In the UK, the practice of acupuncture is not regulated by the government, which means that a variety of people with varying levels of training are legally allowed to use acupuncture to treat people and membership with a professional acupuncture organisation is voluntary.
In practice, acupuncture is generally used by three groups of practitioners who are represented by three membership organisations: doctors who practice medical acupuncture and are overseen by the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), physiotherapists who use dry needling techniques and are overseen by the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP), and fully qualified traditionally trained acupuncturists, who are overseen by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). Membership to the first two organisations only requires postgraduate training of short duration.
Of the three groups, only British Acupuncture Council members meet the requirements for practice and training as set out by the World Health Organisation. BAcC members have studied acupuncture to degree level training with over 3,600 hours of study and are accredited by the government’s Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
British Register of Complementary Practitioners (ICNM)