Message from the AAMA Board

Legislative Action Involving Acupuncture

— Gavin Elliott, MD, FAAMA


I would like to take this opportunity to make sure you are all aware that changes in legislation that could have an impact on your practice are regularly occurring at both the state and national level. Your legislative committee is currently quite active.

First off, we’re monitoring or acting on 48 bills in the following categories and locations:

  • Acupuncture:27 bills in CT, HI, IA, KY, MD, MO, MT, NY, NJ, NM, NY, OK, TX, WA, & WV
  • Chronic Pain: 5 bills in CO, MT, NH, NY, & WA
  • Dry Needling: 8 bills in MD, NJ, VA, & WA
  • Opioids: 2 bills in MO & WV

We have reached out to the course coordinators from the Academy for Pain Research, Acumed, and HMI for assistance in notifying graduates of bills in MT and OK that could affect their acupuncture practices.

Secondly, the committee is actively working on these bills:

NY A1564 – This bill would permit non-licensed persons to do auricular acupuncture. We’re working with the Acupuncture Society of New York on this. Letters have been sent to the bill’s sponsor, committee chairs, and NY AAMA members in opposition to the bill. Letters have been sent to the sponsor of the assembly bill, committee chairs, and NY AAMA members in opposition to the bill.

MT HB152 – The bill states that only LAcs may do acupuncture. We’ve sent letters to the sponsor and spoken with the lawyers. Emails were sent to HMI, AcuMed, and Academy of Pain Research to inform their MT grads to contact the sponsor to support our amendment to clarify that physicians may continue to use solid needles for therapy.

OK HB2113 – This bill would establish an acupuncture practice act because acupuncture is not currently regulated in OK. The sponsor is receptive to our amendment to include wording permitting physicians to practice acupuncture within their scope of practice. Emails were sent to the grads from the three courses.

MDHB172 – This bill would allow athletic trainers to dry needle and provide electric stimulation to needles. A version of this bill passed in the MD senate last year but failed in the house. They have resubmitted it to the new legislature. It has backing by the professional sports teams in the state and will be an uphill battle for us. We are working with local and national LAcs to oppose this measure.

HI HB641, SB845, & SB946 – These bills update the acupuncture practice act with new definitions and continuing education requirements. The wording prohibiting physicians from practicing acupuncture is unchanged, Hawaii is one of two states that prohibit physicians to practice acupuncture without graduating from an acupuncture school. The House bill has been sent to the Health & Homelessness and the Consumer Protection & Commerce Committees. The Senate bills have been sent to the Health & Human Services Committee. There is no scheduled date for the committee hearings yet. Here are links to the bills if you’d like to read them.

Comprehensive Acupuncture Act of 2023 – This is a federal bill; it is the newest version of the ‘Acupuncture for Our Heroes and Acupuncture for Our Seniors’ bills from CA Rep. Judy Chu. The initial primary focus of this bill was to qualify LAcs to bill and receive payment from Medicare for acupuncture services. The new bill replaces the term “qualified acupuncturist” with “licensed acupuncturist,” which could create a problem for physicians. It has not been introduced yet. We have reached out to Rep. Chu’s aide to discuss this and will be reaching out to any co-sponsors once they are known. Subsequently, we will contact involved committee members.

Please see additional details in the Legislative Report section below. If any of these bills are taking place in your state, I urge you to take action and contact the sponsors and members of the various committees that the bill will pass through. If you need a template or other information relating to these matters, feel free to contact us.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities


Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium
February 28-March 2, 2023
Chicago, IL

WEBINAR: Neuroinflammation in Acupuncture and Trigger Point Physiology: Implications for Clinical Practice
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
8pm ET / 7pm CT/ 5pm PT

Medical Acupuncture Core Refresher
April 12, 2023
Dallas, TX Metro Area
Register now!

AAMA Annual Symposium
April 13-16, 2023
Dallas, TX Metro Area
Register now!

SAR 2023 Conference
From Mechanism to Patient-Centered Care: Research in Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine
May 18-21, 2023
New York City, NY, USA

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 January 2023.

  • Barbara Merovich, MD, of Hermitage, PA
  • Diane E. Alligood, MD, of Winterville, NC
  • Jing Fan, MD (China), PhD, LAc, of Austin, TX
  • Christopher J. Li, MD, of New York, NY
  • Carlos J Colon, MD, of High Springs, FL

And a warm welcome back to our returning member!

  • Nadia Volf, MD of Paris, France

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.

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The committee is monitoring 48 bills concerning acupuncture, chronic pain, and dry needling (see map of legislative activity by state below). Of note:

MT HB152 – The committee is working with the bill’s sponsor to add language to guarantee that physicians may perform solid needle therapy.

OK HB2112 – After hearing from the committee and OK medical acupuncturists, the bill’s sponsor plans to add an amendment to ensure that physicians may perform acupuncture within the scope of their licenses.

MD HB172 & SB232 – Letters have been sent to the bills’ sponsors and committee chairs stating our opposition to athletic trainers performing dry needling.

