Message from the AAMA Board

Needles, Relationships, and Healing
— Tate Kauffman, MD, DABMA, AAMA Board of Directors

 Absolutely everything about the manufacture of homemade black raspberry jelly is an ordeal.  Black raspberry canes object to tidy rows, preferring sunny embankments and the edges of brushy clearings where they cohabit with poison ivy, ticks, and chiggers, all of which are in their glory when the berries ripen in mid-summer.  Then there are the thorns, of course.  Once harvested, the fruit must be juiced to separate the goodness from the countless tiny seeds, leaving the kitchen, often as not, looking like the scene of a violent crime.  Assuming that this process goes well and the jelly sets properly, the result is a shockingly small yield from a mountain of hard-won berries.  Knowing all of this made my acupuncture patient’s gift of a gorgeous, paraffin-sealed quarter-pint of jelly all the more remarkable.

To be clear, I do not expect gifts from patients and the important thing is not the jelly, delicious as it was, but rather the type of relationship with patients that may occasionally be marked by such things as canned goods or some asparagus spears plucked fresh from the garden.  Like many of us, I trained and began to practice primary care in a time and place in which doctors knew their patients and patients knew their doctors.  We knew about their families, about what filled their days, about their joys and tribulations.  We discussed these things during office visits, and they were not trivial asides; I gleaned a great deal of medically-relevant information from inquiries into grandchildren, pets, or hobbies, information not obtainable from standardized risk assessments or online pre-visit questionnaires.  Our relationships with patients were not peripheral to the excellent care that we provided, but an integral part of that care and were not, at that time, considered “alternative” but simply “good” medicine.

We now live in a different time, of course.  It turns out that I don’t fit well in a world of EHR checkboxes and quick, corners-cut visits.  As I struggled to find my place in Western medicine, I saw the job for which I had worked hard and made many sacrifices slipping away.  What replaced it, while perhaps financially rewarding, left me feeling empty and ashamed.  I was not able to do the job that I loved in the way that I had been taught that it should be done.  I suspect that many, probably most, of you have similar stories.  The fact that you are reading this newsletter suggests that you may have found similar solutions as well.

Medicine is in a strange and unfortunate place, but in this chaos are opportunities.  Doctors and patients are desperate for something different, and some will find that in medical acupuncture, including some who have yet to consider needling or being needled.  We, the AAMA, are uniquely positioned to educate our colleagues and the general public.  We need to educate them about the science of course, because that is real and important, but also about the space that can and has been created to reclaim some other important things in medicine, like talking, and listening, and real treatment relationships, things that our Western system seems to have forgotten.  We haven’t forgotten, nor have our patients, and Eastern medicine has always remembered.

Medical acupuncture can be so much more than an additional tool in the toolbox.  For good and dedicated but frustrated physicians it can be a way out of the dysfunction and a path back to what works, a reminder of why they chose this career.  We can help them find this path and keep them in clinical medicine, where they are sorely needed, and in so doing can make our organization stronger.  We can help patients find the care that they aren’t finding elsewhere and the relationships that they miss.  We can do this through outreach and education, both formal and informal, as an organization but also as individual physician acupuncturists.  We need to talk (and think) about more than just the needles, because when we do our jobs correctly, there is so much more than just the needles.

These strange times can be our moment.  2024 can be a year of growth for medical acupuncture and for the AAMA.  I hope that the year brings more doctors to our field and satisfaction back to their professional lives.  I hope that it brings more patients to the care that they need.  In each of your practices, I hope that it brings peace, healing, and possibly a jar of jelly.  Thank you all for helping to make this community what it is.

Member Spotlight:
Alan Remde, MD

Dr. Alan Remde  serves as one of the core faculty, as well as director of the curriculum and research, for the Warren Family Medicine residency at St. Luke’s University Health Network in New Jersey. His research interests focus on integrative approaches to chronic pain, nutrition and musculoskeletal medicine, with a special focus on integrative family and sports medicine.

We asked Dr. Remde seven questions about his practice of medical acupuncture. Read more to learn about his work!

*We’d love to feature you and your practice, too. Please send us an email if you’d like to share feedback for a future Member Spotlight feature. 

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

Integrative Manual Approach to Lower Back and Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction
January 27 & 28
Madison Heights/Troy, MI

Magnets and Electro Acupuncture in the Treatment of Anosmia and Ageusia from Long COVID
Presenter: Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
8pm ET, 7pm CT, 5pm PT

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.

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 member who became part of the Academy in December 2023.

  • Carina Cezar Hopen, MD, of Oak Harbor, WA

And a warm welcome back to our returning member:

  • Anas Hana, MD, DABMA, of Berkeley, CA

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

Legislators are filing bills for the new sessions. The Legislative Committee tracks this information daily and monitors bills related to acupuncture, dry needling, integrative medicine, chronic pain, and substance use disorder.

The committee is currently tracking bills in Congress and the following states: CA, FL, HI, IA, IL, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OK, PA, and WA

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:

NEW AAMA WEBINAR: Magnets and Electroacupuncture in the Treatment of Anosmia and Ageusia from Long COVID

Presenter: Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
8pm ET, 7pm CT, 5pm PT

Rapid Electroacupuncture (EA) to Treat Long Haul COVID-19 Ansomia and Ageusia by stimulating ST-43 bilaterally. The EA presentation will occur first. At the conclusion of the EA technique explanation, there will be a round table discussion based on the published article, “Acupuncture and Static Multipolar Magnets: An Emerging Attraction?” with Arnyce R. Pock, Richard C. Niemtzow, Songxuan Zhou Niemtzow, and Erik Koda. REGISTER NOW.

2024 Annual Symposium: Register Early and Save $$

Early-bird Registration Deadline — February 1st (Save up to $100!) 

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: Pre-Symposium Workshops

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.

This year, you may choose from the following workshops:

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.

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.

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.

2024 Annual Symposium: Hotel Deadline 3/13/24

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.

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. 

2024 Medical Acupuncture Review Course – Register Now

The Medical Acupuncture Review Course provides a broad-based refresher course on the major subject matter areas with which a well-trained physician should be familiar. The review course is especially useful as a refresher for those who obtained their acupuncture training some time ago and for those who are seeking an organized review prior to taking the ABMA Board Certification Examination.

The overall objectives of the Medical Acupuncture Review Course are for a participant to be able to:

  • Analyze and solidify previously acquired knowledge and experience in medical acupuncture
  • Organize and reinforce understanding of the basic material appropriate for a physician practicing acupuncture in North America
  • Differentiate and examine participant’s previous studies of certain specialized aspects of acupuncture not always utilized in traditional practice

Course series starts on Friday, February 16, and ends Thursday, March 14. Save the dates and register now! 

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?

SPECIAL ISSUE: Electroacupuncture—Basic Science and Clinical Applications

In the holiday rush, you may have missed the latest issue of Medical Acupuncture, which focuses on electroacupuncture. Log in to access the journal now.

How to Optimize In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Insurance

In an article for Acupuncture Today, Tina Hsiao, MBA, BA, outlines key considerations.

“As an acupuncturist, you might not be billing insurance, but even for those who primarily operate on a cash basis, it is important to have a foundational knowledge of insurance because it can broaden the scope of accessibility to your services. While the essence of acupuncture lies in holistic healing and individual well-being, understanding the nuances of insurance billing also becomes a practical necessity for sustaining a thriving practice.

Let’s examine the different ways that an acupuncture practice might access insurance payments – especially the differences between and how to optimize in-network and out-of-network insurance.”

Read the full article. 

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.

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.

NCCIH Clinical Digest: Mind and Body Approaches for Stress and Anxiety

Several mind and body approaches, including relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, hypnotherapy, and meditation may be useful for managing symptoms of stress in your patients. For some stress-related conditions, mind and body approaches are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. This issue of the digest provides a summary of current research on some of these approaches for stress, anxiety, and stress-related conditions. 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

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 Medscape Resource

Medscape has started a new service called Read by QxMD, which grants 0.5 hr AMA approved CME for reading articles, up to 20 hrs per year.  A quick search for “acupuncture” yielded 20 articles in the first response page and apparently more articles in reserve upon request. AAMA members may find these articles interesting and useful.  View on Medscape.

Apply for Board Certification in Medical Acupuncture

If you’re interested in becoming DABMA certified, fall is the perfect time to learn more about the application process. Candidates for certification in medical acupuncture must meet minimum general requirements, education and training requirements, experience requirements and must successfully pass the Board examination in order to achieve certification. Learn more:

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 Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

Therapeutic effects of acupuncture therapy for kidney function and common symptoms in patients with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis
[Renal Failure]
Conclusions: Acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for improving kidney function and relieving pruritic symptoms in patients with CKD, but the very low evidence may limit this conclusion. The TSA suggests that high-quality trials are needed to validate the efficacy of acupuncture therapy.

Trends in Acupuncture Therapy for Microcirculation and Hemorheology from 1998 to 2023: A Bibliometric and Visualized Study
[Journal of Pain Research]
Conclusions: Women’s infertility, ischemic stroke, and pain syndromes have emerged as hotspots in research. Future directions may include comparative studies of traditional and modern acupuncture techniques to evaluate their respective therapeutic effects. There is potential for in-depth research in these areas and the discovery of new intervention strategies as well as mechanisms.

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
[Complementary Therapies in Medicine]
Acupuncture treatment can improve sleep quality, psychological and behavioral alterations, and the overall condition of PD patients. However, the study revealed no significant positive intervention effects on anxiety, depression, and quality of life, underscoring the necessity for continued research to elucidate these domains’ intricacies and develop productive therapeutic approaches.

Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome: a case report
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
Summary: This case suggests that acupuncture may have a potential role in the treatment of the discomfort caused by RLS. The major limitation of this report is that it represents only a single case, and further validation of the findings will require prospective controlled studies with an adequate sample size.

Effects of Acupuncture on Fatigue, Disability, Psychological Problems, and Sleep Quality in People with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
[Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders]
Conclusion: Present clinical data demonstrated that 12 weeks of acupuncture treatment was effective in reducing fatigue, sleep latency, use of sleeping medication, somatization, obsessive-compulsive, depression, and paranoid disorders in people with RRMS.

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