The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the UK’s largest professional body for traditional acupuncturists. Acupuncturists who are members will display this logo and/or use the letters MBAcC. When seeking out an acupuncturist, it is important to consider the level of training the practitioner has received and whether that practitioner adheres to strict standards of hygiene, safety and ethical practice.
Codes of conduct and safe practice
Committed to ensuring all patients receive the highest standard professional care
Acupuncturists who are registered with the BAcC are bound to a code of professional conduct and safe practice. Members are required to do first aid certification on a regular basis. During our training it is drummed into us, to needle safely, dispose of needles safely. Patients are treated with respect and are given full autonomy towards their treatment.
3,600 hours of high standard training
Traditional acupuncturists registered with the BAcC undergo three years of initial training to BSc standard. This involves a foundation in Western medicine, anatomy and physiology, pathology and pharmacology. We study the Classics of Traditional Chinese medicine in it’s historical context but also how this can be applied to our modern understanding of the human body and modern disease.
There are over 300 acupuncture points. What I remember from my own training was that we underwent an extensive, (very stressful) point location exam which entailed us to give both anatomical descriptions of acupuncture points and to locate exactly the point to an examiner. In order for students to progress to the next stage of training (i.e clinical practice) we were required to achieve a pass score of 80%.
We began our clinical training as observers, then assistants, then we were allowed to progress to ‘actually treating real patients!’ Cases were discussed, treatment plans formulated and we performed our treatment under the watchful eye of our clinic supervisor.
Ongoing CPD (Continuing professional development)
A good practitioner never stops learning. BAcC registered acupuncturists are required to complete ongoing CPD.
Acupuncture is an extremely safe treatment however it is possible to make a patient feel very unwell by administering the incorrect treatment without first a proper diagnosis. At best, the treatment might simply be ineffective but in some circumstances could potentially be dangerous. There are also treatment techniques, particularly in muscular-skeletal treatment, that require experience. Some of the techniques I use now, I have worked up to over time as my experience has grown.
In my opinion, Acupuncture should only be administered by a fully qualified practitioner. Certainly, if someone was sticking needles in me, better be properly trained to do so! I find it upsetting to hear people say “they have had acupuncture, but it didn’t work.” I’ve learned now to inquire, “who administered the treatment?” then I find out they had treatment with their GP. I’ve also encountered patients who have had bad experiences with their GP ‘doing a bit of acupuncture’. One lady told me, that it was very painful and left her with big bruises, quite a contrast to the the treatment she received from me. Unfortunately GP’s expect to stick one needle in their patients and get miracle results. Acupuncture just doesn’t work like that, there is so much more to it than that.
With a BAcC registered practitioner, acupuncture is safe and it works. Accept no less.