I have taught acupuncture/dry needling to health professionals since 1981; over 5000 have attended these courses. I am an Accredited Member and former vice-chairman of the British Medical Acupuncture Society; I was a council member of the Society for many years.
The principal differences between the traditional and modern schools can be summarized as follows.
|Follows rules laid down in the past||Largely or completely ignores the old rules|
|Based on pre-scientific ideas||Based on modern anatomy and physiology|
|Often appeals to Westerners interested in mysticism||No element of mysticism|
The chief advantage of the modern approach, so far as Western health professionals are concerned, is that it can easily be assimilated to the rest of their training. Also, it has given rise to some new forms of treatment, such as periosteal acupuncture, that did not form part of the traditional system.
Traditionalists sometimes claim that modern medical acupuncture can treat 'simple' problems but that the traditional version is needed for more complicated situations. There is no good evidence to support these claims. Practitioners of the modern version treat a wide range of conditions successfully. Contrary to what is often believed, acupuncture in China today is mostly done in the modern way. The journal Acupuncture in Medicine, a BMJ publication that only publishes papers on modern acupuncture, has many contributions by Chinese authors.
Acupuncture is not a complete system of medicine but rather a therapeutic tool that can be used by a wide range of health professionals. Its main advantages are that it works in some disorders for which there is little or no effective treatment and that, in competent hands, it is relatively safe. Much of acupuncture is concerned with pain relief but it can also be used for certain non-painful disorders.
To get an idea of the approach on which these courses are based, please see the FAQ and my article Where to place the needles and for how long?
Course participants receive a copy of my textbook All You Need to Know About Acupuncture.
Course participants are strongly advised to obtain immunisation against hepatitis B. Note that this does not provide complete immunity from infection.