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ARC 2012: Call for CSP to support use of acupuncture receives strong backing from delegates

8 February 2012 - 6:37pm

Critics who dismiss acupuncture on the grounds that it is a ‘spooky, mystical treatment’ have failed to keep pace with research findings that prove its effectiveness, delegates were told.

ARC 2012-5

The motion to protect the future of acupuncture provision was passed unanimously. Photo: Guzelian

Lesley Pattendon, vice chair of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP), said she was a passionate advocate of the approach, having been teaching the topic to students for five years and using it as a treatment for 15.

But she stressed the importance of being ‘savvy’ with commissioners and medical colleagues when promoting its use. Rather than talking about its Chinese roots and its association with the concepts of Yin and Yang, its benefits should be reframed in terms such as the ‘drug-free manipulation of the autonomic nervous system’.

Michelle Slack, an East Midlands steward, said that patients found it helpful and that its use in treating non-specific back pain had been endorsed by NICE.  Despite this, one primary care trust (PCT) had made savings of £1m by deciding that acupuncture would no longer be made available to patients.

A ‘gloomy future’ beckoned if others followed suit, with other treatment modalities such as hydrotherapy also potentially under threat. Her stance was supported by Vivienne Dascanio, AACP chair, who said there were four million acupuncture treatments annually in the UK.

A contrary view was expressed by Matthew Wyatt, who said the evidence-base showed that acupuncture did not work and that it was ‘without doubt a placebo’.

The motion, which called on the CSP to attempt to protect the future of acupuncture provision and to ‘promote the value of physiotherapy interventions at all levels’ was passed unanimously.


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