The scope of practice for acupuncture

We provide information here on the scope of acupuncture practice.

The practice of acupuncture

The practice of Acupuncture means the stimulation of specific points on the surface of the body by the insertion and removal of fine solid needles.

It may include other affiliated techniques, according to the principles of traditional oriental medicine and in accordance with the codes and guides of professional conduct and safe practice. The purpose of this practice is to restore the balance of energies within the body, to control or reduce pain and to promote, restore and maintain health.

A.   Central/core techniques of acupuncture

Needling – the insertion of filiform needles in order to stimulate specific points.

Moxibustion – the burning of mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) on or near the skin to stimulate the acupuncture points.

Mechanical – the use of mechanical devices such as cups and 7 star hammers, in accordance with the principles of traditional oriental medicine.

B.   Affiliated techniques and specialised areas of expertise

Massage/manual – the use of oriental manual and energetic therapies such as tuina, qi gong and Shiatsu according to the principles of traditional oriental medicine.

Electrical – the use of electrical devices for the assessment and treatment of acupuncture points, such as electro-acupuncture and tens devices, ion pumps and magnets.

Thermal – the use of thermal devices in assessment and treatment, eg infra-red.

Nutritional – dietary guidelines according to the principles of traditional oriental medical theory.


The scope of acupuncture does not include the practice of physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathic techniques, nor the use or prescription of drugs, medications or herbal medicines (when the latter are mixed and prepared with raw herbs).

Your insurance

The BAcC defines the scope of acupuncture practice as that which is included in the original accredited training together with appropriate further training involving specialised techniques and intended to extend treatment options. It is the responsibility of the individual practitioner to ensure that any extended training falls within the scope of acupuncture and is in accordance with all BAcC Codes.

All of the techniques listed above are currently within the range of core and affiliated techniques permitted by the BAcC Code of Professional Conduct. Practices covered in your professional training, such as your licentiate or degree, are automatically covered by the BAcC group insurance policy. If you are planning to undertake further training to extend your treatment options then you should ensure that you look at applying for adjunct therapy cover.


Applying for adjunct therapy cover

Find out more about how you can save money through adjunct therapy cover

Cover restrictions

Sometimes adjunct therapy cover is subject to certain restrictions that need to be observed