Virtual Symposium

3 Days

Join us April 30 – May 2 for three knowledge-packed days of learning, networking and inspiration!

23 Speakers

We’ve compiled an array of experts in the field of acupuncture to share their expertise and insights.

20 Presentations

There is something for everyone at the Symposium. With on-demand you can view every session!

Symposium Program/Agenda

AAMA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Symposium

There is something for everyone at the Symposium. With on-demand you can view every session!

The wide variety of styles and some of the topics covered in this year’s symposium include: auricular acupuncture; women’s reproductive health/menopause; evolutionary biology; musculo-skeletal/chronic pain; pulse diagnosis; men’s health; herbal medicine; extraordinary vessels; family medicine pearls; constitutional facial acupuncture; electroacupuncture for chronic pain conditions; acupuncture implementation; and research methodology.

This symposium will present multi-faceted approaches for understanding, appreciating, and applying acupuncture in today’s practice. It will expand awareness of the scientific research into the effects of acupuncture, while enhancing understandings of classical wisdom. It will help clinicians apply the medicine both towards direct patient care, and in overcoming care delivery challenges.

Continuing Education Credits

The Annual Symposium will offer more than 30 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ that may be claimed following participation in this three-day program or through subsequent review of the recorded content.

The Pre-Symposium optional workshops altogether will offer a total of 12 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ that may be claimed following participation in the 1 live workshop and through the review of the recorded content of the other 3 workshops. (Each workshop is a separate fee. Each is worth 3 credits. Can be purchased individually or as a package.)

NCCAOM PDA Provider # 173327
Approved for 16 PDA credits for Virtual Symposium, April 29-May 2, 2021. Credits may be claimed through Attendance Verification form provided to the attendee.

Symposium Objectives

Physicians will be able to:

  • Expand understandings of the channel systems, and apply this knowledge to both the treatment of disease and to broaden understandings of human growth and development;
  • Identify barriers and opportunities to the incorporation of acupuncture into existing medical practices, and recognize critical
    points in developing new practice models for acupuncture delivery;
  • Appreciate the evidence base for acupuncture, qi gong, and herbal medicine, applying to certain patient conditions;
  • Recognize acupuncture’s role in treating acute and chronic pain syndromes of many types, and apply to various clinical cases;
  • Utilize microsystems of acupuncture for the treatment of a wide variety of conditions;
  • Review the modern evidence base for acupuncture’s mechanisms of action, and recognize how these mechanisms interface with classical and modern treatment strategies



Description and Objectives:

Friday, April 30, 2021

Helene Langevin, MD

“Acupuncture and Whole Person Health”

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s new Strategic Plan is focused on Whole Person Health, or helping individuals improve their health in multiple interconnected biopsychosocial domains. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that incorporates many of the principles of Whole Person Health. This talk with outline NCCIH’s strategic priorities on whole person health and explain who acupuncture fits into this framework.

• Outline NCCIH’s Strategic Priorities on whole person health
• Explain how acupuncture fits within a whole person health framework

Jennifer Dilts, DO, DABMA

“Basic Acupuncture Curriculum and Implementation At a Pediatric Academic Medical Center”

Access to acupuncture in academic medical centers is typically very limited, often reserved for the sickest, most refractory patients, and available on an inpatient, consultation-only basis. Additionally, while academic physicians are uniquely positioned to do research, the limited number of patients receiving acupuncture in academic centers limits the number of high-quality research studies that can be done. This session describes how academic physicians have learned and implemented 2 basic acupuncture procedures (4 Gates and Battlefield acupuncture). We will discuss how to design and implement a basic acupuncture curriculum, including potential barriers and solutions, and important metrics.

• Describe potential risks and benefits of teaching basic acupuncture to physicians.
• Identify key components of an effective basic acupuncture curriculum.
• Describe potential barriers to basic acupuncture implementation, and potential solutions.
• Identify key metrics and a framework for measuring acupuncture implementation.

