Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, including acupuncturists, must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) before they are permitted to practise in their profession. It is therefore essential that members of the public seeking traditional Chinese medicine services consult a practitioner who is registered with the CMBA. All practicing AACMA members are registered with the CMBA.
Selecting a practitioner who is also accredited with the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) provides an additional layer of safety and quality assurance. AACMA members are held to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct and, by accessing the services of these highly qualified and experienced practitioners, you’ll be ensuring the best possible care for yourself or your loved ones.
Unsure if your practitioner is a registered acupuncturist? Look for them on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) register of practitioners at www.ahpra.gov.au/ Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. It involves the stimulation of specific acupoints in the body to correct imbalances in the flow of qi (pronounced chee) or ‘life energy’ flowing through the body’s meridians. While acupuncture is most commonly associated with the insertion of thin solid needles into the skin, skilled practitioners typically employ a range of additional techniques including moxibustion (the burning of herbs) and cupping (the placement of suction cups on the skin). Acupuncture offers a unique approach that focuses as much on optimising health as it does on treating illness. It is perhaps the most well-known technique used within the broader field of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which has an uninterrupted history of development in China and other parts of East Asia dating back thousands of years.
Many people feel a small transient sting as the acupuncture needles are inserted. Following an acupuncture session, some patients may experience minor side-effects that are mild and self-correcting, such as lightheadedness and occasional minor bruising.
National registration for the traditional Chinese medicine profession was introduced from 1 July 2012 to ensure the safety and protection of the public by regulating practice and ensuring the highest standards of education. It’s important to be aware that the Health Practitioner National Law Act (National Law) only allows practitioners registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) to use the title ‘registered acupuncturist’.
AACMA advises that not all allied health practitioners who offer acupuncture, dry needling or trigger-point therapy are trained to the high degree of a minimum 4 year Bachelor Degree required of registered Chinese medicine practitioners by the national law.
Research (The Acupuncture Evidence Project) has shown that acupuncture can be used with effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, from musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal issues to mental health, stress, reproductive and gynaecological concerns. Acupuncture has been proven to effectively complement the treatment of conditions such as allergic rhinitis, knee osteoarthristis, headaches and chronic lower back pain. Please refer to our website to download a copy of The Acupuncture Evidence Project.
The hallmark of acupuncture practice is holistic individualised treatment. At the initial consultation, practitioners will take a case history by interviewing the patient about their current health concerns, past health conditions and a range of related matters, including diet, lifestyle habits, sleeping patterns, appetite, menstrual cycle, stress reactions and food or other sensitivities. To further identify what are known in traditional Chinese medicine practice as ‘patterns of disharmony’ in the body, the practitioner will observe and note other health indicators such as the colour of the face, the condition of the tongue, the sound of the voice and the characteristics of the radial pulse of the wrist.
Treatment commences once assessment and diagnosis is complete, explained to the patient and their consent is gained. The duration of the treatment and the type of technique used will vary according to both the patient’s condition and the practitioner’s mode of treatment. Acupuncture is the most common technique used and involves the insertion of very fine needles into acupoints on the body. Other techniques may include moxibustion, cupping and the prescription of Chinese herbal medicine.
Consult a registered acupuncturist who is also accredited with the profession’s peak national body, the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA). This ensures you are accessing the best qualified practitioners – the ones who really know acupuncture.
To find an AACMA member, call AACMA on 1300 725 334 or use the free online search facility located at www.acupuncture.org.au.
Dr Andrew Chambers is a nationally registered practitioner of Chinese medicine, being one of Melbourne’s pre-eminent holistic physicians.
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