Message from the AAMA Board

The Ear: “A Portal for Peace”
— Mitchell Elkiss, DO, AAMA Board of Directors

September 8-10, 2023, I attended the 11th International Symposium on Auriculotherapy in beautiful Copenhagen. The subject was “Auriculotherapy Meets the Field of Psychology.” The symposium also addressed functional disorders, like irritable bowel disease (IBD) and Long-COVID.

Congress president, Stephen Porges, PhD, spoke on the polyvagal theory, ventral vagal association with functions of sucking, swallowing, breathing, and vocalizing enabling development of a social engagement network.

Sue Carter, PhD, spoke on the role of Oxytocin as critical mediator of vagal influences on social engagement. Oxytocin and Vasopressin represent another stress mediating axis.

When safe and trusting sociality occurs, Oxytocin is represented. When stress and uncertainty, Vasopressin predominates. In PTSD patients, she found elevated Vasopressin and depleted Oxytocin.

The other pre-Symposium workshop was live with Daniel Asis, MD, who used yellow light (chromotherapy) on the Amygdala and Hippocampus points for dealing with psychologic trauma, phobias, and panic disorder in his patients.

Other highlights included:

  • Raphael Nogier, MD, did a workshop on using the réflexe auriculo cardiaque (RAC) in the treatment of depression.
  • I gave a workshop on advanced Auricular Trauma Protocol (ATP) for stress, insomnia, pain, and dependency.
  • Yori Gidron, MD, showed value in vagal HRV biofeedback in Ukrainian forced migrants.
  • Kajsa Landgren, RN, showed evidence for using NADA in addiction, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems within a psychiatric setting.
  • Our own, Gary Stanton, MD, closed the show with an erudite discussion of Shen Men and the Cosmonaut point.

Ears were treated with magnets, seeds, beads, straight needles, semi-permanent indwelling needles, intradermal, subdermal, and permanent indwelling needles that dissolve over time. They used LASER light and colored light, and stimulation frequency modulation.

I left feeling that trauma is ubiquitous, and the polyvagal theory helps explain the essential autonomic imbalance associated with psychologic disturbances, such as anxiety, depression, and disturbed sleep. Trauma-informed care is rational.

Across the world, we are suffering the same. The primary treatments consisted of various ways of boosting vagal tone, reducing sympathetic tone, and dealing with limbic level disturbances directly. The ear can be a powerful portal to peace.

AAMA invites leadership volunteers

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.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities

Applied Kinesiology: Manual Muscle Testing Comes Alive!
October 28-29, 2023
Ann Arbor, MI

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

AAMA Core Refresher
April 10, 2024
Minneapolis, MN

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

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.

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 September 2023.

  • Megha Mohey, MD, of Southgate, MI
  • James C. Rapley, MD, of Norfolk, VA
  • Ilya Dubovoy, MD, of Henrico, VA
  • Mark Weller, MD, of Scarsboro, NY
  • Riddhi S. Shah, MD, of Monroe Township, PA
  • Rose A. Wenrich, MD, of Wabash, IN
  • Monica Meyer, MD of Newtown, PA
  • Roseann K. Day, MD, of Philadelphia, PA
  • Ursula L. Sullivan, PA-C, of Chocowinity, NC
  • David Mar, MD, of Seattle, WA

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.

Physicians Complete 10-Year ABMA Recertification Process

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

  • Yoon-Hang Kim, MD, MPH, FAAMA, of San Antonio, TX
  • Catherine Kurosu, MD, DABMA, of Kailua, HI

AAMA Legislative Committee Report

  1. The committee is working to ensure that a dry needling bill in Massachusetts will exempt physicians from the additional training required for PTs.
  2. The committee and Pennsylvania AAMA members have contacted PA HB1490’s sponsor and the chair of the Professional Licensure Committee in support of the legislation, which would allow physicians to needle at CME conferences without requiring a PA license.
  3. On the national level, there is no progress to report on Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act – HR3133.

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 Medical Acupuncture Review Course – Starts Feb. 16

The Medical Acupuncture Review Course has been developed to provide 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

Week 1 – Friday, February 16
Lectures 1 & 2 launch for on-demand viewing
Thursday, February 22 Discussion Session for Lectures 1 & 2

Week 2 – Friday, February 23
Lectures 3 & 4 launch for on-demand viewing
Thursday, February 29 Discussion Session for Lectures 3 & 4

Week 3 – Friday, March 1
Lectures 5 & 6 launch for on-demand viewing
Thursday, March 7 Discussion Session for Lectures 5 & 6

Week 4 – Friday, March 8
Lectures 7 & 8 launch for on-demand viewing
Thursday, March 14 Discussion Session for Lectures 7 & 8

2024 Research Paper Competition – Call for Entries

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.

