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November 2018 Newsletter

Table of Contents - November 2018

My Journey into the Acupuncture World-Adversity and Triumph

It was a clear evening in September, and I was on a flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City. I had just finished a 300-hour course on acupuncture. I had been an internist for over 30 years and thrilled to be a part of the group of modern day physicians who are regularly benefiting from multiple advances in medicine. Yet, in practicality, I found that in many conditions, especially in chronic cases and particularly in pain syndrome, the treatment was inadequate or non-existent. Over time, I had become increasingly interested in alternative medicine; at the same time, I was painfully aware of illegitimate practitioners exploiting very vulnerable populations under the guise of alternative medicine. So I promised to be ever vigilant against quackery.

After I witnessed an incredible effect of a single acupuncture in my wife, who was mauled by a dog, I enrolled in the HMI Medical Acupuncture course. I thought that it was the best academic course I had ever attended. There was major discussion regarding the science behind acupuncture, which was reassuring. However, there were a lots of questions and doubts about the material presented — a lot of poetic philosophy and many statements totally not understandable to our western trained mind, i.e.,  Lung (metal) controlling the Liver (wood), releasing the dragons, dampness in the spleen, triangular equilibrium, etc. During the course, I witnessed some seemingly great response to this treatment, while some others were not so convincing. Still, amidst the enthusiastic crowd of newly converted physicians and acupuncture teachers, everything appeared real, and there was a feeling that nothing was impossible.

Now I was alone on the plane, with a couple of boxes of needles and an electrical stimulator. I suddenly had zero confidence that acupuncture would work. I envisioned that I had inserted the needles in a patient, who, after the treatment, would proclaim with a smirk that the acupuncture did not have any effect. I looked back: I spent much more than 300 hours; it was expensive; and I had spent a lot of valuable time away from my family. All with major resistance from my employer. In a short time, I was able to convince myself that I had wasted my time and money, and soon I would become the laughing stock of the patients and my colleagues.

On the first day back to the office, I encountered a known patient — 64 years old, hypertensive and diabetic — who had been having pain in the right leg for several months without any history of trauma. Her blood tests, X-rays, EMG and nerve conduction studies were all normal. She was referred to orthopedic physician, rheumatologist and neurologist, who were unable to solve the problem. I told her very hesitantly that I had just learned the technique of acupuncture. "May I try it on you?" I asked. To my surprise, she immediately agreed. I gave her a simple treatment with Tai Yen-Yang Ming (n, n+1). Following the treatment, she told me that her leg was feeling “lighter." She called me the next day to report that her pain was gone.

On the third day, a young woman came to my office. She was a PhD, doing advanced research on breast cancer. She had been suffering from lower abdominal pain for months when her gynecologist discovered that she had a huge fibroid. A myomectomy was performed, but the patient continued to have severe abdominal-pelvic pain and fatigue, despite full-fledged conventional treatment. When she walked in my office, she looked like an old lady, stooping forward and in obvious pain and profound weakness. She was actually referred by her physician brother, who was a friend of mine. I was sure that I would not be able to help her, but reluctantly agreed to give her acupuncture, under the circumstances. I decided to give her Tchong Mo and Yang ming. She was a knowledgeable scientist, who peppered me with legitimate questions, none of which I could answer confidently.  While inserting the needles, I prayed that I would not cause her any further harm. After 30 minutes, the needles were withdrawn. The patient sat straight up, got down from the table and started squatting vigorously. She looked at her husband and exclaimed, “Do you see what I am doing? I have not done this in over nine months! I have no pain, I am bubbling with energy.” The patient walked out of the office without pain, no longer stooping over. She flew back three more times from Atlanta for weekly therapy, following which all her presenting problems were resolved. Needless to say, that this outcome profoundly affected me and changed my life forever.

After returning to work, my employer, a large insurance establishment, threatened to fire me if I continued to do acupuncture. Despite showing them the excellent results and cost savings, they persisted with the threat. But, I had seen the truth and refused to comply, so they suspended me. In the end, I won.

I have been practicing acupuncture along with internal medicine for almost 24 years now, which can be done seamlessly. I've embraced the poetic philosophy regarding health and illness in the acupuncture paradigm. The patients easily understand how obstruction of the Qi can lead to pain and illness, and how putting some needles to re-establish the flow of Qi through the meridians can restore health. I have come to understand some of the things, but many things I still do not understand. I regularly witness patients with pain syndrome and complex problems — people who had not responded to prolonged conventional therapy — respond miraculously to this very simple treatment. There is a certain percentage of failure, but I do not leave the patient with financial and iatrogenic burden.

The patients who have come for acupuncture are usually very grateful and do not have a “sue you” attitude, even if the treatment does not work for them. Increased probability of a good outcome, even in very difficult cases, in a relatively low-stress situation, make acupuncture very rewarding and rejuvenating for the practitioner.

Rather than being designated as alternative medicine, acupuncture should be part of the curriculum in medical school. It should be an integral part of modern medical practice. The reimbursement for this modality needs to be adjusted upwards, because with the current state of poor payment, the younger generation will not be able to afford to continue to provide this extremely valuable treatment.

