Message from the AAMA Board

We Can Do Better

— Michael Freedman, MD, FAAMA, Secretary, AAMA Board of Directors

A relative recently had an unfortunate experience during a visit with his primary physician. A veteran of multiple combat deployments and now approaching 40, he has aches, pains, and medical issues. With enough medical understanding from his own reading and growing up with two physicians for parents, he went to the appointment expecting to discuss his concerns and to ask questions. He envisioned engaging in a conversation and planning how to optimize his health now and into the future. When the physician entered the exam room the first words out of her mouth were something like. “You have five minutes. We can talk about one problem; for anything else make another appointment.” He was a bit taken back and flustered and ill prepared to pick out one of his overlapping complaints to discuss. There was no laying on of hands, no exam. Nothing was accomplished at the visit other than a reinforcement of the idea that he had nowhere to turn, and that military medicine was in his experience often tantamount to no medicine.

In defense of the physician, she may well have been alone in a busy clinic and felt like she was treading water, barely able to survive the workday. She may have had no sleep, nothing to eat, and in the back of her mind worrying about her own upcoming deployment. She may have wondered what her purpose in life had become and how different being a physician was compared to what she envisioned before the long years of training.

So how can we do better? Perhaps if the physician had been trained in medical acupuncture, she could have walked in the room, smiled, and said, “Hi. I’m your doctor. We don’t have a lot of time, but why don’t we start by you telling me where you might be hurting the most today. While I’m taking care of that pain you can list for me your health issues and concerns. We can plan together how to tackle your concerns, get some testing done and start getting you feeling better. The next visit we’ll count on spending more time together.”

In this alternate reality, my relative may then have experienced the healing touch of a physician and the relief of any one of his chronic pains accumulated from nearly two decades of warfighting. After a five-minute encounter he would have left feeling physically more comfortable and spiritually encouraged with a vision of a way forward. The physician might have felt an internal sense of warmth and pride, grateful that she had chosen a profession that allows her to go home at the end of the day knowing she has done her best to relieve her patients’ pain and suffering.

What can we do as a society of medical acupuncturists? To begin, perhaps those of us with friends involved in medical education can discuss with those friends the possibility of visiting their institutions to give presentations and hands-on demonstrations. Lunchtime grand rounds might be turned into a learning opportunity and not a napping opportunity. Rotations through different specialties in medical schools could incorporate a one-needle treatment for each specialty, like CV-2 for cystitis when on Urology, LI-14 for shoulder pain on Orthopedics, or Shen Men to reduce anxiety while doing Psychiatry. We could advertise our own annual symposium to the physicians and physicians-in-training we know who are not currently medical acupuncturists. A one-day workshop teaching simple one- or two-needle treatments for common problems most clinicians encounter every day could be offered.

We are sitting upon a gold mine of good will and satisfaction for both patients and doctors. If we fail to share our experience with those who have no training, we run the risk that the opportunity and privilege to practice medical acupuncture will disappear. We also run the risk that practicing the  art of medicine will be forever lost.

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors and/or Committees

The Academy is a member-driven organization. Members of the Academy serve on the Board of Directors and on Committees advising the Board and make decisions regarding the priorities, programs and activities of our organization. They help guide the future of the Academy. All members are invited to take part in this volunteer governance process. You can take on a small task with a clearly defined time commitment, or you can play a more significant leadership role as a member of a standing committee or as a Board member. Committee volunteers are welcome year-round. The Board of Directors holds elections in the spring each year, when Directors and Officers are chosen by the members to guide the Academy for the following year. If you are interested in being considered for a seat on the Board of Directors, please reach out and let us know. We welcome your inquiry! Learn more.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

AAMA Webinar: Adverse Events from Acupuncture: Eye & CNS
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT/5:00 pm PT
Presenter: Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA

AAMA Annual Symposium
Purchase access through October 1, 2023
28+ possible credits

11th International Auriculotherapy Symposium
“Auriculotherapy Meets the Field of Psychology”
September 8-10, 2023
Copenhagen, Denmark (Online also available!)

