Message from the AAMA Board

An Argument for Acupuncture Training for ALL Physicians

All physicians regardless of specialty or level of income or fullness of day should be trained to use and regularly employ simple acupuncture techniques. When there is a reasonable likelihood that a patient’s pain might be reduced — or even relieved altogether — in an ideal setting, treatment options should be offered immediately.

One voiced criticism is that paying the salary of a physician, much less a subspecialist, to perform acupuncture treatments is a misuse of funds and inappropriate use of time when a licensed acupuncturist could perform the same treatment at a lower cost. However, it is unlikely that a LAc is going to be in the exam room with a physician at the exact moment a distraught patient in pain is seeing that physician. Even when arranging ongoing care there is no justification to make a patient wait perhaps a few more weeks to be established with another clinic and another provider in order to have some relief.

Basic acupuncture is easily and quickly learned and delivered. When pain is a complaint, these simple, safe, inexpensive, and effective acupuncture techniques, which take only a few minutes to perform, should be offered and provided at the time a patient presents to a physician, be it to an overworked primary care provider or a highly skilled specialist at a tertiary care center.

The success that the Battle Field Acupuncture (BFA) protocol has had in the Department of Defense and VA is a template for how to achieve success in spreading the use of simple acupuncture techniques. As a group, medical acupuncturists should be sharing skills with other physicians. BFA is taught to Navy Corpsmen and Army and Airforce Medics who may have no more than a high school education. In a several hours long course, individuals of this same group are often taught and master more invasive skills, such as establishing IV access and placing advanced airways including by tracheostomy or inserting chest tubes, to be performed under fire in arduous environments. Certainly, any person with an MD/DO following their name should be able to master the safe needling of a few Master Acupuncture points in no more time than it takes to become BFA certified (four-hour course).

We should not delay in developing modular teaching programs directed at sharing with all physicians a few key treatments for some common problems. For example, during a six- to eight-hour course an educated audience of physicians could easily learn to safely  needle and appropriately use:

  • Shen Men for anxiety
  • GB-21 for neck pain and headaches
  • LI-14 and SI-11 for shoulder pain
  • LI-10 and LI-4 for elbow and wrist pain
  • ST-36 ,-34, SP-9 for knee pain

If the goal of practicing medicine is promotion of health, and health is not achievable while suffering, we should all be focused on relieving suffering as quickly as possible. The pure thrill of having a patient tearfully offer thanks for pain relief will stimulate the thirst for more knowledge and acquisition of the skills to become a boarded medical acupuncturist. To paraphrase the teachings of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, ‘‘Anything worth doing is worth doing now.’’

Michael Freedman, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities


AAMA Webinar Replay: COVID-19 Rapid De-Stress Protocol
Presented by Mitch Elkiss, DO, FAAMA; David Groopman, MD, FAAMA;
Nick Kouchis, MD, DABMA; and Ali Safayan, MD
Monday, March 29, 2021
8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT

AAMA 2021 Annual Symposium – VIRTUAL
April 30-May 2, 2021
Register early!

Medical Acupuncture Review Course – VIRTUAL
April-June 2021

SAR International Research Conference
June 14-16, 2021
Virtual event

ABMA Examination Session
June 27, 2021
Sheraton Suites, 6501 Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL (near Chicago O’Hare Airport)
Board Certification Process and Application

ICMART World Medical Acupuncture Congress
July 2-4, 2021
Athens, Greece

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 February 2021.

  • Jeanne MacDonald, MD, of Melrose, MA
  • Yanan Shang, MD, of Battle Ground, WA
  • Erica L. Masi, PA-C, of Honolulu, HI
  • Stacey Rifkin-Zenenberg, DO, of Hackensack, NJ
  • Geoffrey D. Fisher, MD, of Powhatan, VA
  • Jatupol Kositsawat, MD, of Hartford, CT
  • Shana Miles, MD, PhD, of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Supakunya K Edmonson, DO, of Henrico, 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.

Physician Completes 10-Year ABMA Recertification Process

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

  • Daniel Brudnak, MD, DABMA of Gorman, TX

Legislative Advocacy – Committee Update

During the past month the AAMA Legislative Committee made progress on a number of important fronts:

  • The committee is currently monitoring 32 bills that address acupuncture, chronic pain, opioids, and dry needling.
  • The committee notified AAMA members in KY and NY about bills that promoted acupuncture and other modalities before prescribing opioids.
  • The committee sent letters to legislators in KY supporting the promotion of acupuncture.
  • The committee sent letters to legislators in MN asking for an amendment to bills to ensure that MDs and DOs are paid for acupuncture treatments. The House bill was amended. Emails were sent to AAMA members in MN urging them to contact their representatives and the bills’ sponsors to support the AAMA’s position on these bills.
  • The committee is working with the LAc group in OH after legislation was passed limiting the practices of DOMs.
  • Legislative tracking and advocacy are ongoing priorities of the AAMA Board of Directors. If you become aware of legislative issues/bills being proposed in your state that would affect medical acupuncturists, we encourage you to let us know. Contact the AAMA by email ( or phone (310-379-8261).

