30th Birthday Celebration For York College Teaching Acupuncture And Nutrition
The Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA), based in York, is celebrating a big milestone this year – its 30th birthday.
Founded in 1988 by Professor Hugh MacPherson and Nicholas Haines, the College trains over 30 students each year to become qualified acupuncturists; as well as teaching 25 students yearly on its Nutrition Masters course, which was added in 2008.
The College also offers online Masters courses for complementary healthcare practitioners from all over the world.
Priding itself on its research activity, the NCA boasts a proud series of historical ‘firsts’ including being the first UK teaching institution of any kind to offer a University degree in acupuncture; the first to offer a postgraduate degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine; and the first to achieve professional accreditation for each of its Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy courses.
Read more as we catch up with Professor MacPherson – who became the UK’s first ever Professor of Acupuncture Research when appointed by the University of York last year – as he discusses the NCA’s 30-year history and impact:
How and why did you originally get involved in the NCA?
I was in China with Nick Haines; we were working as acupuncturists in a clinic in Nanjing, and we thought ‘the North of England doesn’t have any acupuncture training’ and realised there was a gap. We were very excited by acupuncture and its potential, so when we came back from China we said, ‘let’s set up the College’.
We had no students or premises but we were hugely inspired and we attracted 21 students who signed up to a three-year programme, even though there was no track record. So those students had faith in us and in the acupuncture training we offered, and that was the beginning of the College.
How have you seen the NCA develop over the last 30 years? What impact has the College had?
In terms of impact, it’s been massive. We’ve been training approximately 30 students a year for 30 years, and the North of England is now populated with acupuncturists we’ve trained. So, that’s a huge impact on the number of patients who’ve experienced and benefited from acupuncture as a result of the College.
In terms of the College development. In the first year we were teaching out of a hotel, and had no premises. After a year we had premises and set up the NCA clinic. Then we were the first college in the country to get professional accreditation through the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board.
We were also the first college to offer a Masters degree in acupuncture, which was through the University of Wales in 1995. The College developed its acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine programmes, and then subsequently added training in ‘Nutritional Therapy’ as another main theme, which is now very successful too.
The addition of the online Masters programmes for practitioners has also been a very exciting development, enabling the College to build an international student base.
How have you seen the status of acupuncture itself develop since the NCA’s inception?
Well, 30 years ago, acupuncture was pretty fringe and since then it’s moved steadily into the mainstream, to the point where you wouldn’t now think of it as a fringe modality.
Also, there’s been massive development in the evidence base. So now there’s tens of thousands of academic papers, and when you collate these papers and draw conclusions, there’s very solid evidence that acupuncture works for chronic pain, that it’s more than a placebo, and we’re beginning to develop stronger evidence for other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, depression and fertility.
So, the evidence base has expanded in a way that we’d never have guessed 30 years ago.
What do you see for the future regards the NCA? Did you expect it to be around for 30 years, and will it be around for another 30 years?
When we set the College up we had a three-year plan; we wanted to train the first students on that first three-year programme. We didn’t have long term goals or plans.
It’s wonderful the College is still going, and still at the forefront of the field, in terms of its status and quality of its programmes.
So, what do I think about the future? There’s the potential to think of other modalities to offer, or how to expand its existing provision across Chinese Medicine and Nutrition.
I expect the College to be around in 30 years’ time; it’s shown already how adaptable it is to changing climates, and I look forward to seeing it in good shape 30 years from now.
To find out more about the Northern College of Acupuncture, and its courses – contact Denise Magson on (0) 1904 343309 or visit https://chinese-medicine.co.uk/
30th Birthday Celebration For York College Teaching Acupuncture And Nutrition, 16th February 2018, 14:47 PM