Perspectives of physicians on medical acupuncture in Lebanon: a preliminary study

Acupunct Med. 2020 Dec 15;964528420968835. doi: 10.1177/0964528420968835. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: There are no regulations governing the practice of acupuncture in Lebanon as it is not yet registered as a profession. To our knowledge, no studies have ever been conducted in Lebanon regarding the practice of acupuncture. The purpose of this preliminary study was to explore the knowledge of Lebanese physicians about acupuncture, with the intent of conducting larger scale studies and developing strategies aimed at refining this knowledge in the future, and the ultimate goal of setting guidelines for acupuncture practice in Lebanon.

Methods: An online survey looking into physicians' knowledge of acupuncture, its mechanisms of action, effectiveness, indications and safety, and physicians' understanding of its concepts, was circulated to 4651 physicians registered in the Lebanese orders of physicians.

Results: One hundred forty-nine physicians (3.2%) completed the survey. Most study respondents stated that they were unaware of the difference between traditional Chinese acupuncture (TCA) and Western medical acupuncture (WMA). Overall, 30% of respondents had personally used and/or referred patients for acupuncture. Physicians who had personally tried acupuncture were more likely to refer patients for acupuncture (p < 0.001). Those who know the difference between WMA and TCA were more likely to have tried or referred for acupuncture (p = 0.004). 72% believed that acupuncture and other integrative medicine modules should be introduced in medical curricula in Lebanon.

Conclusion: Interest in acupuncture among physicians in Lebanon appears to be limited, based on the low response rate. Among respondents, physicians who had tried or referred patients for acupuncture appeared to be more well informed about different acupuncture styles.

Keywords: Lebanon; acupuncture; medical education; physician; survey; training.