Acupuncture has a very good safety record and this is reflected in low insurance costs. The cost of insuring yourself to practice acupuncture in the UK is about £150 a year and this is the same whether you have a certificate from a five-year degree course, a one-year part-time course or possibly an even shorter course. Insurers do ask for details but what their requirements are is not always clear and tends to vary. We have an arrangement with Balens (the best-known CAM insurers) that our graduates can obtain cover.
Critics of shorter courses in acupuncture (most of whom actually have their own agenda) often claim that a short course will not allow for sufficient health and safety training. Yet they fail to explain what it is that takes so long or to supply any evidence to support their contention. In fact since most practitioners have done longer courses and treat more patients overall one could argue that statistically longer qualified practitioners are more likely to have an accident.
Of course, health and safety is number one priority and every acupuncturists first consideration. But it is actually quite straightforward and so long as you adhere to the rules it is simple to implement and maintain. There are essentially 3 parts to acupuncture safety:
Needles/disposal and good hygiene.
Needle depths and needling technique.
Knowing when patients should not have treatment until they have been referred to a GP or hospital.
In fact, most accidents with acupuncture involve things not related to needles or needling. Like falling off couches, falling down stairs or coincidental problems caused by pre-existing and unrelated conditions. One of the most important tips I give my students therefore is to keep an eye out for the unexpected.
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