan M, MacPherson H. Acupuncture in practice: mapping the providers, the patients and the settings in a national cross-sectional survey. BMJ Open, 2012: 2: e000456.[Full text]
MacPherson H, Sinclair-Lian N, Thomas K. Profiles of acupuncture patients: a national survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2006; 14(1): 20-30.