Acupuncture In Physiotherapy Group

Mission Statement

'Acupuncture is a safe, effective form of therapy in it's own right as well as being an effective way of complementing and enhancing conventional medical treatment.

The mission of the Acupuncture Association of the South African Society of Physiotherapy is to promote and ensure the integration and expansion of acupuncture within the practice of physiotherapy, and the health care delivery systems of Southern Africa, through professional and public education, development of standards of practice, advocacy and research.

It is our belief, as ethical practitioners, that our professional practice must be in the best interests of our patients'.

office address:

31 Cunningham Road




Acupuncture became a part of South African physiotherapy practice in 1983 after several physiotherapists undertook their initial acupuncture training under the tutelage of doctors George Lewith and Julian Kenyon of Southampton, England. These eminent doctors had undertaken extensive training in the subject in Mainland China and during their visit to South Africa changed the thinking of a considerable number of health professionals, which included medical doctors, chiropractors, homeopaths and physiotherapists.

A demand for acupuncture training of physiotherapists arose in the middle 1980's and courses conducted by physiotherapists for physiotherapists were instituted in 1985.

The South African Physiotherapists Acupuncture Association was formed in 1986 and this Association evolved into a special interest group of the South African Society of Physiotherapy in 1990, with a change of title to the Acupuncture Association of the South African Society of Physiotherapy (AASASP). This process effectively recognised acupuncture (and its variants electro-acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion and laser-punture etc.) as being within the scope of physiotherapy.

The AASASP became a founder member of the International Acupuncture Association of Physical Therapists (IAAPT) a sub-group of the World Confederation for Physiotherapy - in 1991, and currently has a member (Charles Liggins) on the Executive Committee and the Education Committee of IAAPT. In addition Charles Liggins is the Editor of the IAAPT journal/newsletter "Meridian Worldwide".

The formation of the AASASP has enabled physiotherapists to take advantage of the acupuncture training courses organized with the assistance of the Association. Since 1986 training courses organised with the assistance of the Association. Since 1986 training courses run on a modular basis have been conducted by Charles Liggins and Roy Mitchell. As the practice of acupuncture was regulated by act of Parliament in November 2000 (Act No 50 of 2000 published on 1 December 2000 in Gazette No 21825), physiotherapists who have completed the course are now applying for registration as acupuncturists with the Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Health Service Professions Council of South Africa.

In relation to the wide ranging nature of the scope of practice of physiotherapy, the use of the various systems of treatment carried out by physiotherapists is also wide ranging. With reference to acupuncture most physiotherapists use it for pain management, as it is extremely effective in the management of nociceptive pain. This includes, among many other conditions, recent injuries and sport related injuries, myofascial pain syndromes and the arthritides.

In situations where rehabilitation is inhibited or hindered by pain, acupuncture is used to manage the pain, often when the usual methods, including medication have produced disappointing results, for example amputation stump and phantom limb pain.

Physiotherapists working in Pain Management Clinics use acupuncture (usually electro-acupuncture) for the management of a range of conditions characterised by neurogenic pain, for example causalgic conditions caused by bullet wound and other injuries.

The above are a few examples of physiotherapists major use of acupuncture. This system of treatment also has benefits and is used in the physiotherapeutic management of neurological conditions (e.g. hemiplegia, Parkinson's disease and spinal injuries); respiratory conditions (e.g. sinusitis and bronchial asthma; dermatological disorders; addictions and complications thereof (e.g. chronic bronchitis - tobacco and peripheral neuropathies - alcohol); stress related conditions; psychiatric conditions and many other conditions within the scope of physiotherapy.

Provincial Branches

Gauteng Limpopo Mpumalanga Kwazulu Natal Free State Western Cape Eastern Cape Northern Cape North West