AAMA Members Published

Please note: Articles may require a subscription or fee to view the full text. If you have published works to share with your AAMA colleagues, please send a link by email to AAMA staff for inclusion in a future newsletter.

Program Details for the AAMA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Symposium

Make plans now to participate in the AAMA 2021 Virtual Symposium, April 30-May 2 — from the comfort of your office or home. The sessions will maximize interaction between participants, faculty and industry specialists. On-Demand recordings of each session will be available to attendees on the AAMA site until August 1, 2021.

Featured Speaker: Helene Langevin, MD, Director, NCCIH
Dr. Langevin will discuss the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s new Strategic Plan is focused on Whole Person Health, or helping individuals improve their health in multiple interconnected biopsychosocial domains. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that incorporates many of the principles of Whole Person Health. This talk with outline NCCIH’s strategic priorities on whole person health and explain who acupuncture fits into this framework.

Other Presentations Will Include: 

  • Basic Acupuncture Curriculum and Implementation At a Pediatric Academic Medical Center
  • New Science at the Tip of the Needle: How the Acus Foundation’s “Think Acupuncture First” Program at Nellis Air Force Base is Improving Care for Military Members Around the World
  • Aspects of Classical Herbalism and its Integration with Acupuncture
  • Using Food as Medicine: 5 Phase Dietetics in the Kitchen
  • A Day in the Life of the Family Medicine Acupuncturist
  • Tackling Maternal Obesity with Electroacupuncture
  • Predicting Clinical Response to Acupuncture in Treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Multi-dimensional Phenotyping and Machine-learning: Results from Two Clinical Trials
  • Qigong Exercise for Individuals with Chronic Pain and Parkinson’s Disease – Clinical Outcomes and Biomarker Findings
  • Advanced Acupuncture for Menopause
  • Using Electroacupuncture in Treating Several Chronic Pain Conditions and Practical Tools for Clinical Research on Acupuncture and Chronic Pain
  • One Needle and More: A Multidimensional Approach to Acupuncture and Pain
  • Somatotopic Mapping and Its Relevance to Chinese Medicine
  • Physical Examination Evidence of Six Stages Primary Channel Coupling: Pilot Study & Implication
  • Modern Science: Demonstrating Fundamental Principles of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
  • Men’s Health: Chronic Prostatitis
  • An Evolutionary Biology Understanding of the Organ Systems and Channels
  • Integrating 6 Stages Principles with Biomechanics and Neuroanatomic Acupuncture for Treating Joint and Spine Pain
  • Pulse Diagnosis

Check out the AAMA website for additional Symposium details including registration.

Register Now for AAMA Pre-Symposium Workshops

Four optional, add-on workshops are available to learners who are seeking enhanced educational opportunities in addition to the Annual Symposium. Separate fees apply. Discounts available for learners who register for more than one workshop.

“Extraordinary Vessels: A Structural Approach – Integrating clinical and psychological presentations with structural examination findings to determine optimal EOV combinations” Presented by Joseph F Audette, MA, MD

The workshop will present the theory of Extraordinary Vessels (EOVs) with a focus on the practical application in order to determine the optimal EOV combination to treat a variety of chronic musculoskeletal pain and other clinical conditions. These methods will be developed as they relate to a Structural Acupuncture approach, integrating clinical and psychological information about the patient with physical exam findings to determine the best treatment approach. Based on this approach, careful palpation will uncover painful reflexes that direct us to specific EOV treatments. Participants will be encouraged to practice these techniques on themselves during the webinar, to enhance their ability to apply the techniques upon return to their own clinic. Case presentations, as well as practical demonstrations, will also be used.

“History, Clinical Applications, and Practice of Eight Treasures Qigong-Infusing Modern Medicine with Ancient Wisdom” Presented by Barbara de la Torre, MD, FAAMA

Qigong is the oldest branch in Chinese medicine, predating acupuncture. Medical qigong has tremendous applications to improve modern medicine for the health of both practitioners and patients. This workshop provides an in-depth introduction to one of the oldest qigong forms known as Ba Duan Jin, or Eight Treasures. This form is challenging enough to promote health without exhausting the practitioner. Participants will be able to review general principles and historical roots of qigong before diving into the practice of this form. Participants will leave with the ability to practice the form for self-cultivation of their own health while learning functions and clinical applications for their patients.

“Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Therapy in Post-Concussion Syndrome” Presented by Ayla Wolf, DAOM, LAc

Patients suffering from on-going post-concussion syndrome can have widely different clinical presentations. Research suggests a multi-disciplinary approach addressing the individual patient’s unique presentation is the key to success. This lecture explores the areas in which acupuncture can be used as an adjunctive therapy. We will cover acupuncture treatment strategies that address mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, sleep disorders, chronic pain, post-traumatic headaches, oculomotor dysfunction, dizziness, and vertigo.

