Article Text

An international survey on the current use of electroacupuncture
  1. David Mayor1,
  2. Mark Bovey2
  1. 1Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, UK
  2. 2British Acupuncture Council, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to David Mayor, 86 Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6SJ, UK; davidmayor{at}


Background Despite many research publications, it is unclear how widely electroacupuncture (EA) and related modalities are used in everyday practice. It is also uncertain who uses them, for what conditions, and with what results. We aimed to survey practitioners about their use of and training in EA. We also sought to determine how much the open-access English-language database at (EAK) is used, or might be used in the future, if updated.

Methods A survey was developed using several rounds of consultation with a focus group and others. Professional acupuncture membership organisations were contacted to assess their willingness to notify their members. The survey was tested before its launch.

Results Thirty-four professional organisations agreed to participate, together with two research bodies and six UK training institutes. Potentially, around 50 000 professionals practising acupuncture knew about the survey, to which there were 768 responses. Data were analysed for respondent demographics. Around 70% used EA, but <25% used related electrotherapy modalities. Men were more likely than women to use more than one modality. Only around 7% of respondents used non-traditional acupuncture modalities without prior training. However, awareness and usage of the EAK database was low, although around 80% of respondents stated they might use the database in the future, primarily to improve clinical practice.

Conclusions To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest survey on EA and related modalities ever conducted. As such, its results are likely to be of interest to acupuncture and other practitioners (whether or not they use EA), patients, policymakers, and funding agencies.


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