Dr Mike Cummings

Mike is Medical Director of the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS). This role involves running the BMAS London Teaching Clinic (LTC), co-ordinating and lecturing on BMAS courses in Western medical acupuncture, acting as an associate editor for the Medline-listed journal Acupuncture in Medicine, and representing the BMAS at various academic and political meetings. Mike is an Honorary Clinical Specialist at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, which is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

His principal academic and clinical interest is musculoskeletal pain, and in particular, needling therapies in the treatment of myofascial pain syndromes. He has published a number of papers in this area, as well as the broader field of Western medical acupuncture.

After completing his medical degree at Leeds, and several hospital jobs in the north of England, Mike joined the Royal Air Force for a six and a half year short service commission as a medical officer. A substantial portion of the workload for a general duties medical officer (GDMO) in the RAF is musculoskeletal medicine. Mike came across acupuncture by accident whilst working as a GDMO. He followed his interest in musculoskeletal medicine and acupuncture on retiring from military service, and finally found himself occupied full time in the field of acupuncture.

Read Mike's profile in the Leeds University Medical School Alumni magazine from 2003.
Read a description of how Mike unexpectedly got into acupuncture in Toby Murcott's book - The Whole Story from 2005.

Mike edits and writes on the BMAS Blog.



  1. Cummings TM. A computerised audit of acupuncture in two populations: civilian and forces. Acupunct Med 1996;14(1):37-39.
  2. Filshie J, Cummings TM. Western medical acupuncture. In: Ernst E, White AR, editors. Acupuncture – A Scientific Appraisal. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 1999:31-59.
  3. Cummings M. Teasing Apart The Quality And Validity In Systematic Reviews Of Acupuncture. Acupunct Med 2000;18(2):104-7.
  4. Cummings M. Piriformis Syndrome. Acupunct Med 2000;18(2):108-21.
  5. Cummings M. More on BMA's approval of acupuncture. Acupuncture techniques should be tested logically and methodically. BMJ 2001;322(7277):46.
  6. Cummings TM, White AR. Needling therapies in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: a systematic review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001;82(7):986-92.
  7. Cummings M. Commentary: Controls for acupuncture – Can we finally see the light? BMJ 2001;322(7302):1578.
  8. Cummings M. Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – electroacupuncture by another name? A comparative review. Acupunct Med 2001;19(1):32-5.
  9. White A, Cummings M, Hopwood V, MacPherson H. Informed Consent for Acupuncture - An Information Leaflet Developed by Consensus. Acupunct Med 2001;19(2):123-9.
  10. White AR, Filshie J, Cummings TM. Clinical trials of acupuncture: consensus recommendations for optimal treatment, sham controls and blinding. Complement Ther Med 2001;9(4):237-45.
  11. MacPherson H, White A, Cummings M, Jobst K, Rose K, Niemtzow R. Standards for reporting interventions in controlled trials of acupuncture: The STRICTA recommendations.STandards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture. Acupunct Med 2002;20(1):22-5.
  12. Peuker E, Cummings M. Anatomy for the acupuncturist – facts and fiction 1: the head and neck region. Acupunct Med 2003;21(1-2):2-8.
  13. Cummings M. Referred knee pain treated with electroacupuncture to iliopsoas. Acupunct Med 2003;21(1-2):32-5.
  14. Cummings M. Acupuncture for low back pain in pregnancy. Acupunct Med 2003;21(1-2):42-6.
  15. Cummings M. The terms 'acupuncture' and 'placebo' should be adequately defined in clinical trials. Complement Ther Med 2003; 11(2):123-124.
  16. Peuker E, Cummings M. Anatomy for the acupuncturist – facts and fiction 2: the chest, abdomen and back. Acupunct Med 2003;21(3):72-9.
  17. Cummings M. Myofascial pain from pectoralis major following trans-axillary surgery. Acupunct Med 2003;21(3):105-7.
  18. Peuker E, Cummings M. Anatomy for the acupuncturist – facts and fiction 3: the upper and lower extremity. Acupunct Med 2003;21(4):122-32.
  19. Cummings M. Acupuncture and trigger point needling. In: Hazelman B, Riley G, Speed C editors. Soft Tissue Rheumatology. Cambridge: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 275-82.
