In the UK traditional acupuncture is not regulated. Healthcare professionals can practice acupuncture after attending just a weekend course.
In Canada, Australia and East Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Vietnam acupuncture is regulated and certain standards of training must be meet in order to practice acupuncture. Only regulated healthcare professionals that practise traditional Chinese medicines can practice in these countries.
In the United Kingdom, accredited regulatory bodies such as the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) regulate the acupuncture profession and are in favour of statutorily regulated acupuncturists of different styles of acupuncture. Members of the BAcC are the closet to a professional governing board that regulates acupuncture and are regulated by the professional standards authority. Some Chinese medicine practitioner are members of other working groups such as the acupuncture society.
Western medical acupuncture is governed under existing western medical associations such as the GMC. For this reason some insurance companies will only allow their members to have acupuncture treatment from a western medical acupuncturist even though they have just done a weekend course.
The time is takes to train in the different styles of acupuncture varies greatly, from 30 hours for western style to 3,500 for traditional styles.