Message from the AAMA Board

Qigong and Acupuncture
— Gavin Elliott, MD, FAAMA, AAMA Board of Directors, Legislative Committee Co-chair

Qigong has ancient roots in Chinese philosophical and spiritual traditions. Some of the earliest references to Qigong are found in the “I Ching,” which dates back over 2,500 years. Daoism has played a significant role in the development of Qigong. Daoist sages and monks sought to harmonize themselves with the Dao, the fundamental principle of existence.

Qigong practices are seen as a means to cultivate Qi (vital energy), and achieve internal harmony. Various schools and styles of Qigong have developed over the millennia, each with its unique methods and practices. Some schools have focused on the martial arts, some on healing and others on a spiritual focus, though all would likely contend that these are not entirely separate.

Qigong has been closely associated with Chinese martial arts. It is used to enhance physical and mental abilities, promoting balance, strength, and flexibility. Many traditional Chinese martial arts styles incorporate Qigong exercises as part of their training.

Within the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qigong has been employed for both preventative and therapeutic purposes. It is considered part of TCM’s holistic approach to health and healing. In TCM, Qigong and acupuncture are closely related practices, both rooted in the concept of Qi.

The essence of Qigong is the cultivation and balance of Qi within the body, which is believed to be essential for overall health and well-being. These practices can include gentle movements, meditation, breath control and visualization techniques.

How Qigong Supports the Medical Acupuncturist

In traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and qigong are closely related practices, both rooted in the concept of Qi and health. Qigong is useful for acupuncturists in the following seven ways.

  1. Understanding Qi flow: Qigong helps acupuncturists develop a deep understanding of the flow of Qi within the body. By practicing Qigong, they can sense the movement and balance of energy pathways (Meridians) more effectively. This knowledge is fundamental for accurate acupuncture point selection and location.
  2. Sensitivity and intuition: Qigong cultivates sensitivity to Qi. Acupuncturists who practice Qigong are more attuned to the subtle energy imbalances in their patients. This heightened sensitivity can aid in finding the most appropriate acupuncture points and applying the correct amount of stimulation.
  3. Enhanced energy: Regular Qigong practice can help acupuncturists maintain their own Qi balance and replenish their energy. This is essential because working with patients’ Qi can be physically and energetically demanding. Qigong can help prevent practitioner burnout and supports their overall health.
  4. Relaxation and focus: Qigong promotes relaxation and mental clarity. Acupuncturists need a calm and focused mind to make precise needle insertions. Qigong exercises can help reduce stress and distractions, allowing for better treatment outcomes.
  5. Self-care: Qigong is a form of self-care that acupuncturists can use to maintain their well-being. By practicing regularly, they can balance their own Qi, which is essential for providing effective care to their patients.
  6. Therapeutic techniques: Some Qigong exercises can be integrated into acupuncture treatments. For example, acupuncturists can teach patients simple Qigong exercises to enhance the effectiveness of their treatments and empower them to take an active role in their healing process.
  7. Holistic understanding: Qigong encourages a holistic view of health and well-being. Acupuncturists who practice Qigong are more likely to consider the patient’s overall health, including lifestyle and emotional factors, in their treatment plans.

In summary, Qigong is valuable for acupuncturists as it deepens their understanding of Qi, enhances their sensitivity and intuition, promotes self-care, and helps them maintain a clear and focused mind. Integrating these two ancient practices can lead to more effective and holistic healthcare.

Read the full article for additional details about:

  • How Qigong Supports the Medical Acupuncturist
  • How to Incorporate Qigong into Your Practice
  • Differences Between Qigong and Tai Chi

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

WEBINAR: Exploring Equitable, Scalable, Value-Based Pain Care Delivery
Free, Virtual
December 7, 2023

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

AAMA 2024 Review Course
Feb 16-March 14, 2024
Virtual lectures with weekly live sessions

AAMA Core Refresher
April 10, 2024
Minneapolis, MN

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 AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in October 2023.

  • Derric A. Whiteside, DO, of Las Vegas, NV
  • Jennifer M. Szatkowski, MD, of La Vista, NE
  • Hieu Viet Hoang, DO, MPH, of Los Angeles, CA
  • Sue Kim, MD, DABMA, of Palo Alto, CA
  • Francis X. Coughlin, MD, of East Chatham, NY

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.

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:

  • Gene George Hong, MD, DABMA, of Clackamas, OR

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

  1. PA HB1490: The bill would allow physicians to needle at CME conferences without requiring a PA license. It passed the House and now goes to the Senate’s Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. No date has been set for the committee session. The bill was amended to require “at least nine credit hours of mandatory continuing education each two-year license period” for licensed physician acupuncturists. The credit hours are in addition to that required for a medical license and must be on acupuncture-related topics. The bill does not distinguish between CMEs for physicians and CEUs for LAcs. A letter was sent to PA AAMA members about this bill. We will need to educate the committee on this facet of the bill and get the State Medical Board, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society involved.
  2. MA H1239 and S744: These companion bills would establish medical care for all MA residents and cover acupuncture services.
  3.  MA H1120 and S722: This bill would establish a commission to evaluate implementation of acupuncture services in health care delivery in MA. The commission would include a medical acupuncturist and a licensed physician.
  4. Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act – HR3133. No progress to report.

The Legislative Committee watches 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:

2024 Symposium: “Embracing the Diversity of Acupuncture”

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. Registration details coming soon.

2024 Symposium: Research Paper Competition, Deadline Jan. 5

Share your research with your peers. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place awards will be awarded at the AAMA 2024 Symposium. The deadline for submission of research papers for the competition is January 5, 2024. If your paper is selected as one of the winners, you will be notified by February 9, 2024.

The First Place winning paper will be presented in a 30-minute Plenary Session at the AAMA 2024 Symposium at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN, April 11-14, 2024. Papers for second and third place will be announced at the Symposium.

Review the full rules.

2024 Symposium: Let’s Meet in Minneapolis!

While you’re making plans to attend the 2024 AAMA Annual Symposium, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the famous “twin cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We’ll give you three good reasons to join us!

#1. AAMA members will be able to needle in workshops without getting a Minnesota medical license. There are a limited number of states which allow us to needle for continuing education conferences. That’s why the symposium was in Texas in 2023. We’re making a list of these permissive states so we can rotate the symposium location among them. Hands-on is the best way to learn!

#2. Springtime is gorgeous in Minnesota! With an average high in the upper 50s and lows in the mid-30s, springtime in Minnesota is actually quite pleasant. (It was in the mid-80s in April 2023. But we won’t count on that again!) A jacket should suffice if you go out on the town in the evenings.

#3. It’s the biggest underestimated place in the north. If you plan some sightseeing during your stay, you can enjoy a dramatic riverfront skyline, three professional sports stadiums, so much art you’re literally surrounded by it and a theater on almost every corner. Plus a culture committed to perfecting the craft of the brew, the best park system in the nation, and a foodie paradise. Need a recommendation? You’ll find plenty of friendly locals who can’t wait to show you why they love living here.

Learn more about the area.

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! 

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 Course: Integrative Manual Approach to Lower Back and Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction

Madison Heights, MI
January 27-28, 2024

In this weekend course, Dr. Sandweiss will present highly effective approaches using manual medicine to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal disorders related to lower back and pelvic pain. Participants will learn to utilize diagnosis and treatment techniques, including: manual muscle testing, tender point analysis, trigger point analysis, motion testing and anatomical positional analysis to treat these dysfunctions. Attendees will learn: Muscle Energy Technique, Myofascial Release, Strain/Counterstain and specific Applied Kinesiology treatment modalities. More.

