About Us

About the team and the history of the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group.

Dr Mike Cummings

Mike came across acupuncture by chance when he was a medical officer in the Royal Air Force and was told by the sergeant that the needles could be ordered from the official military medical supplies and that the Queen would pay for his course…

At that time, most of his patients were fit, young, and male, and they presented with muscle pain (myofascial pain – trigger points), which he had previously treated with injection techniques. Finding that these muscle pains seemed to respond just as well to acupuncture, he went on to develop a keen interest in the technique.

Now, as the Medical Director of the BMAS, his roles are in:

  • Education: training regulated health professionals (GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, chiropractors, midwives..) how to use and integrate acupuncture into their own clinical practice
  • Clinical Practice: running the BMAS London Teaching Clinic
  • Evaluating current research: Mike is an associate editor for the Medline listed journal Acupuncture in Medicine; he writes a research blog (the BMAS Blog); and represents the BMAS at academic and political meetings.

Mike is also an Honorary Clinical Specialist at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, where he supports acupuncture services. His main interests are musculoskeletal pain, and myofascial pain in particular. He has published over 100 papers in the field of  Western medical acupuncture.

How WVAG came to be

Mike started lecturing to the veterinary profession as long ago as 1995. He met Sam (Samantha Lindley) when she asked him to speak at a BSAVA affiliate meeting on the subject of myofascial pain.

At this time, learning acupuncture really meant embracing the ideas and approaches of traditional Chinese Medicine. These are long, complex and, of course, never meant to correlate with western medicine. The BMAS approach of looking at acupuncture from the western scientific viewpoint appealed to Sam, who was trying to get the veterinary profession more interested in the field. Subsequently, she attended a full BMAS foundation course to see whether it would be something her colleagues could learn from. Things took an unexpected turn when she found herself demonstrating and lecturing on BMAS Foundation Courses all over the UK. After about a year of this, Mike simply stated that a similar course should be designed for the veterinary profession.

And so WVAG was born! The Foundation Course was designed, prepared and first presented to and with 36 vets at the Edinburgh (Dick) Vet School in January 2001, during what turned out to be the midst of snow and the foot and mouth crisis.

Samantha Lindley MRCVS

Samantha Lindley currently runs the Chronic Pain Clinic at the Small Animal Hospital at Glasgow Vet School, Scotland.

She started her acupuncture career in 1991 and, a little like Mike, almost by accident. She was then lucky enough to be able to practice on farm and companion animals; farmers; colleagues and friends whilst in practice in Ayrshire – a very traditional Scottish region, but familiar with, and relaxed about, the practice of acupuncture for humans through the work of Jan de Vries who practised there for many years.

After developing the WVAG course with Mike, Sam went onto to develop a full certification course in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management, accredited first through ESVPS and now through Entia.

Parallel with, and vital to, the development of the practice and teaching of acupuncture and chronic pain, has been Sam’s experience in animal behaviour therapy. Her main interests are the clinical causes of behaviour problems, notably pain, but also diet/ gastrointestinal problems, and false pregnancy in bitches.

In the past, legal work pertaining to the various manifestations of the Dangerous Dogs Act, and the welfare of captive wild animals have occupied some of her professional time, travelling to roadside zoos in Canada and investigating circuses in UK and Eire.

Sam has lectured widely on all on of these subjects and continues to lecture the veterinary undergraduates at Glasgow on the subject of animal behaviour and its relationship to clinical disease.

Sam loves to teach and share knowledge and has been recently exploring new ways of engaging audiences in her work with Trimble Group who have produced the online, on demand content for the NEW WVAG Foundation Course.