Acupunture in Parliament

Acupunture in Parliament

British Acupuncture Council to launch film at re-scheduled Parliamentary reception

Journalists wishing to attend the parliamentary reception,
which will be held from 9am to 10.30am on 11 March 2020 in the
House of Commons, should email

A film highlighting the diverse and high-level work being carried out by acupuncturists across the UK will be unveiled at a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons on Wednesday 11 March, alongside a report on the scope of acupuncture around the world.

The event, which was originally scheduled to take place in November 2019 to mark World Acupuncture Day, had to be postponed due to the General Election.

Against a backdrop of chronic underfunding and workforce shortages in the NHS, the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is now stepping up its efforts to position acupuncture as a viable healthcare choice for a range of conditions.

Head of research at the BAcC, Mark Bovey, said: ‘There are around four million acupuncture treatments per year in the UK, of which around half are delivered by members of the BAcC British Acupuncture Council. More than 1,000 studies are carried out globally each year into the effectiveness of acupuncture, so evidence is emerging all the time to show that it is beneficial in many conditions.’

Opioid crisis

‘The evidence is particularly strong in the treatment of pain and the world is also grappling with a rising problem of opioid addiction. Just last week a Sunday Times investigation revealed that more than 40.5 million opioids were prescribed by doctors last year, a rise of 22 per cent compared to a decade ago, and more than half a million people have been on opioids for more than three years. It is a huge problem and the BAcC believes clinicians have a real opportunity to explore other treatment options for pain’, he added.

The film will feature the UK’s first professor of acupuncture research, Hugh MacPherson, who is based in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.

Professor MacPherson’s systematic reviews of chronic pain conditions, including low back and neck pain, headache and migraine and osteoarthritis, have provided definitive evidence that acupuncture is more than a placebo. His neuroimaging studies have attracted considerable scientific interest as well as featuring on TV programmes such as BBC Science and the BBC’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor.

His use of rigorous scientific methods has resulted in a substantial contribution to the evidence base. He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has co-authored three books.

Grenfell tragedy

British Acupuncture Council member Rachel Peckham will also appear in the film, delivering treatment to members of the community surrounding Grenfell Tower in west London. Rachel set up a NADA clinic in the Al Manaar Mosque in 2017 in the wake of the Grenfell fire to help people suffering from trauma.

Also featuring in the film is paediatric acupuncturist Rebecca Avern, senior lecturer and clinical supervisor at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading. Rebecca decided to focus on paediatrics after becoming aware of the number of children suffering from physical, mental and emotional conditions for which there is often little other help, and which acupuncture treats so effectively.

For further information on acupuncture, case studies or interviews, please contact Katie Osborne on 07990 922615 or

About the BAcC

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of nearly 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK’s largest professional body for the practice of acupuncture. BAcC members practise a traditional, holistic style of acupuncture diagnosis and treatment based on a system developed and refined over 2,000 years. To achieve BAcC membership, practitioners must first undertake extensive training in traditional acupuncture (minimum three years full-time or part-time equivalent), which includes physiology, anatomy and other biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture.

Traditional acupuncture

Traditional acupuncture as practised by members of the BAcC is based on Chinese medicine principles that have been developed, researched and refined for over 2,500 years. Traditional acupuncture is holistic, not focused on isolated symptoms. It regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign the whole body is out of balance. Western or medical acupuncture is a more recent development practised predominantly by doctors and physiotherapists, who use acupuncture techniques within their existing scope of practice on the basis of a western medical diagnosis. There is a growing body of evidence showing how effective acupuncture is in a range of conditions:

Why use a BAcC practitioner?

Only British Acupuncture Council members belong to a Professional Standards Authority accredited register, providing professional guarantees of safety, education and continuing development

Look for the letters MBAcC after the name of your acupuncturist to ensure:

  • extensive training – minimum three years degree level – with relevant western medicine including anatomy and physiology
  • adherence to BAcC codes of safe practice and professional conduct
  • compliance with current health and safety legislation
  • full insurance cover for medical malpractice and public/products liability
  • mandatory continuing professional development to keep knowledge and skills up to date
  • postgraduate study of special interests such as pain management and acupuncture for children

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