Exploring pedagogical dissonance in including accupuncture treatment approach into a Western biomedical evidence-based physiotherapy curriculum

Ana Anjos, Lieselotte Corten, Nuno Goncalves, Soraya Maart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the past several years, acupuncture has been used more often to manage pain, either in conjunction with other therapies or as a complementary treatment. Evidence also points to a rise in physiotherapists’ interest in acupuncture.

Main Objectives: The goal of performing a cross-sectional survey was to identify the characteristics of physiotherapists who use acupuncture in their relevant practice and also to explore what views participants had regarding the inclusion of acupuncture in the physiotherapy curriculum.

Methodology: A quantitative cross-sectional survey methodology was used in the investigation. Through pilot studies and expert input, an online survey was developed and validated. The South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP), the Physiotherapy Association of South Africa (PASA), and the Emirates Physiotherapy Society (EPS) used email and social media to distribute the questionnaire to physiotherapists in order to gather data. These countries were specifically chosen based on language and researcher familiarity with the organizations. One hundred eighty-one physiotherapists who were members of the appropriate professional associations in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates were included in the study as a convenient sample. Active physiotherapists who have treated patients within the previous six months and consented to take the survey were eligible to participate. The study had no exclusion criteria.

Conclusion: The survey had varied results, although most respondents recognized the value of acupuncture in the practice of physiotherapy. However, the majority of participants did not think that physiotherapy alone is ineffective. Overall, the survey results showed that some respondents preferred postgraduate acupuncture education over including acupuncture in undergraduate education. Notably, despite the majority of physiotherapists having bachelor’s degrees, the survey data showed that many of them possessed practical experience in acupuncture.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalNew Emirates Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2023


  • General Medicine


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