WebMD: More Parents Turning to Acupuncture for Kids’ Pain, Anxiety

Excerpt: “David Miller, MD, is the founding chair and immediate past chair of the American Society of Acupuncturists. He is also the medical director for pediatric integrative medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. He agrees it can provide parents with a nice non-drug treatment option, but he said parents must make sure they pick someone who has the right training to lessen any risks. “You definitely need a trained provider who knows how to apply it appropriately to the age group,” he said. “Kids’ bodies are different than adult bodies, and so if you were to go too deep in the needling, you could puncture the lung, you could puncture an organ.” Read the full article.

FREE WEBINAR: Exploring Equitable, Scalable, Value-Based Pain Care Delivery (December 7)

The Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management and the US Pain Foundation invite you to join a lively and constructive discussion about the intersection of payer policies and value-based care delivery for high-impact pain. In light of CMS’ laudable goal for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to be in value-based care relationships by 2030, we will take a deeper dive to explore the real-world impact of this goal and the paths toward successful implementation. This program will look into the most recent pain management codes released by CMS in January 2023 and how these are playing out in various clinical settings. Further, our esteemed panelists each bring a unique perspective and practical expertise to the conversation with an understanding of the nuances of how payer policies impact clinical—and scalable—implementation of pain care policy. More.

NCCIH: “Know the Science” Initiative Informs Consumers

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH’s) “Know the Science” initiative is a resource to help consumers better understand complex scientific topics related to health research. It can help them be discerning about what they hear and read so they can make well-informed decisions, especially about complementary and integrative health, where many approaches are readily available in the marketplace and are often selected for self-care. The Know the Science initiative covers topics such as how to make sense of a scientific journal article, medication-supplement interactions, facts about health news stories, the placebo effect, health-related risks, and the myths about “natural” products. 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.

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

Acupuncture for the Adjunct Treatment of Long COVID

In a letter to the editor of American Family Physician, Eric S. Carter, MD, FAAFP, of Fort Polk South, Louisiana, shared a brief note of support for an article examining the use of medical acupuncture to treat long COVID. “Medical acupuncture is a holistic, minimally invasive treatment option that should be considered part of the multimodal treatment approach for patients with long COVID and other conditions. With appropriate training, medical acupuncture techniques can be easily implemented in primary care.” Read the full article.

NCCIH: Understanding Acupuncture Web Resource

This NCCIH resource explores the mechanisms of medical acupuncture and the evidence base for its use for various health conditions, including cancer, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, IBS and more. View resource.

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:

Reminder: Student Member Sponsorship Opportunity

Young physicians represent the future of medical acupuncture. To encourage their involvement in our organization, the AAMA recently launched an initiative to invite current members to sponsor a medical student member for $75/year. Would you like to sponsor a medical student member? Or would you like more information about the option? Please email AAMA today and let us know.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 


Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome: a case report
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
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.

Does Acupuncture Hurt? A Retrospective Study on Pain and Satisfaction during Pediatric Acupuncture
Patients experience minimal needling pain during acupuncture needling and are highly satisfied with acupuncture. Those with more treatment sessions report feeling increased satisfaction and relaxation.

Patient interest in acupuncture for smoking cessation: a survey
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
Conclusion: When comparing treatment options, patients reported more interest in acupuncture than other treatment options with a statistically significant difference in the level of interest between acupuncture and bupropion. All barriers (cost, time and effectiveness) were equally rated on a Likert-type scale with a median of 50 on a 101-point scale.

Caffeine impaired acupuncture analgesia in inflammatory pain by blocking adenosine A1 receptor
[The Journal of Pain]
Moderate-dose caffeine injection attenuated EA-induced antinociceptive effect in formalin- and CFA-induced inflammatory pain mice models by blocking A1R. This highlights the importance of monitoring caffeine intake during acupuncture treatment.

Efficacy of Acupuncture for Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria: A Randomized Controlled Trial
[Annals of Internal Medicine]
Compared with sham acupuncture and waitlist control, acupuncture produced a greater improvement in UAS7, although the difference from control was not clinically significant. Increased adverse events were mild or transient.

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