  20. Cummings M. Myofascial pain syndromes. In: Hazelman B, Riley G, Speed C editors. Soft Tissue Rheumatology. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 509-22.
  21. Tait J, Cummings M. Education, training and continuing professional development in medical acupuncture – a contemporary overview. Acupunct Med 2004;22(2):75-82.
  22. Cummings M, Reid F. BMAS policy statements in some controversial areas of acupuncture practice. Acupunct Med 2004;22(3):134-6.
  23. White A, Cummings M, Filshie J. Report on acupuncture in patients with valvular heart disease and prosthetic valves – the opinion of COPE. Acupunct Med 2004; 22(3):159.
  24. Cummings M. Low back pain assessment for the medical acupuncturist. Acupunct Med 2004;22(4):189-202.
  25. Stener-Victorin E, Cummings M, Lundeberg T. Comment on: Acupuncture analgesia during surgery: a systematic review by Hyangsook Lee and Edzard Ernst, Pain 114 (2005) 511-517. Pain 2005;117(1-2):237-8.
  26. Oomman S, Liu D, Cummings M. Acupuncture for acute postoperative pain relief in a patient with pregnancy-induced thrombocytopenia--a case report. Acupunct Med 2005; 23(2):83-85.
  27. Lindley S, Cummings TM. Essentials of Western Veterinary Acupuncture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2006.
  28. White A, Tough E, Cummings M. A review of acupuncture clinical trials indexed during 2005. Acupunct Med 2006;24(1):39-49.
  29. Cummings M, Lundeberg T. Acupuncture for tinnitus. Complement Ther Med 2006;14(4):290-1.
  30. Lewith G, Berman B, Cummings M, Filshie J, Fisher P, White A. Systematic review of systematic reviews of acupuncture published 1996-2005. Clin Med 2006;6(6):623-5.
  31. Dorsher P, Cummings M. Anatomy for acupuncture (DVD ROM: ISBN 978-1-904369-70-7). London: Primal Pictures Ltd; 2006.
  32. White A, Foster NE, Cummings M, Barlas P. Acupuncture treatment for chronic knee pain: a systematic review. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2007.
  33. Cummings M, Baldry P. Regional myofascial pain: diagnosis and management. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol 2007;21(2):367-87.
  34. Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Cummings M, Richardson J. Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders--a systematic literature review. Acupunct Med 2007;25(1-2):1-10.
  35. Berkovitz S, Cummings M, Perrin C, Ito R. High volume acupuncture clinic (HVAC) for chronic knee pain - audit of a possible model for delivery of acupuncture in the National Health Service. Acupunct Med 2008;26(1):46-50.
  36. Tough EA, White AR, Cummings TM, Richards SH, Campbell JL. Acupuncture and dry needling in the management of myofascial trigger point pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Eur J Pain 2008.
  37. Cummings M. Chapter 18: Acupuncture. In: Breivik H, Campbell WI, Nicholas MK editors. Clinical Pain Management: Practice and Procedures. London: Hodder Arnold; 2008. p. 206-19.
  38. Berkovitz S, Cummings M, Perrin C, et al. High volume acupuncture clinic (HVAC) for chronic knee pain--audit of a possible model for delivery of acupuncture in the National Health Service. Acupunct Med 2008; 26(1):46-50.
  39. White A, Cummings M, Barlas P, Cardini F, Filshie J, Foster NE et al. Defining an adequate dose of acupuncture using a neurophysiological approach--a narrative review of the literature. Acupunct Med 2008;26(2):111-20.
  40. Thompson JW, Cummings M. Investigating the safety of electroacupuncture with a Picoscope. Acupunct Med 2008;26(3):133-9.
  41. White A, Cummings M, Filshie J. An Introduction to Western Medical Acupuncture. 1st ed. London: Churchill Livingstone 2008.
  42. White A, Cummings M. Does acupuncture relieve pain? BMJ 2009;338:a2760.
  43. Cummings, M. Modellvorhaben Akupunktur. Acupunct Med 2009;27(1):26-30.
  44. White A, Cummings M. Psoas abscess and acupuncture. Acupunct Med 2009; 27(2):48-49.
  45. Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, et al. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009;(2):CD004845.
  46. Cummings M. Journal Club: Specific effect of acupuncture on tension-type headache but not migraine. Forsch Komplementmed 2009; 16(3):197-199.
  47. Cummings M. Why recommend acupuncture for low back pain but not for osteoarthritis? A commentary on recent NICE guidelines. Acupunct Med 2009;27(3):128-9.
