Attitudes towards traditional acupuncture in the UK

Shao, John Y.J., Borthwick, Alan M., Lewith, George T. and Hopwood, Val (2005) Attitudes towards traditional acupuncture in the UK Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 2, (1), pp. 37-45.


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Introduction: The practice and philosophy of traditional (classical) acupuncture (TA), as opposed to Western acupuncture, remains a contentious issue within mainstream healthcare in the UK. In spite of the relative integration of acupuncture within orthodox medical practice, a lack of paradigm conformity continues to divide traditional from Western approaches. This study sought to explore the perceptions and attitudes of existing acupuncture clinicians in the UK, from a range of professional backgrounds and affiliations, towards traditional acupuncture philosophy and practice. In doing so, it attempted to determine the extent to which traditional approaches were both regarded as legitimate and utilised in practice within mainstream healthcare.
Method: A postal questionnaire was deployed that incorporated an ‘attitudes to TA’ scale developed from a validated ‘attitude to alternative medicine’ scale. The questionnaire was distributed to 250 randomly selected subjects, drawn from the membership of three key professional acupuncture associations: 100 from the membership of the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), 100 from the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and 50 from the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).
Results: A response rate of 60.8% (n = 152) was obtained. Respondents held a broadly positive attitude towards TA (65 ± 12; 95% CI 62.9, 67.1), which included 39 BMAS respondents (54 ± 11; 95% CI 50.5, 57.5), 36 AACP respondents (63 ± 7; 95% CI 60.7, 65.3) and 53 BAcC respondents (75 ± 5; 95% CI 73.7, 76.3). No difference was found in attitude between 27 general practitioners and 13 hospital doctors (p > 0.1). More positive attitudes towards TA were found among younger BMAS respondents (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient [rs] = -0.353; 0.01 < p < 0.05). Of BAcC respondents, 62% used ‘trigger point’ theory, whereas 59% and 72% of respondents in the BMAS and AACP groups respectively used ‘channels’ theory.
Conclusions: These findings confirm broadly positive attitudes towards TA within each of the professional groups from which data were drawn, although they do reveal a range of disparate attitudes to TA among the groups, particularly between the BMAS and BAcC members.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1176-2330 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: acupuncture
ePrint ID: 24279
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 22:40
Further Information:Google Scholar

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