Clinicians across the UK are being urged by the British Acupuncture Council to consider referring their patients for acupuncture to treat a range of different conditions.
As part of a series of activities to mark the inaugural World Acupuncture Day on Thursday 15 November 2018, acupuncturists will be writing to their GPs to highlight the wealth of evidence showing that acupuncture is a valid healthcare choice.
On Friday 26 October Dan Jarvis MP submitted a written question to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 26 October asking what steps the Department is taking to maintain the provision of acupuncture services in the NHS.
It comes as chronic underfunding and workforce shortages have led to enormous pressure on the NHS with clinicians struggling to meet rising demand.
Head of research at the British Acupuncture Council, Mark Bovey, says Chinese medicine is a viable option and could help the NHS deal with some of the pressures: "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 works.
"The evidence is particularly strong in the treatment of pain and, with one in five people in Europe living with moderate to severe chronic pain, acupuncture can make a real difference to patients with low back pain, headache and migraine and osteoarthritis. In some cases it has even been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals.
"Moreover, the world is also grappling with rising problem of opioid addiction, so clinicians have a real opportunity to explore other treatment options for pain.
"There is also clinical evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating anxiety which research suggests affects up to one in three people, and a whole range of other conditions such as infertility, constipation, rhinitis and depression.
"If GPs referred patients for acupuncture for just some of these conditions the pressure on the health service would be dramatically alleviated."
World Acupuncture Day will be officially celebrated in Paris at a global conference in UNESCO House, where more than 1000 leading health professionals and researchers from around the world will exchange knowledge, skills and practices in acupuncture and moxibustion.
The event will showcase the latest scientific and clinical research that demonstrates the effectiveness of acupuncture in a wide range of conditions.