  48. Cummings M. Myofascial trigger points: does recent research gives new insights into the pathophysiology? Acupunct Med 2009 Dec;27(4):148-9.
  49. Berkovitz S, Cummings M. Acupuncture. In: Kernick D, Goadsby PJ, eds. Headache - A Practical Manual. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009. 252–7.
  50. Cummings M. Journal Club: On the Effect of Patient-Provider Communication in Acupuncture. Forsch Komplementmed 2010; 17(5):279-281.
  51. White AR, Cummings M. Acupuncture infections. Editorial exaggerates the risk. BMJ 2010;340:c3148.
  52. Brinkhaus B, Lewith G, Rehberg B, Heusser P, Cummings M, Michalsen A et al. How to treat a patient with chronic low back pain - methodology and results of the first international case conference of integrative medicine. Complement Ther Med 2011;19(1):54-62.
  53. Cummings M. Safety aspects of electroacupuncture. Acupunct Med 2011; 29(2):83-85.
  54. Cummings M. 'Forbidden points' in pregnancy: no plausible mechanism for risk. Acupunct Med 2011; 29(2):140-142.
  55. Cummings M. Report of adverse event with electroacupuncture. Acupunct Med 2011;29(2):147-51.
  56. Belivani M, Dimitroula C, Katsiki N, Apostolopoulou M, Cummings M, Hatzitolios AI. Acupuncture in the treatment of obesity: a narrative review of the literature. Acupunct Med 2012 Nov 15.
  57. Cummings M. The development of group acupuncture for chronic knee pain was all about providing frequent electroacupuncture. Acupunct Med 2012;30(4):363-4.
  58. White A, Cummings M. Inconsistent placebo effects in NICE's network analysis. Acupunct Med 2012;30(4):364-5.
  59. Cummings M. Physical approaches to the management of back pain: III. Acupuncture. In: Souter A, Cregg R, Chong S, eds. Oxford Pain Management Library - Back Pain. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012. 65–80.
  60. White A, Cummings M. Acupuncture's benefits spring from a rational approach. Eur J Intern Med 2013;24(1):e5.
  61. Cummings M. EA to the cunionavicular. Acupunct Med 2013;31(2):128.
  62. Cummings M. Dry Needling from a Western Medical Acupuncture Perspective. In: Dommerholt J, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C eds. Trigger point Dry Needling – An Evidenced and Clinical-Based Approach. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2013. 173–208.
  63. Cummings M, Ross-Marrs R, Gerwin R. Pneumothorax complication of deep dry needling demonstration. Acupunct Med 2014;32(6):517-9.
  64. Belivani M, Lundeberg T, Cummings M, Dimitroula C, Belivani N, Vasilakos D, Hatzitolios A. Immediate effect of three different electroacupuncture protocols on fasting blood glucose in obese patients: a pilot study. Acupunct Med 2015;33(2):110-4.
  65. White A, Cummings M. Acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis: study by Hinman et al represents missed opportunities. Acupunct Med 2015;33(1):84-6.
  66. Maric S, Cummings M. Dr Walburg Marić-Oehler. Acupunct Med 2015;33(2):158-9.
  67. Filshie J, White A, Cummings M. Medical Acupuncture – A Western Scientific Approach. 2nd edition. London: Elsevier; 2016.
  68. Cummings M. Western Medical Acupuncture – The Approach to Treatment. In: Filshie J, White A, Cummings M. Medical Acupuncture – A Western Scientific Approach. 2nd edition. London: Elsevier, 2016. p. 100-24.
  69. White A, Cummings M. Safety of Acupuncture. In: Filshie J, White A, Cummings M. Medical Acupuncture – A Western Scientific Approach. 2nd edition. London: Elsevier, 2016. p. 214-32.
  70. Cummings M, White A. A Critical Approach to Randomised Controlled Trials of Acupuncture. In: Filshie J, White A, Cummings M. Medical Acupuncture – A Western Scientific Approach. 2nd edition. London: Elsevier, 2016. p. 279-97.
  71. Cummings M. NG59 used different levels of evidence for conventional interventions compared with those for acupuncture and may not have adequately addressed personal financial COIs of the GDG chair. BMJ 2017;356:i6748. http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6748/rr-6
  72. Baldry T, Cummings M. Dr Peter Edward Baldry. Acupunct Med 2016;34:406–7. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2016-011203
  73. Cummings M. Peter Edward Baldry. BMJ 2016;354:i3940.
  74. Thayer TM, Cummings M. Acupuncture in temporomandibular disorders. In: Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Mesa-Jiménez J, eds. Temporomandibular Disorders: Manual therapy, exercise and needling. Edinburgh: Handspring Publishing Limited 2018. 255–70.
