The History of the British Academy of
Western medical Acupuncture
George trained as a nurse and also served as a ‘medic’ in the Royal Air Force during the 1940’s and early 1950’s George Nieman decided to go to Canada following his demobilisation from the RAF.
His work in Canada lead him to visiting medical practitioners to discuss the prescribed medications used.
On a particular visit to a doctor in Vancouver he discovered the doctor was using a treatment to a patient, the like of, he had never seen before!
Leaving out a lot of the detail as to what happened at that point; George asked what it was the doctor was doing?
‘Acupuncture,’ was the reply, a word George had never heard of before.
The two men spent some time together with the doctor giving a full description of what acupuncture was and the conditions he was treating.
Further visits were made to the doctor by George Nieman when he was able to talk to many patients who had received acupuncture treatment when all else had failed, yet derived great benefit from it.
George decided to take up the study of this ancient therapy under the guidance of the Taiwanese teaching hospital in Taiwan, where he was eventually awarded a doctorate.
Dr (Ac) George Nieman
Justin Shanahan and George Nieman
He was met with a lot of derision and at times hostility by the medical profession but nevertheless his determination eventually led him to open a practice right in the centre of what is known as the Harley Street of the North of England, Rodney Street in Liverpool.
Patients were not referred to him and he began to feel it was all a waste of time. It then occurred to him that the Chinese Traditional approach in acupuncture hardly fitted in the orthodox approach in western medicine. He realised that to do what he had been taught to do within the ancient teaching of acupuncture would hardly if ever, be acceptable to the western trained doctor. The Chinese use of the ‘so-called’ meridian pulses, yin & yang energies, five elements and tongue diagnosis just did not apply to the modern environment of the west or to any thing known about the human body that could possibly apply to modern medicine. This would fly in the face of modern medicine and especially with the total disregard of modern western diagnosis.
He decided to research all of the points used upon the body for acupuncture treatment and look for any particular points that, when used together, would provide good results to a wide variety of conditions presented by patients.
Results in fact that not only provided great relief for patients, but also meant that they could be weaned off many, if not all of their prescribed medication. This in itself makes the patient feel so much better and also provides immense financial savings for the NHS, the best of both worlds.
To obtain patients George spent many evenings talking as guest speaker at Women’s Guilds, Women’s Institute groups, Men’s groups etc.
Now he began to find more and more good responses to his acupuncture treatment, western medical style. By this, he states that all patients were diagnosed by their own GP or Specialist and from that, treatment by acupuncture was applied to a very wide variety of conditions presented. This resulted in very good responses for the patients who, as mentioned previously had tried everything other possible approach to doctors, specialists etc for the conditions they suffered from.
Sometime during this period George met a Consultant Anaesthetists from Clatterbridge NHS hospital on Merseyside who had a Pain-Relief Clinic in the hospital.
A discussion took place between George and the consultant anaesthetists, Dr Derek Eastwood.
Dr Eastwood invited George to prove that acupuncture would do all
he had claimed it would by treating patients in the hospital. For the first five years George worked one day each week without any payment at all from the NHS. He was happy to have been given the opportunity to prove the great benefit of acupuncture to all those concerned.
Many patients were referred to George and he was offered a position as Consultant Acupuncturist for this NHS hospital where he remained until he retired at the age of seventy. He had spent eighteen years with them.
Over thirty years before this he decided he needed to teach other’s in the medical and nursing world how to practice this successful therapy. After consulting a solicitor he registered his training school as a charity. He did this because he was aware that if he made money from it, it would appear this was his only interest and not the fact that he saw the need for patients all over the country in need of an alternative treatment to that which they had been given without success by the NHS
He named the new organisation, ‘The British Academy of Western Acupuncture’.
His first student was a Chest Physician, Dr James Baxter. His reason for wanting to receive acupuncture training was because George had treated a number of children suffering from asthma to which they recovered when acupuncture was applied. Many of Dr Baxter’s patients were these very same children who, for all the effort made by him, had failed to respond to modern medicine.
Jim Baxter then brought in three local GPs for training and two nurses plus a dentist.
That was almost forty years ago and since then the Academy has grown from strength to strength. A training course is arranged every year with many nurses, doctors and other appropriately qualified persons applying for training in western medical acupuncture.
Most of the NHS pain-relief clinics are managed by those trained by this Academy. The two outstanding clinics are the Darlington Memorial Hospital in Co. Durham and Clatterbridge NHS Trust hospital on Merseyside.
We have nurses giving patients acupuncture treatment within GP NHS practices, and others are in private practice.
The tutors at both the Darlington Hospital BAWMA unit are all working without payment except for expenses; this also applies to the tutors at our other training venue, The Liverpool Medical Institution which is one of the oldest medical societies in the world.
All students are taught Western Medical Acupuncture. This means that all patients are given a diagnosis by their own doctor or medical specialist and then treatment is applied with ‘formula acupuncture suited to the condition presented. We do not use TCM because we feel it has little to do with western medicine and goes against the diagnosis made by western medically trained doctors.
We have strived to prove the efficacy of our type of acupuncture and succeeded.
Now we hope to see it come under statutory regulation and registration of those who are properly trained. From this, great benefits to patients with the many variety of illnesses will be achieved and as has been said before the other benefit will be the savings made by the National Health Service in Great Britain.
When George reached his seventieth birthday the NHS could no longer let him continue (due to the law at that time) so he continued in his private practice and also with training those who required it to use in their own practices or, within the NHS.
George is now in his eighty-fifth year and although he can no longer practice acupuncture he remains the Academy President and still does a lot of the administration work.
The Motto of the British Academy of Western Medical Acupuncture is:
We aim to relieve patients from their ill-health, with safety at all times