Complementary therapy, the new rules

The Health Secretary has recently announced that herbal medicines, traditional chinese medicine and acupuncture are to have new safeguards instated to protect the people that use them.

In addition to this it has also been announced that the NHS are to launch a pilot scheme for acupuncture and other complementary treatments for lower back pain.

Herbal medicines

All practitioners who supply unlicensed herbal medicines to members of the public in England and Wales will have to register with the complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham says in a statement: “Emerging evidence clearly demonstrates that the public needs better protection, but in a way that is measured and does not place unreasonable extra burdens on practitioners.


Similar measures are being considered for acupuncture treatments and the health secretary plans to discuss matters with Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Chief executive of British Acupuncture Council Mike O’Farell has said this is an encouraging development. “However, the British Acupuncture Council still firmly believes that statutory regulation of acupuncture practitioners will provide the best protection for the public and will continue to work towards this on behalf of our 3,000 members,” he adds.

Lower back pain trial

The Health Secretary has also announced plans to pilot a new scheme throughout England which is to look at the benefits of providing access to complementary and alternative medicine for lower back pain.

O’Farrell says: “We welcome the proposal for a pilot scheme to assess the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of lower back pain and look forward to actively participating in it. As made evident by the NICE guidelines issued last year, acupuncture has been found to be very effective in treating patients with this condition.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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