HMI Course — Curious Meridians: Theory & Practice
September 21-October 21, 2023

Treating Musculoskeletal Pain & Dysfunction Without Drugs and Surgery: Integrating Dry Needling, Osteopathic Manipulation and Manual Muscle Testing
September 30-October 1, 2023
Ann Arbor, MI

ICMART 2023 – Amsterdam
September 29-Oct. 1, 2023
AAMA Members register as ICMART Members
Early-bird deadline extended to July 29!!

Applied Kinesiology: Manual Muscle Testing Comes Alive!
October 28-29, 2023
Ann Arbor, MI

AAMA 2024 Review Course
Feb 16-March 14, 2024
Virtual lectures with weekly live sessions

AAMA Core Refresher
April 10, 2024
Minneapolis, MN

AAMA Annual Symposium
April 11-14, 2024
Minneapolis, MN
Hotel Details – reserve room!

ABMA Certification Exam
April 14, 2024
Minneapolis, MN
Apply for certification – must be Board eligible to sit for exam.

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 July 2023.

  • Chantal Dewey, MD, of Westborough, MA
  • Carolyn E. Keeler, DO, of Chapel Hill, NC
  • Vedashree Panthulu, MD, of Sarasota, FL
  • Joanne Pham, MD, of Decatur, TX
  • Tuan Minh Vo, DO, of Tucson, AZ

And to the former members who returned to AAMA!

  • Tina Nowak, MD, of Sarasota, FL
  • Abdul Qadir, MD, of Pleasantville, NJ
  • George Wang, MD, PhD, FACP, of Denville, NJ

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 Kendra Unger, the membership committee chair. DON’T FORGET: If you would like to sponsor a medical student member for $75/year, please email AAMA today and let us know.

Physicians Earn ABMA Certification

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

  • Sarah R. Housman, DO, DABMA of Pueblo, CO
  • Marina Rasnow-Hill, MD, DABMA of Elk Grove, CA

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The committee reports that most state legislatures are wrapping up for the summer. Of note:

  • Committee members have contacted the authors of two bills in Massachusetts regarding dry needling to request that physician acupuncturists be exempt from additional requirements in order to practice.
  • There has been no new movement at the federal level for HR3133, the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act.

The Legislative Committee watches for bills that affect AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. The committee members will contact you when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. In that event, you are encouraged to 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:

LAST CHANCE: Access Recorded CME from AAMA’s 2023 Annual Symposium Now!

There’s still time to earn CME credits for 2023! Nearly all of the AAMA’s Annual Symposium sessions were recorded, and AAMA members can purchase access to the on-demand recording package. Topics include:

  • Stroke Recovery
  • PTSD
  • Chronic Pain
  • Emotional Freedom Technique
  • Battlefield Acupuncture
  • Electroacupuncture
  • Laser acupuncture
  • And many, many more!
Purchase access now and view all the recorded sessions until October 1, 2023!

AAMA Member Wins RFS Award in Science

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., in partnership with the Rosalind Franklin Society launched a prestigious annual award to recognize outstanding published peer-reviewed research by women and underrepresented minorities in science in each of the publisher’s peer-reviewed journals. The RFS Awards in Science for Medical Acupuncture has selected Stephanie I. Cheng, MD, DABMA, FAAMA who co-authored: Intraoperative Acupuncture as Part of a Multimodal Analgesic Regimen to Reduce Opioid Usage After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Prospective Cohort Trial (Stephanie I. Cheng, Deirdre C. Kelleher, Danya DeMeo, Haoyan Zhong, George Birch, Michael P. Ast ) Read now.

Washington Post: Does acupuncture work for chronic pain? Here’s what the science says.

Critics once dismissed the benefits of acupuncture as purely a placebo effect, a notion that still lingers among a portion of the public. But research has found a benefit for certain conditions, including chronic pain. The data is so promising that, in 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services started covering acupuncture therapy for chronic low back pain. Clinical trials over the past several decades have suggested acupuncture may be a beneficial treatment for other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and constipation. Read full article.

USA Today: How does acupuncture work? Understand why so many people swear by it.

With its use in Chinese medicine dating back more than 3,000 years and its use in Europe beginning in the early 1800s, acupuncture has only grown in popularity over the centuries. And it’s unique in that it’s appreciated as both a holistic treatment option and as conventional medicine. Read full article.

