The State of Acupuncture in Australia

The Current State of Integration: Acupuncture and “bio-medicine.”

Acupuncture is taking its place among treatments for a range of conditions throughout the world.

  • In Australia, ten percent of the population has had acupuncture treatment by physicians or acupuncturists in private clinics.
  • Over 10 million visits are made to acupuncturists every year.
  • 80 percent of general medical practitioners regularly refer their patients for acupuncture treatments.
  • All private Australian health insurance plans offer rebates for acupuncture.
  • Third-party payment is available in six of the eight Australian states and territories.
  • The system of statutory regulations is quickly developing and have been implemented in the State of Victoria.
  • Most of the users of acupuncture were born in Australia, had completed post-secondary education, were covered by private health insurance, and lived in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.
  • The Chinese Medicine Association and the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria have approved and accredited six acupuncture degree courses.

Clinical trials of acupuncture treatments are being conducted.

  • For treatment allergic rhinitis.
  • For pain.
  • In woman’s health.

Expansion of the Acupuncture Profession.
Recent development of acupuncture in Australia demonstrates that when acupuncture is adequately and appropriately evaluated, acupuncture begins to integrate into mainstream health care in Australia.

In the past 20 years, acupuncture practice has expanded enormously. There are currently 4 thousand registered acupuncture practitioners registered with the Chinese Medical Board of Australia. The titles for practitioners have are protected titles.

  • Acupuncturist.
  • Oriental medicine practitioner.
  • Chinese medicine practitioner.

Minimal educational requirements have been specified for registration. The system of formal education and training has been established.

  • A Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree in a related field is the minimal requirement.
  • Nine undergraduate programs and three graduate program are training acupuncture practitioners.
  • Three public universities three private colleges form the foundation of the professional training system.
  • The public universities offer Masters-degree and Doctor of Philosophy programs.
  • This training is approved by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.

Qualifications for Practice in TCM and Acupuncture in Australia.

In order to be recognized as an acupuncture practitioner in Australia, you must meet these requirements.

  • Continuously hold registration with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.
  • Continuously hold a current First Aid Certificate (HLTAID003).
  • Meet the training education requirements that include: A Bachelor Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Acupuncture from the Endeavour College of Natural Health, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Southern School of Natural Therapies, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, or Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Special Relationship between Australia and Chinese Medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture have a history of 150 years in Australia, because of the high level of Chinese immigration. The initial transfer of TCM to Australia came from Chinese migrants who came to Australia searching for gold in the middle of the 1800s.

  • In 1867, there were 50 TCM practitioners in Australia.
  • In 1970, the Australian Government was sponsoring full health insurance provided by registered Western practitioners.

By comparison, most Americans date the arrival of acupuncture in the United States as 1972, when President Nixon traveled to China. A New York Times journalist, James Reston, who was in the press party, fell ill with appendicitis. The appendectomy was performed in a Chinese hospital. The doctors administered acupuncture to relieve his pain.

  • Reston introduced the idea of acupuncture with his article once he returned to the west.
  • There were isolated experiments in acupuncture in Europe and the United States. Published papers were in American journals since the early 1800s. But there was little public notice paid the practice.
  • The practice of Chinese medicine in the United States was illegal until the early 1970s when Barbra Bernie attended a school of Chinese Medicine in the UK and became the first licensed Caucasian acupuncturist in the United States.

Europe discovered acupuncture a little earlier. The first acupuncture society was organized,

  • In France in 1945.
  • In England in the 1960s.

The Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine has the mission to unlock the power of TCM through the delivery of high quality accredited education. Please contact us to learn more.