Paul Crawford, MD

Joseph M. Helms Founder’s Lecture
New Science at the Tip of the Needle: How the Acus Foundation’s “Think Acupuncture First” Program at Nellis Air Force Base is Improving Care for Military Members Around the World

This lecture will review the history of the revolutionary acupuncture training program at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. This program has not only changed the practice of primary care in the Air Force, it has provided important new insights into how the provision of acupuncture reduces opioid prescribing, improved quality of life and provided physicians with reasons to stay in clinical medicine. Furthermore, physicians at Nellis and other bases continue to test new applications of acupuncture techniques, formally evaluate old techniques and expand its use throughout the Air Force.

• Identify an effective acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciosis
• Perform an effective acupuncture intervention to improve sleep
• Expand their acupuncture practice with rapid treatments for low back pain, fibromyalgia and Achilles tendinopathy

Arnaud Versluys, PhD, MD (China), LAc

“Aspects of Classical Herbalism and its Integration with Acupuncture”

The current presentation will explore the place of herbal medicine within the greater framework of clinical Chinese medicine, and elucidate on the appropriateness of its use. Not every situation calls for herbs, nor is every clinical situation a candidate for the application of acupuncture. This seminar will clarify the original intent of the Han dynasty developers of Chinese medicine in regards to what the strength of herbal medicine is, and when it is to be integrated with acupuncture. The Han dynasty work of the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Canon or Huangdi Neijing is mostly a work on medical theory and acupuncture and does not instruct in the clinical practice of herbal medicine. However, it provides valuable information on the clinical indications for the use of herbal medicine, in comparison to when the use of acupuncture or massage is most indicated. As such, informed by a survey of the aforementioned textual references, this seminar presentation will provide case-based examples of both instances of where only herbal medicine was the particular treatment of choice for the condition at hand, as well as give examples of herb-acupuncture integrated approaches to yet other conditions. This will allow the attendee a better insight into the strengths and weaknesses of herbs and acupuncture; clarify the decision-making process of developing a clinical treatment strategy for a patient; and lastly, this presentation will hopefully inspire non-herbalists to explore the possibility of studying and consequently integrating herbal medicine in their respective practices.

• Decide when the combined use herbs and acupuncture is indicated
• Describe the origins of the different treatment modalities of Chinese medicine

C. Leslie Smith, LAc, MD, DABMA, Corry Meyers, LAc, and Charlyn Ware, MS, RD, LDN

“Using Food as Medicine: 5 Phase Dietetics in the Kitchen”

Traditional Asian Medicine has a longstanding history of prescribing common culinary/kitchen herbs, various cooking methods, and specific foods for promotion of health, support of constitutional type, and treatment of pathology. Using the 5 Phases, we will first explore examples of healthy eating patterns for each type of patient. We will use patient cases to discuss pathology common to each Phase, dietary pitfalls that contributed to the pathology, and common herbs and spices, cooking techniques, and foods that can be used to treat these issues and restore balance. Finally, participants will engage in the guided construction of handouts of dietary recommendations for each Phase that they can use for patient care in their own practice with a thorough understanding that changing eating habits and incorporating dietetics improves patient outcomes and empowers self-care.

• Explain healthy and pathological relationships within the context of the 5 Phases
• Distinguish ways in which common physiological proclivities and pathological processes relate to dietary and culinary habits in a 5 Phase model
• Manage common dietary complaints by suggesting foods, herbs/spices, and cooking techniques as they relate to 5 Phase pathology
• Create 5 Phase handouts with dietary recommendations for their patients relevant to prevention of disease and treatment of pathology and specific to their personal medical practice patterns

Kendra Unger, MD, FAAMA and Jason Oreskovich, DO, DABMA

“A Day in the Life of the Family Medicine Acupuncturist”

This session will include common cases experienced by the Family Medicine Medical Acupuncturist. These cases will be presented to the audience for discussion and evaluation. A model for considering the different modalities of acupuncture that can be applied for each condition will be presented. Recommendations for creation of a treatment plan will be described by the presenters. We hope to showcase a variety of conditions that are commonly seen in a Family Medicine Acupuncture Clinic and how to develop a systematic approach to acupuncture treatment design. Because the field of Family Medicine is broad, we will present a large range of conditions including musculoskeletal complaints as well as psycho-social concerns.


