Message from the AAMA Board

My Surprises in Auriculotherapy

I first became aware of auriculotherapy during the Harvard Structural Acupuncture for Physicians course in 2004-2005. Dr. Bryan Frank gave us two introductory lectures. He pointed out that Dr. Paul Nogier had first become aware of the benefits of treatment of the ear for patients with sciatica. Right at that time, I was asked to do a neurological consultation for a patient admitted to my hospital for severe,  refractory sciatica. I carried out my first auricular acupuncture treatment ever, following Nogier’s eventual adaptation of this protocol, and the same day the patient reported to me a “remarkable” improvement in his pain. His was discharged the next day. I was impressed with the potential of auriculotherapy.

Soon after that, a young woman came to my office for right pelvic pains. Years earlier, she had had right leg trauma necessitating an above knee amputation. She developed new pelvic pains after accidentally falling out of her wheelchair. At that time, an ED evaluation excluded significant new structural pathology. I wasn’t sure what I could offer her, so I proposed auriculotherapy. She had previously experienced painless phantom feelings of her missing limb, and I suspected a neurogenic basis for her new pelvic symptoms. I carried out a modified auricular protocol targeting the missing right lower extremity. As the patient was leaving my office, she said to me, “You know, since my amputation, I occasionally have had momentary phantom feelings of my leg. But since you put those needles in my ear, I feel my leg again, and it hasn’t gone away.” I found that statement astounding. Her pelvic pain got better.

After the Harvard course, I went on to spend a year in Paris (2007-2008), where I attended the Institute of Traditional Chinese Energetics and Acupuncture (IEATC). Towards the end of that year, I met Dr. David Alimi, who was then the director of the Inter-University Diploma Program in Auriculotherapy at the University of Paris XIII. He invited me to his clinic at the Gustav Roussy Institute, a large cancer hospital near Paris, and to his office. After spending two days with him, seeing many different applications of auriculotherapy, I asked him, “How can I go back to the United States knowing that this program is here?” I enrolled in the Paris program, which I completed in about 18 weekend trips over the next two years.

After that, a mother brought her 16-year-old daughter to my office with refractory, constant waking hiccups for several months. She had seen many specialists, had had many negative tests, and tried many medications, all unsuccessful. The girl sat in front of me, with constant hiccups. The only thing I could think of offering her was the University of Paris treatment protocol for hiccups. The patient and her mother were surprised at this suggestion, but were willing to try anything. I applied ASP needles to the appropriate points in both ears. The next week, I ran into her mother in my hospital. When I asked her how her daughter was doing, she said, “After you did the treatment the hiccups stopped completely. A few days later, they came back for one day, then went away again and have not come back.”

Around the same time a young woman came to me for persistent, atypical right V2 facial pain following palatal surgery. She could not tolerate anticonvulsant analgesic medications because they interfered with her job. A single ipsilateral auriculotherapy treatment with ASP needles gave her an immediate, thus far sustained, 90 percent relief.

Most recently, a woman came to me for frequent attacks of vertigo due to Meniere’s disease, which she had had for 45 years. She had monthly attacks despite diuretic therapy, one of which caused a fall and head injury. She wished to avoid ablative therapy, and came to me for medical acupuncture for vertigo.  A single auriculotherapy treatment protocol with ASP needles reduced the frequency and intensity of her vertigo attacks by about 50 percent, and she continues to come for monthly treatments. Both she and her dentist husband were surprised. Their initial reaction reminded me of the famous statement made by surgeon John Collins Warren in 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome:  “Gentlemen! This is no humbug.”

I am sure that many of my fellow medical acupuncturists have had similar, satisfying outcomes in their patients. To this day, I still react with wonder and amazement when some patients tell me about their surprisingly good responses with auriculotherapy. I recently became a member of the AAMA Board of Directors and Membership Committee because I believe that medical acupuncture has so much to offer and should be promoted to physicians and their patients.

I am looking forward to talking about “Auricular Acupuncture in Facial Pain” at our upcoming 2022 AAMA meeting in Cincinnati. I hope to see many of you there.