“Introduction to Balance System Acupuncture” Presented by Sonia Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP
This workshop will be LIVE only on April 29th at 8am PT and again at 3pm PT

This course is a modified condensed glance at the basic foundations of the main systems of Balance System Acupuncture, an evolution of the Balance Method. The systems are rooted in the concept of healing the body by balancing channels. Students will learn the history of the Balance Method/System, the basis of the systems, and the logical processes for determining the meridians to acupuncture, including an easy-to-use format to outline the treatment plan. A detailed explanation of the Mirroring and Imaging Formats will also be explained to assist participants in effective point selection. Dr. Tan will show how to use distal points in order to avoid aggravating the area of discomfort and will include demonstrations. Particular attention will be paid to musculo-skeletal conditions in this introductory level.

Learn more and register.

2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course

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 (1) those who obtained their acupuncture training some time ago and for (2) 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

Learn more about the 2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course now.

AAMA Webinar Replay – Rapid COVID-19 De-Stress Protocol

Presented by Mitch Elkiss, DO, FAAMA; David Groopman, MD, FAAMA;
Nick Kouchis, MD, DABMA; and Ali Safayan, MD
New 1-Hour Live Webcast
8pm ET, 7pm CT, 5pm PT
Wednesday, March 29, 2021
Details and registration.

Review the neurophysiology of extraordinary stress and the unique features of “Frontline Pandemic Stress” in Healthcare Workers. We will outline a specific medical acupuncture therapy for stress mitigation which combines “calming and  centering” (Koffman Cocktail) with the Auricular Trauma Protocol (ATP). We will discuss the specific points used and the possible application of this therapy in the current mental health crisis which confronts us. We have combined these two therapies to create the COVID-19 Rapid Destress Protocol (CRDP).

Two Kinds of Acupuncture Can Relieve Pain in Cancer Survivors

After a three-year clinical trial that included 360 cancer survivors — the largest of its kind to date — Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers found that two types of acupuncture significantly reduced survivors’ chronic pain. In an interview, Jun Mao, Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering, explains how the results published in JAMA Oncology on March, 18, 2021, could improve cancer care and hopefully lead to more insurance coverage for this therapy. Read the full interview.

In Case You Missed It Last Month

Accessibility Standards for Websites

The Americans with Disabilities Act sets standards relating to communications, which require businesses to take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. These communication standards are commonly discussed in reference to website design; specific accommodations include closed captioning for videos, Alt text for photos (descriptions that are read aloud to individuals with vision impairment) and color contrast levels that prioritize readability, among others. For those practitioners working within a health care system or large practice, these digital accessibility standards are likely monitored and addressed by IT and content development departments (although it wouldn’t hurt to confirm that assumption). Sole practitioners and providers who work in small practices, on the other hand, may need to learn more and take steps to enhance the accessibility of their websites.

Full accessibility recommendations and standards are spelled out by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business

Practice Acupuncture for Veterans

Working directly with Optum on behalf of AAMA members, the AAMA Legislative Committee recently assisted three members in successfully getting contracts to provide acupuncture services to veterans through the Community Care Network. Are you interested in additional information about how to practice acupuncture for veterans? Learn more.

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.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

The effect of two types of minimal acupuncture on stooling, sleeping and feeding in infants with colic: secondary analysis of a multicentre RCT in Sweden (ACU-COL) 
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
The study found no differences between the acupuncture groups and the control group in frequency of stooling, feeding and sleep and no difference between the two types of minimal acupuncture. We do not know whether acupuncture at other sites (e.g. different traditional acupuncture points), delivered with stronger stimulation and/or more frequently, would have an effect. However, the qualitative data showed that parents of infants who received minimal acupuncture more often subjectively reported that the colic had improved and described positive changes in symptoms other than frequency.

Effect of Remote and Local Acupuncture Points on Periarthritis of Shoulder: A Comparative Study
[Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies]
Periarthritis of shoulder is a painful condition of the shoulder, affecting 2-3% of the general population and 20% of diabetic patients. Acupuncture is a widely practiced traditional Chinese medicine. Recent evidence shows that it alleviates shoulder pain with different needling techniques.

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain-Related Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
[Journal of Pain Research and Management]
The results of our current systematic review and meta-analysis show that compared with drug treatment, single acupuncture treatment has the same effect in reducing pain and relieving symptoms of depression in patients with CPRD, but the incidence of adverse reactions of acupuncture treatment is smaller. In addition, acupuncture combined with drug therapy has a better effect than a single drug. However, due to the insufficient number of included studies, low methodological quality, and heterogeneity of results, further studies using large- and high-quality samples are needed to confirm the role of acupuncture for CPRD.