• Develop a treatment plan for common conditions seen in a Family Medicine Medical Acupuncture Clinic.
• Select the most appropriate Medical Acupuncture modality for the treatment of common Family Medicine Medical Acupuncture conditions.
• Describe the techniques involved in needle placement for these common conditions.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

David Coggin-Carr, MD, PhD

“Tackling Maternal Obesity with Electroacupuncture”

This lecture will provide an overview of what is currently known about the effects of acupuncture on insulin resistant states including type 2 diabetes mellitus and polycystic ovary syndrome in patients and animal models. The potential for acupuncture to similarly impact insulin resistance in pregnancy (and thus represent a complementary/alternative medical treatment option for gestational diabetes) will be explored. Novel data from a translational research study of the effects of electroacupuncture in a rat model of maternal obesity (induced by exposure to a high-fat/sugar diet) will be presented.

• Describe the different methods for quantification of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
• Appreciate the physiology underlying insulin resistance of pregnancy
• Discuss the pathophysiology of gestational diabetes
• Consider how acupuncture can ameliorate insulin resistance in the gravid and non-gravid state

Jiang-Ti Kong, MD, DABMA

“Predicting Clinical Response to Acupuncture in Treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Multi-dimensional Phenotyping and Machine-learning: Results from Two Clinical Trials”

Two years ago, I presented the design of two clinical trials evaluating the mechanisms of electroacupuncture in treating chronic low back pain. The results of these studies will be presented. Furthermore, training an unbiased model on data from the first clinical trial, we were able to predict over 40% the variance in the outcome of the second study. We will highlight some of the key predictors, in the domains of quantitative sensory testing, patient-reported outcomes, and psychosocial variables.

• Appreciate several literature-supported protocols of using electroacupuncture in treating pain
• Discuss the barrier to carrying out clinical research, get exposure to several simple research tools which may be integrated into class members’ clinical practice
• Describe at least 3 reasons why these acupuncture effects are not consistent with fascia signaling
• Review at least 3 reasons why these acupuncture effects are consistent with neuroanatomic signaling

Wen Liu, PhD

“Qigong Exercise for Individuals with Chronic Pain and Parkinson’s Disease – Clinical Outcomes and Biomarker Findings”

In this presentation, I will first provide a brief summary about Qigong exercise and its clinical research. I will then introduce our clinical trial studies of Qigong exercise in patients with fibromyalgia. We observed significant improvement in clinical symptoms and inflammatory biomarkers after Qigong exercise. I will also report similar findings observed in our pilot trials of Qigong exercise in patients with Parkinson’s disease. At the end, I will discuss the relevance of our current research projects in Qigong exercise to Acupuncture practice and our plan for future research in this area.

• Describe pain reduction through Qigong exercise in individuals with fibromyalgia
• Describe improved sleep by Qigong exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease
• Explain possible underlying pathways of Qigong exercise

Susie Hayes, LAc

“Advanced Acupuncture for Menopause”

Many women experiencing the natural transition of menopause are often hesitant to commit to standard medical care of hormone replacement therapy to address their symptoms. This reluctance could be due to concerns of negative side effects such as weight gain or cancer, or possibly an exacerbation of the symptoms they are seeking relief from. In search of an alternative method of treatment to alleviate common symptoms experienced around menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, irregular menses, low libido, weight gain, vaginal dryness, mood swings and lack of motivation, woman often resort to acupuncture. An appropriate acupuncture treatment plan can support hormonal regulation during this natural transition to aide in preventing and alleviating these common symptoms experienced around menopause.

This workshop will synthesize energetic theory from the ancient medical texts relating the Kidneys, Jing, Blood, the Law of 5 Movements, and the related Principle and Curious Meridians and Points to the energetic etiology, diagnosis and treatment of menopause. You will leave this workshop fueled with therapeutic points and protocols for women approaching and experiencing menopause. In addition, this course will review recommended treatment plans to support achieving desired outcomes.

