Message from the AAMA Board

Is COVID Causing Shen and Heart Disturbances?

As described in a recent article published in JAMA, of nearly 27,000 adults with reported long-haul COVID symptoms due to self-reported SARS-CoV-2 infection, approximately half the subjects who said they had had COVID-19 had had a negative SARS-CoV-2 serology test. In fact, a positive belief that they had had COVID-19 was significantly associated with having long-haul symptoms. In contrast, the only lasting symptom positively correlated with a positive serology test was anosmia.[1]

This study, in my mind, is not to say that long-haul symptoms do not occur in patients who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, as I have seen these patients in my practice. But it does speak to the traumatic effects that this pandemic has had on our psyche. The wonderful thing about being a physician acupuncturist is that we don’t fall prey to the Cartesian dualism that plagues the medical practices of most of our colleagues. Rather than referring these patients all to behavioral health, we are equipped to provide continued care as we sort in our evaluations whether the Shen or the Heart is disturbed.

How can we not all be traumatized by this last year and a half and given that the microcosm will reflected the macrocosm of the world we live in? Inevitably there is going to be an effect on the balance of our organ function, even without our suffering a SARS-CoV-2 infection. A human being results from the Qi of Heaven and Earth. The union of the Qi of Heaven and Earth is called human being (ch. 25 Huang Di nei jing su wen – Basic Questions). The chaos that we have been exposed to in the Universe is going to stir the pot and if we are not careful, will cause concrete adverse effects on our health.

So what can we do? First and foremost, continue care of our patients. But don’t forget to care for yourself. In assessing our patients, there are some key regions of the body that will reflect a Shen disturbance, and learning to recognize these signs can help to focus your acupuncture treatment. The pericardium (heart protector) mu point CV17 (Ren17) is an extremely reliable and important region to palpate. If this is tender, the Shen is absolutely disturbed. Another key area is the little appreciated point, SP20, on the left side or heart side of the body. Treatment and release of the tenderness on these points should both calm and balance the Shen and also relieve the oppression that so many feel now associated with shortness of breath. Rather than treat these points directly, a reliably effective approach is to treat bilateral SP6 with PC6 (an alternative is the Extraordinary Vessel combination of SP4 with PC6). Other points to calm the spirit can be added including auricular points like Shenmen, yin tang and others.

Back points to reinforce this treatment would be Mingmen and the shu points at T7 (Diaphragm Shu) and T5 (Heart Shu).

How to take care of yourself? Turn off the TV, be with your family and friends, and get outside — and try to enjoy those things in life that are precious to you. A little acupuncture from your friends wouldn’t hurt either.

Joseph Audette, MA, MD
AAMA Treasurer


[1] Matta J et al.  Association of Self-reported COVID-19 Infection and SARS-CoV-2 Serology Test Results With Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Nov 8.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

New AAMA Webinar
The Cord that Binds: Segmental Acupuncture – A Multilayer Approach
Presenter: Joshua Margolis, LAc
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
8pm EST, 7pm CST, 5pm PST

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 October 2021.

  • Kirksak Jay Poonkasem, MD, of Safety Harbor, FL
  • Luke T. Surry, MD, of San Antonio, TX

And welcome back a returning member!

  • Dinora Ingberman, MD, DABMA, of Skokie, IL

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.

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:

  • Pakhi Chaudhuri, MD, DABMA, of Kansas City, MO
  • Michelle Loy, MD, DABMA, of Great Neck, NY

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

The Legislative Committee continues its work monitoring and responding to legislation relevant to our members and their practice of medical acupuncture. Currently, the committee is monitoring 36 bills regarding acupuncture and dry needling.

On a related note, a new version of the AAMA position paper is under review and will be shared with membes when finalized.

The Legislative Committee will continue to watch for bills that affect AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. We will also contact YOU when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. In that event, we ask that you 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:

AAMA Webinar — The Cord that Binds: Segmental Acupuncture a Multilayer Approach

Register Now 
Presenter: Joshua Margolis, LAc
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
8pm EST, 7pm CST, 5pm PST

A practical overview of several commonly applied segmental acupuncture methodologies and the segmental anatomy that unifies them. This course will deepen your understanding of how acupuncture works, regardless of preferred acupuncture style.