NY A1564 & NY S3523 – These bills would permit non-licensed persons to do ear acupuncture. We are working with the Acupuncture Society of New York on this. Letters have been sent to the sponsor of the assembly bill, committee chairs, and NY AAMA members in opposition to the bill.

HI HB641, SB946, & SB845 – These bills update the acupuncture practice act with new definitions and continuing education requirements. The wording prohibiting physicians from practicing acupuncture is unchanged. The committee is in the process of responding to the sponsors of these bills and the legislative committees that will be hearing the bills.

The Legislative Committee will continue to watch 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:

Map of Legislative Activity Relating to Acupuncture

David Cole, MD, Begins Term in Alabama House of Representatives

AAMA member, David Cole, MD, ran for election to the Alabama House of Representatives to represent Alabama House District 10. He won in the general election in November and assumed office in December. We asked Dr. Cole to share his thoughts about the intersection of public service and medicine — and where acupuncture fits into the mix. And he told us why he thinks physicians make strong legislators.

(1) Why did you decide to run for office? Do you have any prior public service experience? 

That is a great question. I do not have any prior public service experience so this is all new to me. My decision to run for office stems from several things. I was engaged with a patient who talked about how they were assisting people in their state with the house of representatives. This statement caused me to reflect that, as a physician, I have spent my entire life dedicated to the service of my patients in alleviating sickness. My 22 years of service in United States Army also was a calling to perform a service for the greater good. This interaction prompted me to seek ways that I could continue to assist my community. I talked to the party about how I could help, and they actually mentioned that unbeknownst to me the representative in my district was retiring and that they could use my assistance running for office and that district. It was a hard-fought battle, but in the end the people elected who they wanted to represent in the state capitol. It is a deep honor and significant commitment to service, which I believe is shown with my background.

(2) Are there any specific health care issues you hope to address/change? 

Which one to start with? To give some background, I am the only physician in the house of representatives in the state of Alabama. Naturally, I am on the health committee. My first mission is to help guide, teach, and mentor my fellow committee members and representatives in all aspects of health care. I will also try to ensure that the policies that are legislated are valid, based in science, and reasonably achievable without compromising the health of the state of Alabama citizens. One of my goals for my upcoming term is to increase the number of medical residencies within the state in critical-need areas, such as primary care and psychiatry. In the acupuncture lane, I am currently working on legislation to help ensure that acupuncture is appropriately reimbursable and to set guidelines for licensing, training, and oversight, which the state currently does not have.

(3) What strengths do you think physicians bring to the table as policy-makers and legislators? 

I actually think that physicians are quite set up for success being a legislator. Our training causes us to critically think through all sorts of issues, to have a natural curiosity to investigate, and accept findings that are contrary to what we may have previously believed. We have a unique set of listening skills and an ability to teach to the highest and the lowest educated person. Physicians tend to understand and think through the ramifications of their treatment and know what the outcomes should be, and ways to measure those outcomes. If you think in terms of that, we have actually good policy making skills and have been trained for decades to think and act in this nature.

2023 Symposium Ad

2023 Annual Symposium – Dates, Deadlines & Details

The 2023 AAMA Symposium will be held April 13-16, 2023, in Dallas, Texas. Make plans now to re-connect with friends and colleagues at this four-day educational event!

The 2023 Symposium Will: 

  • 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.
  • Provide time for networking with leaders, peers and friends who practice medical acupuncture.

Register Before March 15 to Save $$

Registrations received after March 15 will be charged the late registration fee. Register now.

Hotel Details

The Annual AAMA Symposium will be at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel in Dallas, TX. The AAMA has negotiated a discounted rate of $169 + tax/night. Book your room now. The discount expires March 21, 2023, or whenever the room block sells out.

Pre-Symposium Workshops Filling Fast! 

The following workshops are scheduled for Thursday, April 13, 2023. 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.

  • “Acupuncture for Musculoskeletal Pain: Combining Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Myofascial Meridian, and Acupuncture Traditions” – Peter Dorsher, MD
  • “MU-SHU-PULSE & Other Special Points: New Concepts and Constructs for Treating Meridian and Channel Disturbances” – Jay Sandweiss, DO, FAAMA
  • “The Western Medical Acupuncture Approach to Headache” – Mike Cummings, MD
  • “Introduction to Neijing Nature-based Medicine” – Ed Neal, MD, MSOM

REGISTER NOW: Medical Acupuncture Core Refresher

The Core Refresher is designed to be a stand-alone summary of the core principles with which a contemporary physician practicing medical acupuncture should be familiar. While the Medical Acupuncture Review Course does a deep dive into each of the core areas, the Core Refresher provides an interactive, hands-on broad strokes reminder/update utilizing clinical case presentations, as well as relevant point locations and their specific applications, to illustrate core principles. More.

