The new Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct were submitted and approved by the members at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (held in London on 1st of May 2016).


This Code has been established by BAHMA to set the standards for hygiene and safety in relation to the practice of all Holistic Therapies. Members of BAHMA must comply with this Code, and any failure to follow the standards set out will result in a breach of BAHMA Code of Professional Conduct. This Code is published to provide guidance and to protect both the service providers and service users.

It is the responsibility of every Member of BAHMA to read and familiarise themselves with this Code of Safe Practice. In the event that English is not a first language and a member has difficulties understanding this document, it is BAHMA member’s responsibility (at their own expense) to use a translator to ensure they do understand both Codes.

1. Duty of Care

1.1. Your priority as a healthcare practitioner is to ensure health and safety of both those you treat (patients) and yourself.

1.2. You have an obligation to report any accidents that occur when treating employees, patients or members of the public that visit your premises or site of practice if a mobile practitioner. Such events are to be reported in accordance with the provisions of the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995.

1.3. By ensuring that you meet the required standards of safety and personal hygiene, you avoid putting unduly at risk your patients and yourself.

1.4. When treating patients you must be in a good state of physical, mental and emotional health which allows you to act in a professional manner and give a professional judgement. Should you not be fit to perform your duties or suffer from potentially contagious disease or any illness then you should refrain from offering treatment as it could put your patient at risk.

1.5. You must only perform treatments and techniques for which you can prove that you are qualified.

2. Premises and treatment room

2.1. You must ensure that your premises and treatment rooms meet the requirements of current legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Fire Safety regulation and other supporting regulations.

2.2. Your place of practice must be kept clean and hygienic in line with the standards described in the legislation above.

2.3. Your place of practice must dispose of washing facilities more precisely a washbasin with hot and cold water, a liquid soap dispenser and disposable paper towels.

2.4. Your place of practice must provide adequate space to allow you to perform treatments in a safe and efficient manner.

3. Equipment

3.1. All equipment used in your premises and all appliances must undergo a regular inspection and be properly maintained.

3.2. Any reusable clinical equipment (for example glass cups or derma rollers) must be washed and disinfected after each use.

3.3. Treatment equipment is to be stored in a clean and hygienic environment in appropriate closed storage spaces or containers in order to ensure that there is no risk of contamination.

3.4 All used equipment (for example acupuncture needles) and clinical waste is to be disposed of by using the appropriate containers for each item.

3.5. Used paper towels, wrappings, couch rolls and equipment which did not come in contact with bodily fluids can be disposed of as commercial or domestic waste.

4. Personal hygiene and appearance

4.1. Your personal hygiene must meet required standards meaning that your hands are to be washed regularly (an alcohol or gel cleanser can be used as an alternative if water is not available) and fingernails are to be short and clean.

4.2. Professional dress code is smart and not revealing in nature; it should also be clean when giving treatment.

4.3. Wearing bracelets, necklaces or hanging jewellery as well as rings is forbidden.

4.4. You are obliged to wear protective, disposable gloves when either physically examining or coming into contact with skin diseases or bodily fluids, or when the patient informs you that they have a contagious disease. After use such gloves are to be deposited in a clinical waste container.

5. Mobile practice and home visits

5.1. The same high standards of health and safety described above for working in clinic apply to mobile practice and home visits.

6. Special case precautions

6.1. Extra precautions are to be taken when treating pregnant patients.

7. Acupuncture (for qualified acupuncturists only)

As acupuncture needles are inserted into the body and thereby pierce the skin a separate section of the Code of Safe Practice applies. The dispositions apply irrespectively of whether you perform body or auricular acupuncture.

7.1. All acupuncture needles are to be pre-packed, sterile and disposable.

7.2. Insertion and removal of the needles must be done safely and in a hygienic way. Should the patient’s skin be unclean or should the patient suffer from either a skin disease or contagious disease it is necessary to swab the skin prior to insertion with antiseptic wipes.

7.3. You must avoid touching the shaft of the needle with bare fingers and coming into contact with non-sterile materials prior to insertion.

7.4. Needles are for single use and are to be disposed of safely in the appropriate sharps container after treatment  Sharps containers and clinical waste containers must be disposed of by a licensed agent.

7.5. Ensure that patients are in a comfortable position, preferably lying down or sitting before and during treatment.

7.6. When using ancillary techniques during treatment such as moxibustion, cupping, ear needles or pricking/bleeding therapy it is essential that you are qualified in each procedure used to ensure that the patient is not put at risk.

7.7 In case of injury to yourself resulting from a used needle it is imperative to ensure your safety. This means encouraging free bleeding from the site, washing the area with running water and soap and using disinfectant. Medical advice is to be sought promptly if the used needle comes from a person with any serious or contagious disease.

7.8. If blood is drawn either during insertion or removal of a needle, you must use alcohol swabs to wipe the blood off and apply pressure to the area. You must always avoid any physical contact with a patient’s bodily fluids.