A major national survey of UK acupuncture practitioners, has found that there are an estimated four million treatments annually, which contribute substantially to healthcare in this country.
A team of UK authors contacted 800 practitioners representing a random cross-section of the four major national professional bodies. Of the 330 who responded, 29% were doctors, 29% physiotherapists, 15% nurses and 27% independent professional acupuncturists. The majority (68%) worked in independent settings, whilst the remaining 42% were based in the NHS. Patients were found to seek treatment most commonly for lower back, neck , shoulder and knee pain, aswell as for headaches and migraine. Treatments for infertility by independent acupuncturists, were found to have increased fivefold in the last ten years.
The authors conclude that the primary complaints for which patients are seeking treatment, reflect an expanding evidence base for these conditions, and this should inform future health policy and practice.