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March 2015 Newsletter

Table of Contents - March 2015

President’s Letter   

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
– African Proverb   

I was privileged to study acupuncture over 30 years ago in Osaka, Japan. My husband and I were travelling the world seeking out acupuncturists who were achieving superb clinical results. We searched Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Many “schools” simply wanted our money in exchange for a certificate. A veil of secrecy hung over the entire process. One acupuncture school would disparage another, making claims that only they knew how to practice the “correct way.” Something akin to what one might see in a martial arts movie. In Japan alone, there were more than 2,000 schools at that time.   

Times have changed. At this stage in my career, I can now much better evaluate clinical outcomes. As an AAMA member, I meet with physicians and acupuncturists who have studied with masters – or who are themselves the vanguard of acupuncture practice in the world.   

When I consider how the AAMA can be a more effective organization, this becomes extremely relevant. As scientific medical professionals using acupuncture, it is our duty to understand what works and to share what works. We should keep learning, do and support research, and teach the many different styles and techniques of this ancient technique and make it relevant in the medical and scientific culture of today. The founding members of the AAMA helped create an organization to accomplish this. How we fare is highly dependent on the active engagement of our membership.   

Ultimately I was honored to study with a Japanese acupuncture master, Shigeru Mii Sensei, whose family has practiced acupuncture for many generations. A poignant lesson from him was his emphasis of the many different styles and techniques used in the practice of acupuncture. His apt description was: “Acupuncture is like a building with a thousand floors and each floor has a thousand doors.”   

As I look forward, I am reminded each day of this saying. Medical Acupuncture of the future may not be the acupuncture of the past. As we discover what works – and as research unfolds and an evidence base grows – we are heralding a future where acupuncture is leading us into new understandings of physiological mechanisms, promotion of self-healing and expanding the different paradigms we hold.   

None of this will work without your participation. I urge you to make your voice relevant to what we do as the AAMA. There are many ways to participate: 

  • Join a local chapter
  • Come to our Annual Symposium in April in St Louis. 
  • Join a committee: Symposium, Education, Membership, CME, Legislation or Social Media. Choose the one that interests you, and contribute your talents to or organization. Contact us and let us know you'd like to volunteer. 
  • Join our online email forum and lets help teach one another pearls. 
  • Use our website
  • Submit an article to our Journal.   

I look forward to our continued journey. Together we will go far.   

Sandi Amoils, MD   

New Scientific Research   

Don't forget: The AAMA website has a section devoted to current scientific research that may be relevant to your medical acupuncture practice. Check back often to read about these and other industry developments, such as the following recently posted topics:    

The Benefit of Combined Acupuncture and Antidepressant Medication for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (Journal of Affective Disorders)
This systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that acupuncture combined with antidepressant medication is effective, has an early onset of action, safe and well-tolerated over the first 6-week treatment period. Moreover, this treatment combination appears to result in greater therapeutic efficacy than SSRI therapy alone.   

Acupuncture for sleep quality, BDNF levels and immunosenescence: A randomized controlled study. (Neuroscience Letters)
Acupuncture was highly effective for improving sleep quality (−53.23%; p < 0.01), depression (−48.41%; p < 0.01), and stress (−25.46%; p < 0.01). However, neither lymphocyte subpopulations nor BDNF levels changed following the intervention.   

Manual and Electrical Needle Stimulation in Acupuncture Research: Pitfalls and Challenges of Heterogeneity. (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)
In the field of acupuncture research there is an implicit yet unexplored assumption that the evidence on manual and electrical stimulation techniques, derived from basic science studies, clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, is generally interchangeable. Such interchangeability would justify a bidirectional approach to acupuncture research, where basic science studies and clinical trials each inform the other. This article examines the validity of this fundamental assumption by critically reviewing the literature and comparing manual to electrical acupuncture in basic science studies, clinical trials, and meta-analyses. The evidence from this study does not support the assumption that these techniques are interchangeable.   

Qi Gong Under the St. Louis Arch

Join Steven KH Aung, Rey Ximenes and your fellow conference-goers for early morning physical, mental and spiritual exercises during the upcoming Annual Symposium. From 6:30-7:30am on Saturday and Sunday morning while we’re in St. Louis, we’ll enjoy Qi Gong in the park beside the hotel under the famous Gateway to the West.    

Calligraphy: The Art of Healing

Back by popular demand, Steven KH Aung will offer calligraphy demonstrations as part of the AAMA fundraising event. His highly regarded "Calligraphy: The Art of Healing" presentation will be held during Poster Presentations at the Wine & Cheese Reception at 6:15pm on Saturday.   

AAMA Facebook Page Exceeds Goal!

Last month we urged AAMA members to “like” our organization’s Facebook page to boost us past the 300 followers mark. Now, we’re closing in on 400! As more and more members like the AAMA page, activity and interaction is increasing. Help us reach 500 and beyond. Share the page with your peers in acupuncture today. Join the conversation.

Scientific Research

Read more evidence-based research on acupuncture and its applications in medical practice.

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