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'From Outcast to Inboard': The Transmission, Professionalisation and Integration of Acupuncture Into British Medical Culture

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Early forms of body piercing to move the body's qi have their social and cultural origins over 2,000 years ago in China, thousands of miles away from British soil, where today modern Chinese acupuncture is used by approximately 16 per cent of the public and 37 per cent of primary-care practices. This process of cross-cultural assimilation has taken place over a number of phases, spanning over 400 years; and has been a result of interested individuals and particular historical occurrences. Today, acupuncture is at the forefront of the state regulation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), which seems to illustrates just how far acupuncture has integrated into British medical culture. However, a closer look at this debate reveals not only serious flaws in the processes of professionalisation and integration of acupuncture, but it also raises significant doubts as to their merits.


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