NEW DELHI: Acupuncture — the Chinese method of curing diseases by piercing the body with needles — is set to get the government’s stamp as an independent system of medicine in India.
A 10-member committee, headed by a former director general of the Indian Council for Medical Research, has been formed to promote and regulate the alternative therapy, which many practitioners of modern medicine view sceptically due to lack of sufficient scientific evidence.
The committee, headed by V M Katoch, has been given three months to come up with suggestions, after which acupuncture may be taught at government and private institutions at the Bachelor and Masters levels. At present, very few institutes offer certificate courses in the therapy, which is practised by nearly 70,000 people in India, most of them quacks.
Permission to practise acupuncture in the country was given in 2003, and an inter-departmental panel formed in 2016 to identify viable new systems of medicine had recommended it for further promotion, along with six-or-seven other forms of therapy, according to an order by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued on Thursday.
“Acupuncture... can be accepted as an independent system of healthcare for the indications for which there is evidence, and expertise exists for teaching, training and certification,” the order said.
‘To be on a par with allopathy’
“The recognition would mean acupuncture would be treated on a par with allopathy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani and Sidhha,” said Raman Kapur, vice-chairman of the committee to promote and regulate acupuncture in India