An acupuncture centre in Causeway Bay, jointly run by a Beijing health group, plans to hire three practitioners with internationally recognised qualifications. The centre, run by the local Pok Oi Hospital and the Beijing-based World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS), opened in September. The three acupuncturists will be offered one-year contracts, and will be replaced if they leave after the 12 months. "It really is a win-win situation," said Liao Ying, director of the WFAS in Hong Kong. "The clinic will be able to offer training for Hong Kong practitioners and acupuncture services to locals." The WFAS, set up in 1987, with national acupuncture groups as its members, is recognised by the World Health Organisation. It is authorised by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine to administer qualifications testing for acupuncturists in Beijing as well as those practicing overseas. "The city's location and a society conducive to the development of traditional Chinese medicine will provide a platform for international exchanges on acupuncture," she said. The clinic typically treats patients with symptoms such as insomnia, pain or dizziness, Liao said. "Like other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture aims to balance the yin and yang in the body, using needles to stimulate points to create a free flow of 'healthy air'," she said. While Liao conceded that the idea of acupuncture could be a little scary to those unused to it, she said there was increasing overseas interest in the therapy. "In many Western countries, traditional chinese medicine is now covered by health insurance, just as Western medicine is," she said. Last year, 538 people took the WFAS acupuncture qualification test - up from 520 the year before. And those taking the exam came from as far afield as Korea, Japan, Brazil, Belgium and Argentina. The non-governmental organisation also runs an acupuncture training course in Beijing. It is investigating the possibility of offering training and examination in Hong Kong, in collaboration with local universities. The group set up the clinic in Hong Kong with the help of InvestHK, the government's investment promotion body.