Right of reply: The chair of the British Acupuncture Council replies to Professor Ernst's recent article
Monday 16 November 1998
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine and has existed in a documented form for more than 2,000 years. Its theoretical basis and development are quite different from Western medicine. The fact that it is an ancient practice does not mean it is stuck in the past. On the contrary, the essence of Chinese thinking is change, and acupuncture has, throughout its history, been constantly developing.
Professor Ernst is right to lay great emphasis on the importance of training and research to enhance our understanding and raise our standards of treatment, but these must be carried out in the context of the Chinese system, of which acupuncture is a part. If Western scientific methods have not yet proved the value of some theories on which acupuncture is based - for example qi (vital energy) - it does not mean they are not valid, and it would be arrogant to claim so. Thousands of people receive effective acupuncture for a range of conditions from practitioners using traditional Chinese methods.
Patient safety and the effective administration of acupuncture are equally important. The British Acupuncture Council insists on a minimum of two years' training. Many Western doctors and physiotherapists get only two weeks' training before practising acupuncture; perhaps this is the medieval state to which Ernst is referring.
In Britain today we have one of the most freely available and well-developed systems of acupuncture in Europe. With the British Acupuncture Council we have an effective organisation for monitoring and developing this. It would be to the benefit of all, especially patients, if everyone with an interest in acupuncture were to work together to ensure the highest possible standards.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
Arts & Ents blogs
Jack Whitehall crowned king of British Comedy Awards
Beyonce guerrilla releases entire new album worldwide on iTunes
American Psycho , theatre review: Matt Smith regenerates as ripped uber-narcissist
MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 - Steven Edwards crowned winner
Kanye West is as 'misguided as they come': Ohio police chief rejects rapper's claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
- 1 Italian court annuls prison sentence for elderly paedophile after 11-year-old victim tells investigators in Catanzaro that she loves him
- 2 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 3 Woman who miscarried in private prison 'made to clean up after herself,' court told
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >