Message from the AAMA Board

The Dragon Rises Again

— Barbara de la Torre, MD, FAAMA, AAMA Treasurer, AAMA Board of directors, CME Committee Member

At the 2023 AAMA Symposium, I lectured on how Medical Acupuncturists are the key ingredient to bring acupuncture into mainstream medicine. I analyzed complex systems like health care and the potential for change through the recognition and management of common system patterns. The audience responded with praise and doubt.

If you haven’t attended the AAMA Annual Symposium, or if it’s been a few years, you are definitely missing out on the palpable qi that tonifies the deficiency of hope in the medical profession. The room of attendees collectively manifested a power that none of us held alone. Never have I seen so many physicians in a room smile and feel empowered with purpose. No matter what you may say to convince yourself, you can’t get the same qi experience from livestream or a recording!

But speaking also gives me the opportunity to hold a precious space where individuals can share their fears and worries. One physician told me that the health care system in the United States is such a mess that they couldn’t imagine how they could resolve mounting problems at their institution. Another lamented that the AAMA’s decline in membership was a sign that, perhaps, we’ve lost the battle to bring acupuncture to the forefront of mainstream medicine.

You have to wonder if it’s worth being a part of an organization facing such challenges. Why even bother? Who’s right — the group or the individuals?

Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. Consider one theoretical model you are familiar with. Yin Yang Theory not only applies to your clinical situations, but to everything around you. The principles of Yin Yang are one of the most elegant models of complex systems ever recorded in history. They offer a window into the roots of imbalance.

If you observe the world with a Yin Yang lens, the health care system in the United States seems fragmented due to uncontrolled dispersion from a Yang excess with a Yin deficient state. Yet, according to Yin Yang, there is no such thing as permanence. The nature of day and night reveal the “four moments of time” that include the Yang within Yang of the morning and the Yin within Yin of the darkest night. By recognizing the patterns of nature, you can synchronize with its rhythm again and offer possibilities to course correct pathology over time.

But this deeply rooted disharmony requires people with knowledge of both Chinese and Western medicine to guide the restoration back into balance.

What is Yin Yang but a characterization of the behavior of qi? The current state of the health care system in America challenges your ability to be a successful Medical Acupuncturist. You, alone, cannot overcome this adversity. The more collective unity there is for Medical Acupuncture, the stronger the qi input will be to move the needle of the health care system towards more effective and efficient patient care. Nothing is in isolation. If the health care system fails, we will all be affected. No one is immune. This is reflected in dynamic systems theory, which demonstrates the lack of true boundaries between you and your environment. It’s also echoed repeatedly by the ancients.

Esteemed classical Chinese scholar, Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, commented on Yin Yang and boundaries from an ancient philosophical classic: “The qi are in a state of perpetual circulation and exchange. We know that we can be penetrated by the qi from the outside, but our qi is also moving out into the external world. Our qi blends with the qi around us.” (Yin Yang in Classical Texts, p.35)

You are the vital qi needed to promote a healing effect for yourself and for the world around you. You understand how the dynamic Yin Yang relationship of Chinese and Western medicine can create a perfect complement to practice individually or in combination.

“Where those who have true knowledge see sameness,

those who do not know see difference.”

(Nei Jing, Su Wen, Chapter 5)

AAMA is the only medical association in the United States offering resources for physician acupuncturists that include CME, advocacy, and guidance for your unique professional journey. AAMA’s vitality, however, depends on your presence and participation. Don’t mistake challenges as a permanent situation. What may seem like the darkest night can shift into a new brighter day.

Register for the 2024 Symposium. Talk to physicians about Medical Acupuncture training. Inspire physicians to become a member of the AAMA. Guide aspiring physicians to practice noble medicine. Help increase the qi level to a tipping point for healing the wounded health care system.

The Chinese New Year heralds the dawn of the Emerald Wood Dragon. The dragon represents potential for power, nobility, and prosperity. When it’s combined with a Wood year within the Wood season, there is a chance for a double Spring rebirth of creativity and growth. But potential cannot manifest in a positive direction without your careful intention and effort.

AAMA was founded in 1987, shortly before the year of the Earth Dragon, when the organization rose for the first time. It took incredible dedication of the founding members to successfully navigate through uncharted and challenging paths. After 37 years, health care now needs your attention and dedication to recognize and treat the current patterns of imbalance.

The dragon will rise again in prosperity and nobility when we all take part in transforming health care together. United, we stand stronger to shape the medicine of the future.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

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.

1st Croatian Congress of Acupuncture
April 19-21, 2024
Opatija, Croatia

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 2024:

  • Jason A. Faucheux, DO, of Covington, LA
  • Yeong Caleb Kim, MD, (S. Korea), LAc
  • William J. Patz, PA, of Albuquerque, NM
  • Mariko Sato, MD, of Irvine, CA

And a warm welcome back to our returning members:

  • Sabrina Cerny, MD, of Roca, NE
  • Ray W. Howe, MD, of Denver, CO

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.

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The Legislative Committee is following 80 bills on acupuncture, chronic pain, and dry needling. Topics of bills that include acupuncture are:

  • Insurance / Medicaid / Work Comp coverage for acupuncture
  • Training non-acupuncturists to do auriculotherapy
  • Non-drug treatments for pain

REMEMBER: 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:

2024 Annual Symposium: Register Today for In Person OR Virtual

What fuels your passion for excellence? What sustains your commitment to compassionate patient care? How to do stay focused on your purpose?

Reconnect with your north star in the North Star State!

The Annual AAMA Symposium will be held April 11-14, 2024, at the Radisson Blu Hotel Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. The theme of the meeting is “Embracing the Diversity of Acupuncture: Connecting People and Paradigms.” The program will focus on a diverse array of topics that are of interest to health care professionals engaged in, or interested in, incorporating medical acupuncture in their practice. The program includes 2.5 days of morning plenary presentations, and the afternoons feature concurrent workshops on relevant topics. A number of popular annual events will return for the meeting. These include the Founders Lecture, Poster Presentation session and plenty of opportunities for networking with colleagues and exhibit companies. Register now!

2024 Annual Symposium: Hotel Deadline 3/13/24 – Book Now!

The Annual AAMA Symposium will be held April 11-14, 2024, at the Radisson Blu Hotel Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Book your room at our discounted rate before the hotel block sells out. Book now.

2024 Annual Symposium: Pre-Symposium Workshops Are Selling Out!

The Pre-Symposium Workshops are intended to provide a more concentrated learning experience during which the faculty can focus on a topic in greater depth and with more time for practical examples from clinical experiences. They are optional workshops that you may add on to your Annual Symposium Registration with separate fee(s). Learn more and register.

You may choose from the following workshops:

(1) An Introduction to Chinese Scalp Acupuncture
Presented by: Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA and Nick Kouchis, MD
Chinese scalp acupuncture (CSA) is a modern needling technique based on Western biomedical knowledge of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and pathology. It is used to treat central nervous system disorders as well as for pain management. It can be a stand-alone treatment or combined with auricular or body acupuncture. This 4-hour workshop will provide participants the basics of CSA through lectures and hands-on experience. Preceptors will demonstrate needling and common treatment patterns. Participants will then practice the techniques on other attendees under supervision of the preceptors. This workshop is designed for physicians who have an active medical license and have completed a 300-hour training program approved by the ABMA.
AM Workshop – SOLD OUT
PM Workshop – space still available

(2) Fascial Node Trigger Point Needling: An Acupuncture Tensegrity Needling© Approach
Presented by: Joseph Audette, MA, MD
Fascial membrane tension has been proposed to be important in regulating cell functions such as cell motility and communication. The dynamic forces seen in tensile membranes and tensegrity structures closely mimic the structural forces in the human body. Participants will learn to recognize common areas of fascial nodal stress that develop in pathological conditions and to use acupuncture needling techniques restore homeostasis. This 4-hour workshop will develop the theory and teach practical hands on fascial node needling skills utilizing an acupuncture tensegrity approach for the treatment of visceral and musculoskeletal conditions.

(3) Hands-on Cupping Therapy
Presented by: Young Ki Park, DO
This 4-hour workshop consists of detailed instructions on modern cupping techniques using plastic cups, Dongui fire cups, and modified fire glass cups to treat medical conditions of head and neck, torso, and upper and lower extremities.  Attendees of this workshop will participate and experience hands-on cupping therapy.  At the conclusion of this workshop, each participant should be able to implement these cupping techniques immediately to treat patients with different medical conditions.