 

Gary Stanton, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

 

Contemporary Acupuncture Advances: Chronic Pelvic Pain & Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
McMaster University, Continuing Health Sciences Education (CHSE)
In conjunction with the Canadian Contemporary Acupuncture Association
Virtual Event
Friday, April 29, 2022
8:00am – 3:20pm

NEW! 2022 Core Refresher Course
Cincinatti, OH
May 4, 2022

2022 AAMA Annual Symposium
Cincinnati, OH
May 5-8, 2022

2022 International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health
Phoenix, AZ
May 23-26, 2022

ICMART 2022
Bologna, Italy
October 14-16, 2022

AAMA Website: Education Listings
The AAMA maintains an ongoing calendar of educational events and professional development opportunities related to medical acupuncture. The calendar is accessible on the AAMA website. Members are encouraged to share events and calendar items from their regions and about educational topics that may be of wider interest among peers and fellow AAMA members.

AAMA News & Announcements

Welcome Our New & Returning AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in February 2022.

  • Christopher C. Decker, DO, of Westbrook, ME
  • Yichien Emma Lee, MD, of Mira Loma, CA
  • Kimberly M. Lunaas, MD, of Hartland, WI
  • Amy N. Wooton, MD, of Dayton, OH

And welcome back to three physicians who are a returning members!

  • Simon Garza-Keever, DO, of San Antonio, TX
  • John Maddalozzo, MD, of Chicago, IL
  • David E. Gibson, MD, of Pittsboro, NC

If you have peers or colleagues who aren’t currently members of the AAMA, please encourage them to learn more about the benefits of membership by visiting the website or contacting Janice Brown, the membership committee chair.

Physicians Complete 10-Year ABMA Re-certification Process

Congratulations to the following physicians who have completed the process (http://www.dabma.org/recertification.asp) set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:

  • Elizabeth Christenson, MD, LAc, FAAMA, of Kailua, HI
  • William H. Stager, DO, FAAMA, of West Palm Beach, FL
  • Carlos Suarez, MD, FAAMA, of Springdale, AR

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The Legislative Committee continues its work monitoring and responding to legislation relevant to our members and their practice of medical acupuncture. Currently, the committee is monitoring 54 bills regarding acupuncture, chronic pain, substance use disorder, and dry needling. Activity of note includes:

  • A letter was sent to Maryland legislators opposing dry needling by athletic trainers (HB1016).
  • The Legislative Committee worked with the Colorado Acupuncture Association and the Colorado Medical Society to amend a bill so that MDs and DOs can advertise that they practice medical acupuncture.
  • Additional letters were submitted to committees in opposition to Hawaii HB1679 and SB2276. Amendments will prohibit LAcs from using the title “physician” and from incorporating internal medicine into their practices. However, there is no amendment to remove the prohibition on physicians practicing acupuncture.
  • NH members were informed of the AAMA’s opposition to SB290 which would permit unlicensed persons to perform auriculotherapy.
  • The Legislative Committee is working with the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management on its response to the CDC’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids 2022.

The Legislative Committee will continue to watch for bills that affect AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. We will also contact YOU when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. In that event, we ask that you write your representatives and senators since they prefer to hear directly from their constituents. If you learn of relevant legislative activity, please connect with the committee by email: info@medicalacupuncture.org.

2022 Annual Symposium – Just Two Weeks Away!

It’s not too late to register. The Annual AAMA Symposium will be held in-person, May 5-8, 2022, at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, OH. Make plans now to re-connect with friends and colleagues at this four-day educational event! Register now.

Hotel Deadline Extended

The AAMA has negotiated an extended discounted rate of $184 + tax/night. Reserve your room TODAY before our block sells out.

Symposium Objectives

  • Expand awareness of scientific research into the effects of acupuncture.
  • Focus on clinically relevant treatment approaches that can easily be integrated into clinical practice.
  • Introduce attendees to a variety of approaches for the treatment of common conditions seen in clinical practice.
  • Teach attendees new ways to tailor acupuncture treatments to their individual patients.
  • Provide time for networking with leaders, peers and friends who practice medical acupuncture.

Pre-Symposium Workshops

The following workshops are scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 2022. Attendees may select one workshop as an optional add-on to expand the educational opportunities provided at the Symposium. (There is an additional fee to attend a Pre-Symposium Workshop.) View workshop schedule.