• Apply energetic reasoning to clinical practice to better diagnose and treat menopausal symptoms
• Identify menopausal signs and symptoms according to the Law of 5 Movements
• Design comprehensive treatment plans tailored to the peri-menopausal patient

Jiang-Ti Kong, MD, DABMA

“Using Electroacupuncture in Treating Several Chronic Pain Conditions and Practical Tools for Clinical Research on Acupuncture and Chronic Pain”

After briefly surveying the literature, we will discuss protocols and guidelines for treating several chronic pain conditions using electroacupuncture. We will review: mechanical low back pain (to accompany the plenary lecture), chronic knee and shoulder pain (and/or complex regional pain syndrome). We will have a brief discussion on patient selection, and treatment settings if time allows.

Secondarily, we will discuss the protocols for integrating several simple tools for clinical research on acupuncture and pain management. These will include discussions of a hand-held algometer, a cold-presser test, and several simple survey instruments (eg a neuropathic pain questionnaire and the pain catastrophizing scale, as well as the pain intensity scale NRS).

• Appreciate several literature-supported protocols of using electroacupuncture in treating pain
• Discuss the barrier to carrying out clinical research, get exposure to several simple research tools which may be integrated into class members’ clinical practice
• Describe at least 3 reasons why these acupuncture effects are not consistent with fascia signaling
• Review at least 3 reasons why these acupuncture effects are consistent with neuroanatomic signaling

Mitchell Elkiss, DO, FAAMA

“One Needle and More: A Multidimensional Approach to Acupuncture and Pain”

This is a workshop that is based on the foundational principles of Neuroanatomical Acupuncture. The material is presented to provide the attendee with the basic concepts, tools, and reasons to make acupuncture decisions in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal pain, one needle at a time. The myotendinous and neural hierarchies will be explored and the indications and applications of the autonomic switches. Case presentations will be used to illustrate these principles. Questions will be welcomed.

• Discuss the principles of the One Needle Technique as elucidated by Dr. Joe Wong
• Discuss the protocols for needling in common problems Discuss the importance of the myodural bridge and its implications in headache treatment
• Discuss the polyvagal component to treating sequelae of trauma

Sunday, May 2, 2021

David Miller, MD, FAAP, LAc

“Somatotopic Mapping and Its Relevance to Chinese Medicine”

Somatotopic mapping is a core organizational principle for the central nervous system. It is an evolutionarily preserved trait that can be seen from fruit flies to mammals, and is an underexplored component of understanding the actions of acupuncture points and channels, as well as considerations of organ systems. Mechanisms of many Qi Gong practices can also be clarified through this model. This lecture will provide a cursory introduction to incorporating thought on somatotopic mapping to the study of acupuncture the greater systems of Chinese medicine.

• Identify the depth of somatotopic mapping in the central nervous system.
• Apply understanding of somatotopic mapping to the Chinese channel system.
• Utilize somatotopic mapping to understand the neurologic underpinnings of the “Inner Smile” Qi Gong practice.

Peter Dorsher, MD

“Physical Examination Evidence of Six Stages Primary Channel Coupling: Pilot Study & Implication”

We have noted from 20+ years of clinical experience that acupuncture channel effects can be detected on physical examination, which can be used in clinic to diagnose channel issues and evaluate treatment responses. These exam effects can be seen directly along the Primary channels as well as for coupled channels, as described in Six Stages theory. We have recently completed a pilot study that provides, for the first time, objective evidence of Six Stages acupuncture channel physiologic coupling (LI-ST) through demonstration of manual muscle strength changes along those coupled channels that are statistically and clinically significant. This lecture provides the TCM and allopathic backgrounds for this study, the study protocol/results, and discusses the implications of these findings both for use in practice and for acupuncture mechanisms. This lecture also is background for an associated workshop on this topic.

• Describe ST-38 acupoint location and functions including distant effects on shoulder
• List anterior, posterior, and inferior Principal meridians crossing the shoulder joint
• List one shoulder muscles associated with each of these meridians
• Describe 6 Stages theory (acupuncture meridian physiologic coupling)
• Describe similarities/differences of Principal and Muscle channels
• Define myofascial meridians
• Discuss how myofascial meridians and myofascial trigger point referred-pain data provide anatomic and physiologic corroboration of Principle/Muscle meridian theory
• Discuss pilot studies’ implications regarding acupuncture mechanisms and practice

Thomas Burgoon, MD

“Modern Science: Demonstrating Fundamental Principles of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture”

The focus of this talk is three bodies of recent research on the effects of acupuncture on inflammation, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems that have made an outstanding contribution to our modern understanding of acupuncture. These detailed and comprehensive research efforts have utilized a complement of sophisticated techniques including immunohistochemistry, modern techniques of stimulation and recording of somatic, central nervous system and autonomic pathways, along with an array of modern surgical and neurosurgical techniques. These studies confirm some of the most important and profound principles of traditional acupuncture theory and practice and they provide an important foundation of communication with our non- acupuncture medical colleagues about the practice and benefits of acupuncture.

