Message from the AAMA Board

Fear and Gratitude

I did it. After 16 years practicing acupuncture I finally did it. A colleague who had never sent me an acupuncture referral called me about a guy who had tried everything for his pain. He was a very busy team manager for a high-tech startup, and his pregnant wife had constant “morning” sickness. It took weeks to get him in. He was better on amitriptyline, but he wanted to try  acupuncture to reduce pain further and wean off meds. During those weeks I stewed about how to treat him. I knew what he needed, but I tried to come up with an alternative. His referring physician is a urologist, and he had pelvic pain. And you probably know where I’m going.

The first visit was typical for an acupuncture-naive patient, mostly history followed by ear points and the Koffman cocktail (GV 20, Yintang, and the 4 Gates), and scheduling a series of weekly visits to get down to business. Another week of stewing. I reviewed my notes from Larissa Bresler’s Symposium presentation on male pelvic pain. This gentleman was counting on me to give him the best possible treatment, so the next week, with great trepidation, I used GV1. And it was a non-event — one needle among several, and he’s better.

Which has led me to reflect on fear and gratitude. If we’ve learned anything from the past 18-20 months it should be not to sweat the small stuff. There is plenty of big stuff to worry about.  And we should have learned perspective. In 35 years of internal medicine practice I’ve done much more in the neighborhood of GV 1 than placing an acupuncture needle in a prone patient.

If we haven’t lost a loved one or a patient to COVID or anything else during this time we should be grateful. If we have been able to help a fearful patient or exhausted co-worker through all this with acupuncture we should be grateful. There is so much for which to be grateful.  Practicing gratitude goes a long way toward banishing the fear of the small stuff.

But CV 1 is going to have to wait a while.

Sue Sorensen, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

Applied Kinesiology: Muscle Testing Comes Alive
Weekend Workshop
October 16-27, 2021
Chicago, IL

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 AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in July 2021.

  • Susan L. Beutum, MBBS FAMAC, of Sydney, Australia
  • Julie Heise, MD, of Olathe, KS
  • Janet Keais, DO, of Tyler, TX
  • Prentiss A. Lawson, Jr, MD, of Vestavia, AL
  • Jason L. Musser, MD, of Grand Forks AFB, ND
  • Deborah M Pacik, MD, LAc of Bronx, NY
  • Joanne Pritchard, MD, of Robinson, TX
  • Chelsey D. Stull, DO, of Kirksville, MO

And welcome back to the following returning members:

  • Barbara J. Doty, MD, of Wasilla, AK
  • Susan Jin-Sun Park, MD, of Reno, NV
  • Maria B. Patten, DO, of Kailua, HI
  • Karen Ann Williams, DNP, FNP-BC, of Richmond, VA

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 Recertification Process

Congratulations to the following physicians who have completed the process ( set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:

  • Lynn M. Rusy, MD of Milwaukee, WI
  • Rosalie Tassone, MD, MPH of West Palm Beach, FL
  • Norman G. Zavela, MD, of Perrysburg, OH

Time’s Running Out – Renew Your AAMA Membership Now!

The AAMA is planning big things for 2021-2022! June 30 was the official membership renewal deadline. Renew now to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The most important part of the Academy is YOU! Through your membership and participation, the Academy will continue to advance in stature and quality. Your membership supports your success as a medical acupuncturist. We thank you for your current AAMA membership and for your dedication to medical acupuncture. We ARE in this together — and together we will thrive. Please take a few minutes and renew your membership today! 

Your AAMA Membership comes with valuable benefits, including:


Get Social with AAMA!

We’ve added Instagram to the ways you can follow the AAMA and share your own work and feedback. Look us up and tag us! @aamacupuncture

Don’t forget AAMA is also on:

There’s even a closed group on Facebook for discussion between members:

Join the conversations online with fellow physician acupuncturists from around the country!

In Case You Missed It Last Month

2021 Research Competition Winner

Congratulations to our colleagues who authored the research paper selected as the winner in the AAMA Annual Research Competition. We want to celebrate their efforts and recognize them as winners of the 2021 Research Paper Competition!

The first-place winner was authored by Stephanie I. Cheng, MD, DABMA, Deirdre C. Kelleher, MD, Danya DeMeo, BS, Haoyan Zhong, MPA, George Birch, BS, Michael P. Ast, MD, MPH.  The paper is entitled, “Incorporating Intraoperative Acupuncture to Reduce Opioid Usage After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Prospective Cohort Trial.” 

Watch the video of the paper’s presentation at the AAMA’s 2021 Annual Symposium (Virtual).

Boost Your DABMA Branding with AAMA Certification Mark

The AAMA’s medical acupuncture certification mark represents the AAMA’s commitment to promoting the highest standards of education and training in medical acupuncture. If you are a full member or Fellow of the AAMA with DABMA certification, you may request an electronic file of the certification mark and guidelines for its usage. Upon verification of your status, a jpg file will be sent to you. Email the AAMA. 

New Benchmarks from WHO for the Practice of Acupuncture

From the World Health Organization: “With the increasing use of acupuncture in clinical settings worldwide, there is a need to develop benchmarks for the practice of acupuncture, against which actual acupuncture treatment can be compared and evaluated. This document presents a stepwise guidance for the administration of acupuncture treatment, provides the minimum infrastructure requirements for delivering an acupuncture service and emphasizes the key elements for the safe practice of acupuncture.” Download document now. 

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 


Additive effects of acupuncture in alleviating anxiety: A double-blind, three-arm, randomized clinical trial
[Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice]
Conclusion: Acupuncture combined with SSRIs can significantly improve anxiety state compared to anti-anxiety therapy using SSRIs alone.

Efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia
[Orthopedic Reviews]
An increasing number of studies support the utilization of acupuncture for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Though no head-to-head comparison was able to show the superiority of acupuncture to other therapies, mounting evidence supports its use as part of multimodal approaches to treatment with additive efficacy to traditional therapy. Further research will likely provide data on effective regimens and combination therapies.

Battlefield Acupuncture Versus Standard Pharmacologic Treatment of Low Back Pain in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Controlled Trial
[Journal of Emergency Medicine]
Conclusions: BFA shows promise for further study as an alternative to standard pharmacologic interventions among adults presenting to the ED with low back pain.


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