This hour-long webinar will review the anatomy and embryological development of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. Therapeutic applications for both internal medicine and pain management will be discussed. Segmental acupuncture approaches for mesodermal derivatives – dermatomal, myotomal and sclerotomal and autonomic regulation for chronic pain conditions and internal medicine conditions will be covered.

Order “What’s This Acupuncture About?” Patient Education Brochures

Physicians who offer medical acupuncture treatments as part of their practice may have patients who want to learn more about how medical acupuncture works. This helpful resource is designed for use in medical offices and is perfect for waiting room literature displays.

The AAMA has published the content of this brochure as part of the patient-facing educational resources section of this website.

The brochures are available in English and Spanish. They are sold in bundles of 100; the minimum order is 100 brochures.

Download the brochure order form to view pricing information.

Acupuncture Today: ICD-10 Coding Changes – What Acupuncturists Need to Know

“As occurs every Oct. 1, there are updates to the ICD 10 coding system. Some years, this update makes no difference to the common codes billed by acupuncture providers, but most years there are at least a few changes that do – and this year, like last year, does so, particularly the code for which most insurances, including Medicare, will reimburse acupuncture services.” Read more.

Harvard: Exploring the Science of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique that has been used for millennia to treat chronic pain and other health problems associated with inflammation, yet the scientific basis of the technique remains poorly understood.

Now, a team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School has elucidated the underlying neuroanatomy of acupuncture that activates a specific signaling pathway. Read more.

NCCIH: Vaccines and Complementary Health – It’s “And” Not “Or”

From Helene Langevin, MD  — Misinformation and disinformation, especially about COVID-19 vaccines, have flourished during the pandemic, leading to an “infodemic” that has exacerbated the harms caused by the virus itself. In many cases, mis/disinformation related to COVID-19 pits “natural” health against the clear and proven benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.

The challenge of accessing high-quality health information isn’t new to those who have worked in the field of complementary and integrative health research. Whether for clout, clicks, or sales, questionable online sources often promise quick fixes, make unsubstantiated health claims, or obscure safety concerns. This mis/disinformation can rob people of their ability to make sound decisions about their health. Read more.

Get Social with AAMA!

We’ve added Instagram to the ways you can follow the AAMA and share your own work and feedback. Look us up and tag us! @aamacupuncture

Don’t forget AAMA is also on:

There’s even a closed group on Facebook for discussion between members:

Join the conversations online with fellow physician acupuncturists from around the country!

In Case You Missed It Last Month

Cleveland Clinic: Can Acupuncture Help with Recovery?

Addiction and trauma are two very heavy and complex things to grapple with. Fortunately, no one has to battle either — or both — alone. Along with treatment solutions that take a person’s individual needs into account, there are supplemental therapies that can help promote healing and recovery. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) acupuncture protocol is one of those therapies. Read the full article.

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 


Acupuncture Shows Early Efficacy for Pain Reduction in Stable Angina
A standardized acupuncture protocol shows promise as a complementary therapy for symptom control for individuals with stable angina who are receiving care in a cardiology clinic which serves urban minorities.”


Duke University – Emergency Department Acupuncture for Acute Musculoskeletal Pain Management
[Annals of Emergency Medicine]
“Our two acupuncture approaches when added to usual care were feasible for the fast-paced ED setting, produced significantly greater pain reductions compared to usual care alone, and were acceptable to ED patients with acute musculoskeletal pain.”


The Therapeutic Effects of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture on Cancer-related Symptoms and Side-Effects
[Journal of Cancer]
“The symptoms and side-effects discussed in this review include fatigue, insomnia, chemotherapy-associated dyspepsia syndrome (CADS), pain, xerostomia, and anxiety and depression. The underlying mechanisms of the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and EA might be related to the regulation of the mitochondrial function, coordination of the activity of the nervous system, adjustment of the production of neurotransmitters, and alleviation of the immune responses. In conclusion, acupuncture and EA have been proved to be beneficial for cancer patients.”


Randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for anxiety and depression in patients with chronic insomnia
[Annals of Translational Medicine]
“After treatment, the decrease in serum CORT and the increase in serum 5-HT were significantly greater in the acupuncture group than in the sham acupuncture group. At follow-up, the PSQI, HAMA, and HAMD scores in the acupuncture group were significantly lower than those in the sham acupuncture group.”


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