The use of Acupuncture in Australia today

Written by Dr Patricia Diaz | 30 November, 2021

facial acupuncture with blonde model and city skyline in background

One of our Chinese Medicine Lecturers Dr Patricia Diaz shares her thoughts on where Acupuncture stands in Australia today and provides an overview of the current research into the effectiveness of Acupuncture.

Currently, there are 4,863 registered Chinese medicine practitioners in Australia, to which registered Acupuncturists account for a whopping 98% according to recent 2021 data published by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA)¹. Australia witnessed the first arrival of traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture in the late nineteenth century², together with overseas gold diggers during the gold rush period³. Since then, Acupuncture therapy has become increasingly more popular, offering a health service that often works in adjunct with mainstream medicine.

Today, Acupuncture is still considered to be the most common form of traditional medicine therapy⁴. As such, the WHO most recently published a thirty-four-page manual covering a range of important clinical applications from treatment preparation procedures, to waste management, to safety precautions and contradictions. The goal was to set a universal standard for the practice of Acupuncture and ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness for the acupuncturist and consumer — worldwide⁵.

The prevalence of Australians resorting to complementary medicine is 50%⁶, with new research showing that 65% of Australian women are significantly more likely to pay for alternative treatments including Acupuncture, compared to 35% in men⁷. A national survey reporting on 17,161 Australian women showed that 10% of women between the ages of 34-39 and 10% of middle-aged women (between 62-67 years of age) were likely to have used Acupuncture in the past 12 months, especially those with higher exercise levels⁸.

Over the years, the use of Acupuncture in gynaecology and obstetrics has become increasingly popular. Many studies are now reporting the positive effects Acupuncture has on an array of health conditions such as infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and pelvic inflammatory disease⁹. Acupuncture can also be used for depression during pregnancy, as found in a recent qualitative study conducted in Sydney, Australia. The results revealed that pregnant women experiencing depression turned to Acupuncture to help them to ‘better manage their lives' and adapt to changes naturally accompanied in pregnancy¹⁰.

Acupuncture treatments focuses on disease prevention by puncturing specific acupoints located on the body with ‘Acupuncture needles or by applying heat with moxibustion’ and takes the theories of Chinese Medicine as its guide¹⁵. Below is a graph table showing the current population of registered acupuncturists in Australia.

acu.JPG

Table1. Shows current registered divisions within the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, reporting the period between the 1st of April to the 30th of June 2021. Data obtained: Chinese Medicine Board Report Registrant Data Table - 30 June 2021. AHPRA Chinese Medicine Board. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.chinesemedicineboard.gov.au/About/Statistics.aspx

In 2020, a Cochrane study review that included 3,960 women looked into how Acupuncture could ease pain during labour. The research found that Acupuncture has a positive impact on pain management, over the use of pharmacological analgesia during labour, and the use of Acupressure has reduced the effects of pain intensity¹¹.

Systematic reviews have increasingly revealed that Acupuncture is effective for pain relief in low back pain¹² ¹³. Furthermore, studies have shown Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used natural treatments for migraine therapy, with the likes of the USA, China, Germany, England and Italy all investing interest into the effects Acupuncture has on migraines¹⁴.

To learn more about the incredible effects Chinese Medicine can have on your life, check out our upcoming events.

References:

  1. Chinese Medicine Board Report Registrant Data Table - 30 June 2021. (2021, June 30). AHPRA Chinese Medicine Board. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.chinesemedicineboard.gov.au/About/Statistics.aspx
  2. Jacka, Judy. & Ringwood Natural Therapies. (1998). Natural therapies: the politics and passion : a personal story of a new profession. Ringwood, Vic: Ringwood Natural Therapies.
  3. Zheng Z. (2014). Acupuncture in Australia: regulation, education, practice, and research. Integrative medicine research, 3(3), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.imr.2014.06.002
  4. WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019 (https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/312342/9789241515436-eng. pdf, accessed 28 July 2020)
  5. WHO benchmarks for the practice of acupuncture. (2021, May 16). Https://www.Who.Int. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/978-92-4-001688-0
  6. Correction: Use of complementary medicine products: a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 2019 Australian adults. BMJ Open 2019;9:e024198corr1. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024198corr1
  7. Women more likely to pay for personal services. (2019, June 14). Roy Morgan. https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/8014-professional-services-in-australia-march-2019-201906140636
  8. Yang, L., Adams, J., & Sibbritt, D. (2017). Prevalence and factors associated with the use of acupuncture and chinese medicine: Results of a nationally representative survey of 17161 australian women. Acupuncture in Medicine, 35(3), 189. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/acupmed-2016-011179
  9. Wu L, Li Y, Yu P, Li H, Ma S, Liu S, Liu M, Yu W. The application of acupuncture in obstetrics and gynecology: a bibliometric analysis based on Web of Science. Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Mar;10(3):3194-3204. doi: 10.21037/apm-21-477. PMID: 33849105.
  10. Simone M. Ormsby, Hannah G. Dahlen, Caroline A. Smith, Women’s experiences of having depression during pregnancy and receiving acupuncture treatment—A qualitative study, Women and Birth, Volume 31, Issue 6, 2018, Pages 469-478, ISSN 1871-5192
  11. Smith CA, Collins CT, Levett KM, Armour M, Dahlen HG, Tan AL, Mesgarpour B. Acupuncture or acupressure for pain management during labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD009232. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009232.pub2. Accessed 17 October 2021.
  12. Furlan AD, van Tulder M, Cherkin D, Tsukayama H, Lao L, Koes B, Berman B. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain: an updated systematic review within the framework of the cochrane collaboration. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2005 Apr 15;30(8):944-63. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000158941.21571.01. PMID: 15834340.
  13. Huang JF, Zheng XQ, Chen D, Lin JL, Zhou WX, Wang H, Qin Z, Wu AM. Can Acupuncture Improve Chronic Spinal Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Global Spine J. 2021 Oct;11(8):1248-1265. doi: 10.1177/2192568220962440. Epub 2020 Oct 9. PMID: 33034233; PMCID: PMC8453671.
  14. Zhao, T., Guo, J., Song, Y., Chen, H., Sun, M., Chen, L., Geng, H., Pei, L., & Sun, J. (2021). A Bibliometric Analysis of Research Trends of Acupuncture Therapy in the Treatment of Migraine from 2000 to 2020. Journal of pain research, 14, 1399–1414. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S306594
  15. Chiu, M., & Li, L. (1993). Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. Churchill Livingstone.

Dr Patricia Diaz

Not only is Dr Patricia Diaz one of Endeavour College's esteemed lecturers, Patricia has already established her international reputation as one of Australia’s best-known health experts and founder of the newLife centre for Women and acuIVF™ (acupuncture for In-Vitro Fertilization). Patricia had also served as a practitioner member panel for the Chinese Medicine Board of NSW, assisting in conducting inquiries, hearings into complaints, and notifications about the conduct of registered Chinese Medicine practitioners and students practising in NSW.

Read more by Dr Patricia Diaz

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