In Ireland there are largely two types of professional groups that practise acupuncture.
One group has studied acupuncture as part of Chinese Traditional Medicine studies; the other will have completed four years of Western medical studies (to become a doctor or a physiotherapist for example) and have learned about acupuncture as a post-graduate study, concentrated on and applicable to their western training.
As a chartered physiotherapist I am amongst the largest group of medical professionals in Ireland (and the UK) practising acupuncture with the vast majority of acupuncture treatments for musculoskeletal (physiotherapy requiring) conditions.
As an Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) and accredited British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) member I am required to have full medical training and in addition would have worked at least for one year with patients in a hospital setting and in private practice before starting my acupuncture learning.
After successful completion of my acupuncture courses, the BMAS and AACP ensures that its members conduct regular CPD to keep up to date with latest developments in research, safety and effectiveness for example. Full (accredited) membership of AACP is granted only on evidence that a physiotherapist has completed at least 300 hours of theoretical and practical training and assessments on courses approved by the Association. All members of the BMAS and AACP have to give evidence of at least 10 hours continuing professional development (CPD) every two years in order to maintain their membership status.
The supervision of the AACP education register enables the AACP, together with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), to maintain the necessary high standards of practice.
The intention of this post is to provide readers with further information about me as a medical professional practising medical acupuncture, and also to raise awareness about acupuncture training and regulation to help people make better and more informed decisions when choosing an acupuncturist.