  75. Cummings M, Hróbjartsson A, Ernst E. Should doctors recommend acupuncture for pain? BMJ 2018;360:k970. doi:10.1136/bmj.k970
  76. Cummings M. Author's reply III: Can we finally see the light?. BMJ 2018;360:k970. https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k970/rr-21
  77. Cummings M. Author’s response IV: Needling is superior to conventional care in chronic low back pain. BMJ 2018;360:k970. https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k970/rr-24
  78. Cummings M, Klonowska M, Ferreira SH. Arterial injury at LI4. Acupunct Med 2018. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2018-011641
  79. White A, Cummings M, Filshie J. An Introduction to Western Medical Acupuncture. 2nd ed. London: Elsevier 2018.
  80. Cummings M. Dry Needling from a Western Medical Acupuncture Perspective. In: Dommerholt J, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C eds. Trigger point Dry Needling – An Evidence and Clinical-Based Approach. 2nd ed. Elsevier 2018.
  81. Oliveira E Lemos M, Cummings M. An alternative approach to pudendal nerve stimulation. Acupunct Med 2018. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2018-011751
  82. Hughes J, Cummings M, Filshie J, et al. Ensuring model validity in a feasibility study of acupuncture to improve quality of life in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment. Eur J Integr Med 2018;21:50–2. doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2018.06.010
  83. Hughes JG, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Witt CM, Cummings M, & Fisher P. Assessment of the quality of reporting in studies of acupuncture for patients with cancer using the STRICTA guidelines. Acupunct Med 2019 https://doi.org/10.1136/acupmed-2017-011592
  84. Roocroft N, Cummings M. Acupuncture at sea. Acupunct Med 2020;38:117–20. doi:10.1177/0964528419883277
  85. Cummings M. Re: Manual acupuncture for migraine. BMJ 2020;1096:m1096/rr. https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1096/rr
  86. Khan MT, Cummings M, Fisher P. Complementary and integrated medicines. In: Burrow JG, Rome K, Padhiar N, eds. Neale’s Disorders of the Foot and Ankle. Edinburgh: Elsevier 2020. 576–89.
  87. Dietzel J, Cummings M, Hua K, et al. Auricular Acupuncture for Preoperative Anxiety—Protocol of Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Medicines 2020;7:73. doi:10.3390/medicines7120073
  88. Navarro-Santana MJ, Sanchez-Infante J, Gómez-Chiguano GF, Cummings M, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Plaza-Manzano G. Effects of manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture for lateral epicondylalgia of musculoskeletal origin: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med 2020. doi:10.1177/0964528420967364
  89. Cummings M. Electroacupuncture for lateral epicondylalgia. Acupunct Med 2021. doi:10.1177/0964528421990660
  90. Cummings M, Usichenko T. Re: Battlefield acupuncture added no benefit as an adjunct analgesic in emergency department for abdominal, low back or limb trauma pain. Emerg Med Australas 2021. doi:10.1111/1742-6723.137181.
  91. Hughes J, Gyertson K, Carballo L, Plant H, Sharman M, Ruane K, Mendoza-Naranjo A, Hackshaw A, Cummings M, Edwards A, Lewith G, Fisher P. A feasibility trial of acupuncture in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment. Complement Ther Clin Prac 2021;43:101372. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101372
  92. Taleb Hessami Azar S, Cummings M. Electroacupuncture for calf cramps. Acupunct Med 2021. doi:10.1177/096452842110095321.
  93. Cummings M. Schulterschmerzen: Diagnostik- und Behandlungsansätze mit Fokus auf Tendinopathien der Rotatorenmanschette. AkupunkturPraxis 2021;2:93–104. doi:10.1055/a-1350-2192
  94. Perreault T, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Cummings M, et al. Needling Interventions for Sciatica: Choosing Methods Based on Neuropathic Pain Mechanisms—A Scoping Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine 2021;10. doi:10.3390/jcm101021891.
  95. Usichenko TI, Hua K, Cummings M, et al. Auricular stimulation for preoperative anxiety - A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia 2022;76:110581. doi:10.1016/j.jclinane.2021.110581


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