Since the first of July 2012 it has become much easier to find a qualified acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist. These professions are now registered the same as other registered health professions such as doctors, dentists, nurses and physiotherapists. This is a unique event not only because it means a new health profession is registered in Queensland, but also because Chinese medicine is the only complementary medicine included in the national registration scheme. The registration board sets standards which practitioners must meet in order to gain and maintain registration, and also provides the public with the accountability that goes with a robust complaints mechanism should the need arise.
In Queensland it has historically been more common to refer to practitioners as an Acupuncturist and/or Chinese herbalist. With registration both of these practitioners will be registered by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia as ‘Chinese medicine practitioners’. They will also be registered specifically as an ‘acupuncturist’ and/or ‘Chinese herbal medicine practitioner’ and/or ‘Chinese herbal dispenser’ depending on their qualifications, so look out for these new titles.
Acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine originated in China over 2000 years ago and was first practised in Australia during the gold rush in the 1860’s. It grew in popularity during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Since then the profession has continued to develop with degree level education now being offered in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, funding for these services by private health insurers, and increasing acceptance and use by the community. There are now three Professors of Chinese medicine in Australian universities and at least six Associate Professors providing a strong foundation for ongoing research. It is this research base which allows practitioners to combine the latest innovations from acupuncture and Chinese medical research with the long established foundation of traditional Chinese medical knowledge. Australia is the first country in the western world to introduce the regulation of Acupuncture & Chinese medicine through registration which indicates the impact that Chinese medicine is having on our health system.
What does registration mean to the local community? Registration makes it easier to identify qualified acupuncturists and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners. To find out if a practitioner is registered by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia look up the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority website at http://www.ahpra.gov.au/.