History of AACMA

It is widely accepted that acupuncture has been the spearhead in the development of TCM in Australia, and therefore most TCM practitioners in Australia are primarily acupuncturists. However, the practice of Chinese herbal medicine in Australia is growing rapidly and over 80% of qualified acupuncturists also prescribe Chinese herbal medicines.

Brief History of AACMA
The TCM Profession in Australia
Structure and Administration
Membership Demographics

Brief History of AACMA

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) is the primary national mechanism for regulating and representing acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners in Australia. AACMA evolved from an amalgamation in 1995 between the Australian Acupuncture Association Ltd and the Acupuncture Ethics and Standards Organisation Ltd.

The Australian Acupuncture Association Ltd (AAcA) was established in 1973 and was the first association in Australia formed by acupuncture practitioners to represent and promote the profession of acupuncture. As TCM developed in Australia, most acupuncture practitioners undertook post-graduate studies in Chinese herbal medicine and in 1995 the AAcA began accrediting practitioners in Chinese herbal medicine.

The Acupuncture Ethics and Standards Organisation Ltd (AESO) was formed in 1977 to provide a mechanism to identify and accredit bona fide acupuncture practitioners for health fund rebates.

On 1 March 1995, the Australian Acupuncture Association Ltd and the Acupuncture Ethics and Standards Organisation Ltd formally completed an amalgamation resulting in the vast majority of qualified TCM practitioners in Australia becoming united under the one national professional association. In 1996, the Australian Acupuncture Association Ltd merged with and incorporated the members of the Acupuncture Association of South Australia (AASA) which had been the largest professional TCM association in the State of South Australia.

These amalgamations have provided genuine national standards and representation for acupuncture and Chinese medicine practitioners in Australia, independent of any commercial interest, factional alliance, or ethnic bias. Regulation of the profession nationally has been strengthened with most practitioners now effectively regulated by the one national body that has both accreditation and disciplinary functions.

The new structure has provided a clear point of contact for governments, institutions, and private bodies seeking to identify and communicate with the majority of the TCM profession nationally.

In 1998, the Australian Acupuncture Association Ltd changed its name to the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd. It is the largest professional association in Australia, and now represents over ninety per cent of qualified acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners nationally.

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The TCM profession in Australia

There are over 4000 TCM practitioners in Australia, of which around 2,500 meet AACMA's standard. The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd is the largest and most established national TCM professional association, representing over 90% of qualified TCM practitioners in Australia.

AACMA has been at the forefront of all major developments for the TCM profession in Australia, and has set the national benchmark standards for both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine education and practice in Australia.

Whilst the vast majority of members of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd are qualified acupuncture practitioners, at least 80% also prescribe Chinese herbal medicines as part of their health care practice.

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Structure and Administration

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd is managed by a Board of Directors, elected by and from the membership. All fully accredited practitioner members are eligible to vote and stand for positions on the Board. Click here to view the constitution of the AACMA. You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. Download it free from Adobe.com.

Whilst managed by a single Board, the functions of the organisation are delineated into two broad areas:

  • Representation of the profession to all levels of government, non-government bodies, and business on all matters concerning TCM, international liaison, continuing professional development programs, and the provision of member services.
  • Setting and administering standards for practitioner accreditation and ethical and professional conduct, and the investigation and determination of complaints about alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics.

The Board of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd is a national Board consisting of representatives from all States and Territories in Australia.

Click here for details of the current Board of Directors.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd also operates a full-time national office. National administration for the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd is located in Brisbane, Queensland. Click here for contact details of the AACMA National Office.

In addition to full-time employed staff, the Board engages consultants and advisers to fulfil a range of specialist functions. Among these consultants are Australian and China trained TCM practitioners, with Bachelor degree, Masters, and PhD qualifications.

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Membership Demographics

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd represents over 2200 members, of which over 1800 are accredited practitioners, while the remainder are student members.

Accredited practitioners are located in all Australian States and Territories, as well as a number of overseas-based practitioners.

The majority of members are located in the three Eastern States (New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria), South Australia, Western Australia the Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. AACMA is not only the largest TCM association nationally, it also represents the majority of qualified practitioners in all Australian States.

The membership of AACMA is drawn from both Australian and overseas trained practitioners from a wide range of ethnic and social backgrounds.

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