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Find Out About Acupuncture During The First Acupuncture Awareness Week

Published: 27th February 2012 12:51

Rachel JohnsonRachel Johnson  Acupuncture Awareness Week
27th February to 5th March 2012

It's the first ever Acupuncture Awareness Week!

Organised by the British Acupuncture Council following research conducted at the end of 2011, this week aims to banish the myths and give the facts about acupuncture.

So do you really know what acupuncture is? Here are some of the most common misconceptions revealed by the research:

Needle size and sensation:
In this region 21% of people believe acupuncture needles to be the same size as needles used for injections and 26% think they are the same size as sewing needles. No wonder the most common comment I get is "I don't think I could have acupuncture because I hate needles"! In fact acupuncture needles are the width of a human hair and some are just 0.13mm in length. In addition to the confusion over needle size 28% say they are put off acupuncture because they think it will be painful (not surprising if they think needles are so huge!). In reality most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing and patients often don't feel the needles at all.

Effectiveness of acupuncture:
Historically there has been a popular belief that the effects of acupuncture are nothing more than a placebo. However acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of physical and emotional conditions and there is substantial, and growing, body of research evidence to support this. In fact the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.

Safety of acupuncture:
Nearly 28% of people polled in this region are put off having acupuncture because they don't think it's regulated and around 14% say their barrier to treatment is that they feel it's unsafe. According to two studies published in the British Medical Journal (2001) the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This is far less than many orthodox medical treatments. Additionally, practitioners must seek a licence to practice from local councils and comply with stringent Health and Safety regulations before they begin treatments.

Training of acupuncturists:
There is also considerable uncertainly about the training of acupuncturists. In order to be registered and insured by the British Acupuncture Council, traditional acupuncturists are qualified to degree level in acupuncture (which 65% of research participants were unaware of). They are also expected to maintain and update their skills and knowledge through ongoing professional development, and adhere to codes of safe practice and professional conduct. The Council guarantees excellence in training, safe practice and professional conduct so patients are advised to look for a practitioner who has British Acupuncture Council membership.

More information about this research, along with stories of men and women who have had acupuncture is available at  

Want to give it a go? £10 Taster Sessions are available at Five Spirits Acupuncture for anyone who would like to find out for themselves what acupuncture treatment is like without a big financial commitment.

Rachel Johnson is a member of The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and is based at Five Spirits Acupuncture in Stony Stratford. For more information call 01908 542893, visit or join Five Spirits Acupuncture on Facebook!/pages/Five-Spirits-Acupuncture/206303962733713 where you will find acupuncture news, health-related articles and details of any special offers.

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