AAMA Webinar – Adverse Events from Acupuncture: Eye & CNS

Live: Wednesday, August 30, 2023
8:00 pm EDT, 7:00 pm CDT, 5:00 pm PDT
Presented by Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA
** Recording available to all registrants following live webinar

An adverse event is a harmful or negative outcome that may happen when a patient has been provided medical care. One in ten acupuncture patients will experience an adverse event. This presentation will focus on injuries that can happen due to improper needling of points around the eye and near the central nervous system. Local anatomy and correct needling instructions will be given for acupuncture points which have a greater possibility of incurring an adverse event.

Learn more and register. Can’t make the live webinar date? Register anyway and access the recording later at a time that works for your schedule!

Coming in September: New HMI Course

September 21 – October 21, 2023 | Virtual

“Curious Meridians: Theory & Practice”
This graduate-level course will be presented fully virtually, with video lectures available starting September 21, 2023 and a live webinar on October 21, 2023. Senior HMI faculty will discuss the theory and foundations of Curious Meridians, as well as the clinical applications including headaches, infertility, and more.

Treating Musculoskeletal Pain & Dysfunction Without Drugs and Surgery: Integrating Dry Needling, Osteopathic Manipulation and Manual Muscle Testing

September 30-October 1, 2023
Ann Arbor, MI

AAMA members are invited to attend 14.5 hours of training at this workshop. Drs. Joseph Audette and Jay Sandweiss will present a highly effective approach for diagnosing and treating common musculoskeletal problems, such as: tennis elbow, golfer elbow, rotator cuff syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee pain, ankle pain, neck, hip and back pain. Attendees will learn to integrate osteopathic manipulation, dry needling and manual muscle testing. Early registration discount ends August 31, 2023. Learn more and register.

AAMA invites leadership volunteers

Are You Following Us?

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:

In Case You Missed It Last Month

NCCIH Clinical Digest: Headaches

Results of research on mind and body practices such as relaxation training, biofeedback, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation for headaches suggest that these approaches may help relieve headaches and may be helpful for migraines. Several dietary supplements, including riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and the herbs butterbur and feverfew, have been studied for migraine, with some promising results in preliminary studies. Read what the science says.

New! Student Member Sponsorship Opportunity

Young physicians represent the future of medical acupuncture. To encourage their involvement in our organization, the AAMA recently launched an initiative to invite current members to sponsor a medical student member for $75/year. Would you like to sponsor a medical student member? Or would you like more information about the option? Please email AAMA today and let us know.

Call for Webinar Presenters

The Education Committee invites AAMA members to propose and present an educational webinar to their AAMA peers. Share your expertise so your colleagues can gain insights and knowledge to help them take their practices and skills to the next level, while earning valuable CME credits. Learn more. Interested parties should email the AAMA at

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

Battlefield Acupuncture as a Treatment Option for Chronic Tinnitus: A Pilot Study
[Military Medicine]
Findings from eight chronic tinnitus sufferers who received two BFA treatment sessions are reported here, suggesting at least short-term treatment benefits observed as reductions in tinnitus-related psychological distress and impact. Although these findings are constrained by the study’s small sample size and limited treatment period, its findings underscore the need for further research to determine the potential benefits of BFA for individuals who suffer from chronic tinnitus. Future research should consider the possibility of more lasting benefits through extended BFA treatment, with a comparison of BFA treatment against other treatment methods.

Investigation of the Effects of Acupuncture on Post-Operative Chest Pain after Open Heart Surgery
[Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies]
Our findings highlight acupuncture as an alternative method of controlling CABG-associated post-operative chest pain and reducing the use of analgesics, which might have many side effects.

Effects of acupuncture on mental health of migraine patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis
[BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies]
The present results suggest that, compared with Western medicine and sham acupuncture, acupuncture seems to be able to effectively improve anxiety and depression in migraine patients. And it may be more effective in improving SF36-mental health, VAS and MSQ than sham acupuncture or Western medicine. The results of this study need to be verified by higher quality randomized controlled trials.

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