Australia – ICMART Activities

By Dr. Chin Chan MD, Bundall, Queensland, Australia, May 11, 2012

Australian Medical Acupuncture College

The Australian Medical Acupuncture Society (A.M.A.S.) was founded in September 1973 and became The Australian Medical Acupuncture College (A.M.A.C.) in 1998.


The Society

In the early years, we were trying to find our place within a western medical environment.There were many new issues to explore, especially the fight for acceptance not only by the Government but among our medical colleagues. The Society had to expand in order to achieve this goal Australia-wide.

As a first step, our Society initiated communication with the Government with regard to recognition of Acupuncture as a worthwhile adjunct to conventional Western Medical therapy.  At the same time our activities were publicised throughout Australia to recruit other medical acupuncture practitioners to help us to foster our aims and objectives.

In 1977, the New South Wales Branch of the Society was formed. In 1978 the Queensland Branch and the South Australian Branch were formed. In 1979, the Western Australian branch was established.


The College

The Society became The Australian Medical Acupuncture College in 1998.


The Government

The first official recognition of Acupuncture by the Government came in 1982. After many years of negotiation and canvassing item 980 was introduced to enable Medicare payment for medical acupuncture treatment.

The first National Health & Medical Research Council report on Acupuncture was published by the Government in 1974 and the second in 1988. The content reflected the acceptance of acupuncture as having a proven scientific basis and therefore recognised it as a worthwhile modality of treatment in Western Medical practice.

Over the years, since the formation of our Society, we have established a good working relationship with the Government, and have been consulted on many occasions on matters pertaining to Medical Acupuncture.


Australian Medical Association

Since the 1980’s, our Society has been affiliated with the Australian Medical Association as a Special Interest Group. It was through years of continuing discussion and representation by our members that the Association finally recognised the importance of Acupuncture and included it in their list of medical services in 1991.



As there was growing interest in Acupuncture in the mid 1970’s, the Medical Education Committee of the Victoria branch of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, in conjunction with A.M.A.S., initiated an Acupuncture teaching programme in 1976.

In the years to follow, many distinguished international speakers were also invited to lecture to our members. They included experts from Asia, Europe, New Zealand and North America.

These people have not only helped us to achieve a higher standard of education but also stimulated our interest in Acupuncture research. By the middle of the second decade Introductory Acupuncture Courses were being offered by our Society throughout Australia.

Acupuncture courses have been established within recognised teaching hospitals and tertiary institutions.



The AMAC Fellowship examination was established in 1978. Over the years new requirements were implemented to keep abreast of the advancement of acupuncture.

The concept of “Preceptorship” was introduced in 1984, with guidelines drawn up for its appointment. Case studies and case documentation were introduced to promote self education. In 1992, a new examination system was introduced to comply with the format of other post-graduate medical organisations. Since 2007 the examination includes a literature review of a chosen topic.


The Intenational Scene

The First Australian International Acupuncture Congress was held in Sydney in July 1978, the Second in Melbourne in 1983. Four years later the Third International Congress was held in Perth with post congress tours to Singapore and Malaysia. In 1991, the Fourth International Congress was held at the Gold Coast, Queensland. The second Pan Pacific Medical Acupuncture Forum was held in 1996 on the Gold Coast, Queensland. The ICMART Congress was held in Sydney in 2004. The sixth Pan Pacific Medical Acupuncture Forum was held in 2012 on the Gold Coast Queensland. These events are important highlights of our Society’s/College’s activities. They not only provided a forum for the exchange of knowledge but also enhanced our association with other International Acupuncture groups.

In the early 1980’s AMAC was represented on the WHO Committee for Standardisation of Acupuncture Nomenclature.

In the late 1980’s we further increased our ties with other International Medical Acupuncture groups from the Northern hemisphere. We participated in the International Standardisation of Acupuncture Teaching in the English speaking world and were involved with their preparation of a Core Curriculum for Acupuncture Teaching and International Acupuncture Examination. We also played an active part in the inauguration of the Pan-Pacific Forum involving Medical Acupuncture organisations from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America.

In 2001 The College joined the ICMART (International Council for Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques).


The Four Decades

From 18 members in 1974 we have now reached a membership of over 600. AMAC is proud to have contributed to the teaching and recognition of the Art and Science of Medical Acupuncture in Australia.


Mission Statement

The Australian Medical Acupuncture College promotes acupuncture by medical practitioners as a safe, effective and unique modality of treatment within the framework of western medicine to achieve better health outcomes for all Australians.


Aims and Objectives of the College

1. To advance the scientific study and research of acupuncture in Australia.

2. To benefit the general community by encouraging the use and practice of acupuncture in all its various forms.

3. To promote high standards of professional practice and ethics through training and continuing education.

4. To promote the dissemination of knowledge about acupuncture.

5. To maintain and protect the general interests of the members of the College by representing their views to all bodies who influence the practice of acupuncture in Australia.