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Tempted to try acupuncture? Do your homework first with our top tips.

acupunturist accredited registers

Acupuncture dates back several centuries and originated in China. Today, acupuncture is available across the UK in a range of settings, including some GP practices, but mostly in private clinics.

Some medical doctors use acupuncture to treat patients and these doctors are regulated by law. However, it is possible to train and practise as an acupuncturist (or microsystems acupuncturist*) in the UK without being a medical professional. These practitioners are not regulated by law.

What does this mean? Well, unlike doctors, nurses, dentists and many other healthcare practitioners, their training, practise and behaviour are not overseen by a professional body unless they choose to register with one.

Acupuncturists do have to register their clinics with the local authority which helps to maintain standards of cleanliness and quality.

What else might you want to check before being treated by an acupuncturist? Have they been trained appropriately? What happens if something goes wrong – who do you complain to? And are they insured?

The Accredited Registers programme was set up thanks to new legislation in 2012 to help you choose from a list of practitioners (who are not regulated by law) but who have been checked according to a range of quality standards. Everyone on an Accredited Register must:

  • Sign up to a code of ethics/conduct
  • Be insured to practise
  • Have appropriate training and qualifications for the treatments they offer
  • Demonstrate that they are continually learning and updating their skills and knowledge (also known as CPD)
*Microsystems acupuncture is a modern form of acupuncture which focuses on small, well-defined areas of the body such as the hand, foot, face, scalp and ear.

8 ways to check who's treating you:

Choose a reputable therapist


If you aren't seeing a regulated professional, choose a practitioner from one of our Accredited Registers. Contact a few therapists to find one you feel comfortable with.

Is acupuncture right for me?


Traditional acupuncture is a complementary therapy and you may be unfamiliar with the process. Make sure you're comfortable from the outset.

Ask as many questions as you like


Most acupuncturists are happy to answer questions for 10-15 mins over the phone to see if the treatment is suitable, prior to booking an initial consultation.

Never allow yourself to feel pressured


Acupuncturists offer an in-depth initial consultation to establish a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Only commit to further appointments if you are satisfied.

On medication? Check with your GP first


Complementary therapies are not intended to replace treatment from medical professionals. If you have any concerns, check with your GP.

    Does the treatment room feel professional?


    If your therapist's premises aren't clean and professional, don't feel pressured into receiving treatment. Expect high standards.

    Got concerns? Don't be afraid to speak up


    If you feel uncomfortable at any point, say something. All practitioners on Accredited Registers sign up to a code of conduct.

    Know your rights and insist upon them


    All Accredited Registers have a complaints process and all practitioners must have insurance in place to cover you if something goes wrong.

    Find a traditional acupuncturist near you today by checking this Accredited Register

    The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is a self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK.

    Find a microsystems acupuncturist near you today by checking these Accredited Registers

    The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is a voluntary regulator of complementary healthcare practitioners. They were established with Department of Health funding and support and their key purpose is to protect the public.

    The FHT is a professional association for therapists and has been committed to developing and promoting high standards in therapy training and practice for more than 55 years. It runs the largest Accredited Register of complementary therapists, covering 17 different therapies that can be used safely alongside standard medical care.