Mapping the practice of acupuncture in the UK
We have little knowledge about the practitioners who provide acupuncture treatment within the UK, what conditions patients consult for, and the characteristics of the treatment provided. In this project we conducted a cross-sectional survey of practitioners of acupuncture in order to characterise what conditions are being treated and by whom, to examine some of the characteristics of treatment and to explore trends over time. 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.
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.