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.

New E-Book from NCCIH — Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches

Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care. It is also a common reason why people turn to complementary health approaches. This 50-page eBook from the NCCIH provides an overview of complementary health approaches for pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, spinal manipulation, yoga, and more. You’ll find summaries of what the science says about whether these approaches are useful and safe, as well as tips to help you be an informed consumer. More.

Member News: NATO Acupuncture Training

AAMA member Dr. Richard C. Niemtzow will lead a team of US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force instructors to teach Battlefield Acupuncture to NATO health care providers as a proof of concept in Amsterdam in December 2023.

Member News: Virtual Acupuncture Training in Hawaii

AAMA member Elizabeth C. Christenson, MD, LAc, presented two educational webinars in October in conjunction with the University of Hawaii Pacific Cancer Programs. The virtual program, Complementary and Integrative Medicine, (1) defined complementary and integrative medicine and how it differs from mainstream medicine and (2) identified practices, philosophies and cultures that differ from conventional medicine.

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

2024 Annual Symposium Theme Announced

The AAMA Symposium Committee has announced next year’s symposium theme: Embracing the Diversity of Acupuncture: Connecting people and paradigms. Make plans now to attend the event, April 11-14, 2024, at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Learn more.

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 

A network meta-analysis of different acupuncture modalities in the treatment of bronchial asthma
[BMC Pulmonary Medicine]
Acupoint application has evident merits in improving the clinical response rate and pulmonary function, while acupoint catgut embedding can improve other secondary indicators. For the clinical treatment of asthma, acupoint application can be selected as a complementary and alternative therapy, while the other acupuncture therapies can also be considered according to the examination results of the patients.

Novel insights into weight loss: acupuncture combined with a very low-carbohydrate diet—a Swiss experience
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
Although this study lacked a control group and was retrospective and observational in nature, a program of acupuncture combined with a very low-carbohydrate diet appeared to be effective at inducing weight loss among obese patients. The observed weight reduction in this retrospective chart review represents a good starting point for further investigation of this approach via a comparative evaluation.

Acupuncture is a feasible alternative to procedural sedation for shoulder reduction in the emergency department
[The American Journal of Emergency Medicine
Instead of using conventional pharmacologic sedation and analgesia during shoulder reduction, both were treated with acupuncture in the ED. Reduction in both cases was rapid, safe, and avoided use of any parenteral medications, procedural sedation monitoring, or prolonged nurse observation. Using acupuncture as alternative to opioids for ED procedures deserves future study for orthopedic and other common ED procedures.

Effectiveness of acupuncture for postoperative gastrointestinal recovery in patients undergoing thoracoscopic surgery: a prospective randomized controlled study
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
Addition of acupuncture appeared to improve recovery of postoperative gastrointestinal function and alleviate post-operative pain in patients undergoing thoracoscopic surgery. Acupuncture may represent a feasible strategy for the prevention of PGD occurrence.

Acupuncture has potential in managing axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses: a blinded prospective randomized preliminary study
[Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association]
Significantly more horses were improved on D7 and D14 in the acupuncture group (6/6) compared with the control group (1/5; P =.01) according to the scores set by the trainer and riders. Subjective evaluation of the dorsal flexibility also revealed a significant improvement (P = .04) for horses receiving the acupuncture treatment (median improvement score, 0.50 [reference range, 0.5 to 0.9]) compared with control horses (–0.25 [reference range, –0.5 to 0]). Acupuncture may be an interesting nondoping strategy to improve clinical signs of axial stiffness and performance on steeplechase racehorses.

Graded brain fMRI response to somatic and visual acupuncture stimulation
[Cerebral Cortex
Our findings suggest that acupuncture response may be enhanced by the dosage of needling-specific and nonspecific components, represented by different neural mechanisms.

Conditioned pain modulation and analgesia of local acupuncture for chronic musculoskeletal pain: An exploratory study
[Brain Behavior and Immunity Integrative]
Individuals have varied acupuncture analgesia. People with less efficient baseline CPM would likely benefit from local acupuncture with greater pain relief and improved potency of CPM. Larger studies with a control arm are needed to confirm these results.

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