• Describe some areas of basic science acupuncture research that have been exploring the physiologic effects of acupuncture needling.
• Summarize the evidence from basic science research of acupuncture’s effects on cardiovascular and gastroenterologic systems and on inflammation.
• Summarize the evidence from basic science research demonstrating the following for acupuncture needling: specific action, regulative action, regional/point specificity, variation of response with variation needle
• Define somato-somato and somato-visceral response and explain the relevance for acupuncture practice.

Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA

“Men’s Health: Chronic Prostatitis”

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain is a common condition. It’s poorly understood and there is no reliable pharmacological therapy to provide sustained relief. Current evidence support acupuncture as a valid treatment modality for this debilitating condition.

• Discuss the signs and symptoms of Chronic prostatitis
• Familiarize the audience with appropriate examination for this common disorder (chronic prostatitis)
• Explore effective acupuncture treatment approach to chronic prostatitis
• Discuss current evidence supporting acupuncture treatment for chronic prostatitis

David Miller, MD, FAAP, LAc

“An Evolutionary Biology Understanding of the Organ Systems and Channels”

Chinese medicine is rooted in the observation of nature, and the attempt to organize those observations into coherent systems. When understood thoroughly and through the proper lens, there is a seamless connection between the organ systems, channels, and the natural world. The organ systems and channels can be identified in numerous species, and understood to be adaptations to real stressors in nature, and the need to adapt to these for survival and success. From yin/yang theory and five phase theory we see the basis of the Chinese system and its underpinnings, and in the channels and organ systems we see the circuitry that allows us to function successfully as organisms. This workshop will explore particularly the liver system, yang qiao mai, and spleen systems clarifying how to understand these from the evolutionary biology perspective.

• Synthesize yin/yang theory, five phase theory, and theory about channels and organ systems.
• Apply understandings of the Chinese system to an evolutionary biology model.
• Identify channel and point functions for several systems utilizing this natural biology model.

Peter Dorsher, MD

“Integrating 6 Stages Principles with Biomechanics and Neuroanatomic Acupuncture for Treating Joint and Spine Pain”

The fundamental overlap of the distributions of acupuncture Principal Channels (meridians) with those of the anatomic myofascial meridians as described by Tom Meyers LMT has been previously discussed. Recently, for the first time, clinically significant, physical examination (strength testing) evidence of Principal meridian physiologic coupling consistent with 6 Stages acupuncture theory has been published, which can be used in practice both diagnostically and to assess acupuncture treatment response. These physical examination findings can also be demonstrated to occur directly along Principal meridians. This workshop will review these findings, and the protocols for integrating them with biomechanics and neuroanatomic acupuncture principles to treat joint and spine pain conditions.

• Describe IASP definition of pain and its implications
• List only organ system not described in TCM physiology
• Describe relationship of spinal and cranial nerves to Classical acupoints
• Discuss contribution of a given acupoint’s vascular and nerve supply to its clinical effects
• Discuss 2 examples of physical examination evidence of Principal meridian coupling
• List 2 adverse effects of posture on spine pain
• List 2 adverse effects of pes planus alignment of feet
• List 3 neuroanatomic acupuncture points each for neck pain and shoulder pain
• List 3 neuroanatomic points each for low back and knee pain

Ann Cecil-Sterman, MS, MM, LAc

“Pulse Diagnosis”

The workshop takes participants step by step through the protocols of the very rare Han dynasty method of directional pulses as described in Chapter 5 of the Mai Jing. The class is taught in the oral tradition with spoken explanation of the guidelines and protocols for this topic.

• Utilize the skill of directional pulse taking.
• Diagnose and devise basic treatment strategies.

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