Fellow Application Deadline for 2023 is March 17

To be nominated to Fellow of the Academy one must submit an application documenting the following:

  • Possess an MD or DO degree or equivalent.
  • Be licensed to practice as an MD, DO or homeopathic physician in the US or Canada.
  • Be Board Certified by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture.
  • Be a current Full member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
  • Have a minimum of five years of Western medicine practice experience or be Board Certified in his or her medical specialty.
  • Have a minimum of four years of clinical experience in medical acupuncture since completing a basic training program in medical acupuncture.
  • Have published or have accepted for publication an acupuncture related article in a recognized medical periodical. OR Have documented ten hours or more of experience teaching medical professionals on acupuncture related topics.

Want to learn more?

AAMA Member & Colleague Podcasts – Quick Survey

The AAMA board of directors is researching the feasibility of producing and/or contributing to health care podcasts; content relating to medical acupuncture, they argue, would be a useful and welcome addition to the podcast arena.

Members are encouraged to share their experiences with podcasting:

  • Do you have a podcast of your own?
  • Do you know of a podcast that may invite an AAMA member to speak about medical acupuncture?
  • Are you interested in speaking as an AAMA representative on a podcast?

Please email your answers today:

Introduce Your Colleagues to Medical Acupuncture — Download Presentation Today

The AAMA has created a presentation that AAMA members can use to present as an introduction to medical acupuncture for health care professionals. It provides information about mechanisms of action, treatable conditions, adverse effects, and reasons to consider acupuncture treatments for patients. This new AAMA member resource includes the presentation slides for your use, the narrative that goes along with the presentation slides, and a file of references for the presentation. Recently a recording was made of the actual presentation that members can view and see how the presentation might be delivered. Learn more.

AAMA Members Invited: SAR 2023 International Research Conference

MAY 18-21, 2023
New York City, New York, USA     

From Mechanism to Patient-Centered Care: Research in Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine

Co-sponsored by: The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and the Harvard Medical School Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

Join acupuncture researchers, practitioners, students, educators, and more in NYC for an exciting global exchange of knowledge and latest advancements.  The conference includes information related to acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) research (four main symposia; nine member symposia; oral abstract presentations); hands-on workshops (writing case reports; including patients’ voice in research; cultural humility and IDEA – Inclusive Diversity, Equity, Access – training; basic science effects of acupuncture; and more!); mentoring opportunities; networking Gala Dinner; an opportunity to meet with publishers to learn how to get your research published; a Global Ambassadors’ symposium; keynote presentation; and poster abstracts.

A limited number of travel award stipend and registration scholarships are available for students and junior researchers to attend the conference (application deadline is March 24, 2023).

Learn more about the Conference Program:

Register today:

Learn about Scholarships:

AAMA invites leadership volunteers

Call for Papers: Sports Injuries & Acupuncture

AAMA members are invited to contribute to a special issue of the journal Medical Acupuncture, which will focus on “The Role of Acupuncture in Sports Injuries and Best Practices.” Please contribute your clinical experience and research on the use of acupuncture and electroacupuncture in treating sports injuries. Your article will undergo blinded peer review, and if accepted for publication, will be included in the special issue and promoted globally. The issue will provide a broad overview of the best practices of acupuncture to palliate and assist in healing acute and chronic sport injuries. The deadline for article submission is May 5, 2023. Please review details about suggested topics and submission criteria. Learn more.

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

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 complete the proposal form and return to the AAMA at

NCCIH: Mind and Body Practices for Sleep Disorders

Research has demonstrated beneficial results of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) for people with chronic insomnia disorder. There is also some evidence suggesting that relaxation therapy may be useful for this condition. There is limited evidence that other complementary health approaches such as yoga and meditation may be helpful for people with sleep problems. This issue of the digest provides a summary of the current research for several health approaches for sleep disorders, including CBT-I, relaxation techniques, yoga, and meditation and mindfulness practices. More.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 


Acupuncture for the Treatment of Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel SyndromeA Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial
[JAMA Network Open]
In this pilot randomized clinical trial, acupuncture in both the SA and NSA groups showed clinically meaningful improvement in IBS-D symptoms, although there were no significant differences among the 3 groups. These findings suggest that acupuncture is feasible and safe; a larger, sufficiently powered trial is needed to accurately assess efficacy.

Acupuncture appears to be a rapidly effective treatment for costochondritis
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
To my knowledge, this is the first case series of costochondritis treated by acupuncture. Eight cases are presented, the majority being seen in primary care. Costochondritis is a debilitating condition characterised by severe anterior or lateral chest pain, associated with tenderness of the second to fifth costochondral (CC) joints. Tietze’s syndrome is a rare variant with swelling of CC joints. Shock and dyspnoea can occur, mimicking cardiac pain or upper abdominal problems. I had noticed that this condition seemed to respond particularly well to acupuncture.

Effect of Acupressure on Fatigue in Hemodialysis Patients: A Single-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial
[Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine]
The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of acupressure on fatigue severity, sleep quality, and psychological status in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving hemodialysis (HD) treatment. Conclusions: Acupressure significantly and independently improved fatigue, depression/anxiety, and sleep quality in ESRD patients receiving HD.


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