Explore Minneapolis & St. Paul

Clear your calendar in April 2024 for the Annual Symposium! We’re heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where we’ll meet at the Radisson Blu hotel, which is connected by a skywalk to the world-famous Mall of America. Give yourself an extra day or two to enjoy the city — or just the mall! Want to plan your adventures around the Twin Cities? Here’s some info to get you started. 

AAMA’s One-day Core Refresher Course

The AAMA’s Core Refresher is a one-day summary of the fundamental principles with which a physician practicing medical acupuncture should be familiar. While the 8-week Medical Acupuncture Review Course takes a deep dive into each of the core areas, this one-day Core Refresher provides a hands-on, broad strokes update using clinical case presentations and point locations and their specific applications to illustrate core principles.

This course is ideal for all members who wants to brush up on core principles, review point locations and examine recent scientific data. Join your peers for this fast-paced, interactive day to hone your medical acupuncture skills! 

Register now.

REMINDER: Fellow Application Deadline is 3/15/24

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?

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors and/or Committees

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.

New Stroke Research Getting Lots of Media Coverage

From BMJ Open: Effect of acupuncture on ischaemic stroke in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a nationwide propensity score-matched study

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that the ischaemic stroke risk could be reduced by acupuncture treatment in patients with RA in Taiwan. The possible mechanism may involve reducing proinflammatory cytokines through acupuncture therapy, thereby attenuating cardiovascular disease, including ischaemic stroke. The study also offers important ideas for more comprehensive research in the future.

Read full article:

NCCIH: Use of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain by U.S. Adults Increased From 2002 to 2022

Over a 20-year period — from 2002 to 2022 — U.S. adults not only increased their overall use of complementary health approaches but were also more likely to use complementary health approaches specifically for managing pain. The findings come from a new analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The research was funded by NCCIH and recently published in JAMA.

NCCIH reporting

Acupuncture Today reporting

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

NPR- The Pulse: When Healing Happens but We Don’t Know Why

Listen to a discussion about the growing interest in complementary and alternative medicine. “Many researchers and supporters have been trying to gain a deeper understanding of medical practices from around the world, and to incorporate them into our health care system.” Listen now.

Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions. Is weight loss one?

A new USA Today article may catch the eye of patients and health care providers. Here’s an excerpt:

“Acupuncture won’t directly cause you to lose weight, according to Johnson. “In my experience and to my knowledge, acupuncture isn’t going to be the magic bullet for weight loss,” he says. However, Johnson explains it can play a very significant role in weight loss through an indirect approach. He says that this is because acupuncture can improve metabolism, reduce cravings and mitigate stressors on the body that affect one’s appetite. He adds that acupuncture can also improve gastrointestinal issues.”

Read the full article.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 


Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture on Patients With Poststroke Motor Aphasia: A Randomized Clinical Trial
[JAMA Network Open]
In this randomized clinical trial, patients with poststroke motor aphasia who received 6 weeks of MA compared with those who received SA demonstrated statistically significant improvements in language function, quality of life, and neurological impairment from week 6 of treatment to the end of follow-up at 6 months after onset.

Identifying potential scalp acupuncture targets for chronic pain and comorbid disorders using functional and anatomical connectivity of critical deep brain structures
[Brain Behavior and Immunity Integrative]
We found that the mPFC (located slightly inferior to the acupoint EX-HN3), precuneus (located in close proximity to acupoints GV19/20 and above the scalp acupuncture line MS12), and other surface brain regions may be used as potential scalp acupuncture locations for the treatment of chronic pain and its comorbidities. These identified locations may also be used for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cognitive decline, in which these regions play crucial roles.

Bilateral effect of acupuncture on cerebrum and cerebellum in ischaemic stroke patients with hemiparesis: a randomised clinical and neuroimaging trial
[BMJ: Stroke and Vascular Neurology]
The randomised clinical and neuroimaging trial demonstrated acupuncture could promote the motor recovery and modified cerebro-cerebellar VMHC via bilateral static and dynamic reorganisations for IS patients with hemiparesis.

Effectiveness and safety of auricular acupuncture on adjuvant analgesia in patients with total knee arthroplasty: a randomized sham-controlled trial
[Frontiers in Neurology]
In this study, AA was shown to be an effective and safe complementary and alternative therapy for pain relief after TKA, which was able to reduce the total postoperative dose of additional painkillers, decrease serum CRP 1 day after surgery, and improve the degree of postoperative nausea.

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