We recently caught up with BAcC members and acupuncture research podcasters, Nick Lowe and Spod Dutton, to hear more about how they’re trying to make acupuncture research both exciting and relevant, getting the facts about acupuncture out to a wider audience.
So, how do you both know each other?
We were introduced to each other by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) at the time when the BAcC was starting to promote the idea around putting an app into clinics, with the aim of collecting patient reported outcomes. Nick had already been cultivating this idea for a couple of years, so we collaborated and went on to form ACU-Track.
Have you always practiced acupuncture?
SP: I spent 30 years working with IT infrastructure and data before becoming fascinated with acupuncture and beginning my training in 2014.
NL: I have a background in martial arts and complementary health – this naturally guided my interest into acupuncture. I’ve been in practice for over 10 years and hold an MSc in acupuncture research.
How long have you both been members of BAcC?
SP: I joined the BAcC as a student member in the first year of my Lic.Ac at The Acupuncture Academy (TAA). TAA are extremely bought into what the BAcC gives to our profession, so it seemed like the right thing to do. As soon as I qualified in 2017, I joined as a full member.
NL: I was originally a member of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) as my training was with Middlesex University. I have been a BAcC member for over three years.
Why do you think research is so fundamental to the promotion of acupuncture?
There is already a significant evidence base for acupuncture that the majority of the conventional healthcare field and general public are generally not aware of! So, a major goal of the podcast is to provide an accessible format to communicate the existing evidence base for acupuncture to a wider audience. Acupuncture is often seen as an ‘alternative’ and not of equal value and effectiveness to conventional treatments, such as physiotherapy and medication. It is not commonly perceived as an evidence-based treatment option, which often outperforms conventional treatments in effectiveness and safety in clinical trials. So, we want to try and change that perception by discussing the evidence in engaging conversations with the leading experts in the field.
Why a podcast?
The idea of the podcast was to deliver facts about acupuncture to a wide audience and in an accessible format. The more exposure acupuncture gets, the more people are going to benefit from it, and this can only be a good thing for our profession. We also wanted to provide a platform for the leading researchers in the field to discuss the implications of their findings and how they can help inform real world clinical practice for our practitioner listeners. We are passionate about making acupuncture research both exciting and relevant for all the practitioners out there treating patients.
Why do you think people should tune in?
For the ‘new-to-acupuncture’, the podcast aims to be easy listening but to deliver acupuncture science in a way that any listener can understand. We hope that some people who listen will be intrigued enough to research further. For those who are familiar with acupuncture already, either as practitioners or patients, the same is true. We want these listeners to enjoy, understand and perhaps explore further. The podcast is an especially useful tool to help practitioner and student listeners become more research literate, so they are better armed to discuss the potential benefits of acupuncture with their patients, local GPs and the wider public.
How do you choose your guest speakers?
We have tried to select speakers who have a particular place with acupuncture research. They might have a particular unique specialist area of acupuncture science, or they might have a leading role at an organisational level relating to acupuncture research. Also, we select people who we think our listeners will enjoy listening to!
As numbers of listeners grow, where do you see the podcast in, say, a year’s time?
We hope that in a year’s time the podcast is still going strong, and we’re able to continue finding guests who are just as interesting and who are able to deliver more amazing acupuncture facts. We also hope that we can gain a wider audience amongst patients and other healthcare professionals to widen our reach beyond the acupuncture profession itself.
We have a list of dream speakers but most of them don’t know they’re on the list yet, so we’re going to keep that under our hat for now!
World Acupuncture Awareness Day 2022