Acupuncturists Meet in Berlin

The International Council of Acupuncture and Related Techniques (ICMART) held its 2001 symposium in Berlin on June 14-17, to discuss the growing worldwide interest in the traditional Chinese therapy.

Over 1,000 acupuncture experts from over 40 countries attended the symposium to exchange their latest findings in acupuncture therapy and research.

"Acupuncture is now an unshakable part of our medicine," ICMART President Walburg Maric said.

The ICMART, an association of international acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) organizations established in 1983, has 53 members in the world, including members in most European countries, the United States and Canada. The ICMART said it will enroll more members outside Europe within the next few years.

"Two decades ago, acupuncture was essentially unknown in the United States and conventional medicine regarded it as a quaint form of folk medicine," professor Richard Chapman of the University of Utah of the United States said. But now the natural therapy is popular in the nation and receives government financing. The U.S. government will spend US$ 100 million this year for acupuncture research.

Germany has some 500,000 acupuncture doctors. Every year some 1.5 million patients visit acupuncture doctors to treat their pain, asthma, allergies, addictions, and many other acute or chronic diseases. Some 1,000 Chinese Medicine clinics are scattered throughout Germany.

"Many doctors and patients have had success with acupuncture and many successful individual applications of acupuncture have been recorded," said German Minister of Health Ulla Schmidt. She said her ministry would continue to offer help for acupuncture research and therapy in Germany.

Five big acupuncture research centers are now financed by the German government. German insurance companies spend some 600 million marks (US$ 260 million) a year for acupuncture therapy.

Like China, more countries have brought acupuncture into the curriculum of medical universities.

Amid the rapid developments of acupuncture, many countries have begun to set up quality standards. In Australia, an active college structure has been set up for oversees education and training. At present, European countries are working on "European Standards" of medical acupuncture in education, practice and research.

(Xinhua News Agency 06/19/2001)

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