  • Auricular Acupuncture Microsystem presented by Nader Soliman, MD, FAAMA
  • Balance Methods presented by Eileen Yue-Ling Han PhD, LAc
  • Simplifying Constitutional Diagnosis presented by Jeffrey Meyers, MD, LAc

NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements Practicum

May 23-25, 2022 (Virtual)

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a three day educational opportunity to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements to faculty, students, and practitioners with a serious interest in this subject. This intensive practicum will provide a thorough overview and grounding about issues, concepts, unknowns, and controversies about dietary supplements and supplement ingredients. It will also emphasize the importance of scientific investigations to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and value of these products for health promotion and disease prevention as well as how to carry out this type of research. Learn more.

BMJ: How to Design High-quality Acupuncture Trials

An international panel including patients, clinicians, researchers, acupuncture and surgery trialists, statisticians, and experts in clinical epidemiology and methodology have developed new guidance for randomized controlled trials in acupuncture. It addresses the most prevalent and critical concerns of current acupuncture trials and will help funding agencies, trial registers, and journal editors to evaluate the relevance, importance, and quality of submitted trial proposals and completed trials. Learn more.

Join the Conversation on Social

Join the conversations online with fellow physician acupuncturists from around the country! You can find AAMA on:

There’s even a closed group on Facebook for discussion between members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aamagroup

In Case You Missed It Last Month

AAMA Member Reflects on Acupuncture’s Evolution in Michigan

“I reflected on Michigan’s transformation from an acupuncture wild west to a place where acupuncture has institutional approval, I realized that there were several women who made this happen and I wanted to share their stories,” said Alison Lee, MD, FAAMA.

In her essay, Lee describes the perseverance of a dedicated group of women who fought to secure a place for acupuncture in Michigan’s health care landscape. Their challenges and victories serve as an inspiring lesson to us all.

Here’s an excerpt:

When I arrived in Michigan almost 30 years ago, physician and non-physician acupuncturists were practicing throughout the state in a disconnected and independent environment that lacked significant organization. On the regulatory level, there were no restrictions on the physician in terms of scope of practice, and any physician was free to offer acupuncture to their patients. No licensing mechanism existed for non-physician acupuncturists, so they were not recognized by the state as qualified to practice medicine or acupuncture, but the environment was lenient allowing them to freely establish acupuncture clinics.

Read the full article.

Good Faith Estimate Requirement for Billing

The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) provision of the No Surprises Act, effective 1/1/22, says that “a GFE must be provided to all uninsured (or self-pay) individuals who schedule items or services or request a GFE. A GFE is required even if there is a set price for the service because the actual billed charges may not reflect the anticipated set price for the service at the time of estimate.”

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

Characteristics associated with the availability of therapeutic acupuncture in substance use disorder treatment facilities in the United States
[Journal of Addictive Diseases]
Although complementary and holistic approaches such as acupuncture are accepted adjunct methods to treat persons with SUD, the findings suggest that their utilization in SUD treatment facilities in the US is minimal. Results, however, highlight that facilities operated by tribal and federal governments, those that are located in the Western region of the US, and non-hospital facilities have the highest odds of incorporating therapeutic acupuncture as treatment for SUD.

 

Effects of Warm Acupuncture Combined with Meloxicam and Comprehensive Nursing on Pain Improvement and Joint Function in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis
[Journal of Healthcare Engineering]
Warm acupuncture combined with meloxicam and comprehensive nursing can effectively improve knee swelling and pain in patients with KOA, and the mechanism may be related to reducing the content of inflammatory mediators.

 

Effect of additional acupuncture to pelvic floor exercise on urinary incontinence: A randomized controlled trial
[Neurology & Urodynamics]
One hundred seventy-nine women were screened while 137 were randomized. Significant subjective improvement in UI symptoms was demonstrated at all follow-up, latest at 24 weeks (odds ratio [OR]: 2.29, 95% confidence Interval [CI]: 1.02–5.12, respectively), with reduced episodes and severity of UI after (p < 0.05), and a trend of improvement in IIQ-7 score (p = 0.05). No major adverse events occurred. History of 2 years or longer duration of UI symptoms was associated with lower effectiveness of acupuncture (OR: 0.08, 95% CI: 0.01–0.68).

 

Acupuncture for Parkinson’s Disease: From theory to practice
[Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy]
This article aims to distill the similarities and differences in the treatment concepts between Chinese and Western medicine from the perspective of reinforcing the deficiency and purging the excess, summarize the latest evidence on the benefits of acupuncture for PD from theory to practice, and propose prospective treatment options for PD.

 

Note: Some of these news sources may require you to create a free account to read their content, while others may have a paywall.