Tapan K. Chaudhuri, MD, FACP, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors

Welcome New AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new member who became part of the AAMA in October 2018:

  • Lynda K. Vu, MD, of Owings, MD 
  • Ki Suk Eum, DO, of Honolulu, HI 
  • Jeffrey Jake Behringer, MD, of Cheyenne, WY
  • Alice Lee Kuntz, MD, Lac, of Bellevue, WA  
  • Jose Luis Aviles, MD, of San Juan, PR 

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 Sue Sorensen, MD, FAAMA, the membership committee chair. 

Physicians Earn ABMA Certification

The following physicians recently met the stringent requirements of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) and have achieved Board Certification in medical acupuncture. These doctors have earned the designation DABMA (Diplomate, American Board of Medical Acupuncture):  

  • Mildred Wessigk, MD, DABMA
  • Tina P. Nowak, MD, DABMA

Physicians Complete 10-Year ABMA Recertification Process

Congratulations to the following physicians who have completed the process (http://www.dabma.org/recertification.asp) set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:  

  • Shiyi Abla-Yao, MD, DABMA
  • Luis E. Landestoy-Zapata, MD, FAAMA

New AAMA Webinar: Treatment of Migraine and Tension Headache with Neuroanatomic Osteopathic Acupuncture

Presented by Narda Robinson, DO, DVM, FAAMA, this live one-hour educational event will take place on Monday, December 10, 2018, at 8:00pm EDT.  The successful alleviation of two common headache types, i.e., tension headache and migraine, requires accurate identification of both neurologic and myofascial pain triggers. This webinar compares and contrasts the etiology of migraine and tension headache from a neuroanatomic and myofascial perspective along with ways to implement evidence-based treatment with medical acupuncture and its related techniques. Attendees will learn how to characterize tension headache and migraine from a scientific perspective. Doing so will allow them to improve clinical outcomes with medical acupuncture and related techniques that are based on rational mechanisms of action and evidential support. CME available. The fee to participate is $60/members. Register now! 

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors

The Academy is a member driven organization. Members of the Academy, serving on the Board of Directors or on Committees advising the Board, are making the decisions regarding programs and activities that set the future for the Academy. All members are invited to take part in this volunteer governance process. You can take on a small task that is important but where the time commitment is clearly defined, or you can take on a more significant role by becoming involved as a member of a standing committee or Board where your activities will be more varied and spread over multiple months. In the spring each year, the Academy has an election of Directors and Officers to guide the Academy for the following year. If you are interested in being considered for a seat on the Board of Directors or if you are interested in working on one of the Academy committees, send an email to Dr. Thomas Burgoon or Executive Administrator James Dowden.

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Medical Acupuncture — Acupuncture to Foster Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

The practice of acupuncture for health prevention and promotion is well-established in China. Recently, the National Institute of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health noted the advancement of their prevention research portfolio. Our journal Medical Acupuncture is publishing a special issue on this topic and our colleague, Richard Niemtzow, MD, the journal’s editor-in-chief, invites you to contribute your research on the use of acupuncture in preventing disease and fostering health promotion. If your paper is accepted for publication, it will be included in the special issue and promoted globally. The issue will provide a broad overview of the current state-of-the-art in the U.S. and abroad and will offer practical recommendations on how to administer acupuncture for health prevention in various age groups. All research papers on this topic are welcome. Planned topics will include, but will not be limited to:

  • Pediatric areas of prevention: in children, using acupuncture to improve outcomes for ADHD, poor appetite, asthma-cough and allergies. 
  • Prevention of Disease: the status of acupuncture in the prevention of disease and its evolution in adults: hypertension, coronary disease, GI, mental health, addiction, alcohol, fatigue, lassitude, nausea and vomiting in post-operative and chemotherapy patients, radiation-induced xerostomia, migraine prevention, urinary tract infection, respiratory disease, and stroke.
  • Adult Male and Female health challenges: the use of acupuncture in the integration of a health prevention plan to improve the quality of life.

 Visit the Medical Acupuncture website for manuscript submission guidelines

Call for Entries: Annual Symposium Poster Presentations & Free Paper (oral) Presentations

The deadline is January 26, 2019 to submit an abstract for the poster session on Saturday evening and/or paper (oral) presentation (cash awards for the winning papers) at the AAMA 2019 Symposium in Phoenix, AZ. The Free Paper session will take place Saturday, April 13, in the afternoon. Posters will be displayed during the Saturday, April 13, reception. All papers and posters must be submitted in English. Information-sharing between AAMA peers is critical to the life and growth of our industry. Make plans to submit your work!   

Call for Entries: Annual Research Paper Competition

The cut-off is February 15, 2019 to apply to present a Research Paper at the AAMA 2019 Symposium at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, in Phoenix, AZ, on April 12-14, 2019. While space and time are limited, we do expect a hearty number of great submissions from our international colleagues. Further, international submissions have won awards for our Poster Presentations and Research Papers at our Symposia for many years. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place awards will be presented at the AAMA Symposium. The deadline for submission of research papers for the competition is February 15, 2019. If your paper is selected as one of the winners, you will be notified by February 26, 2019. We are pleased to offer: 
  • First Place: $1,500 stipend, Symposium Registration, travel reimbursement up to $500, and three nights hotel lodging for the presenting author. Paper to be presented at the AAMA Symposium in Phoenix, April 2019.
  • Second Place: $750 stipend, Symposium Registration, travel reimbursement up to $500.
  • Third Place: $350 stipend and Symposium Registration.
The First Place winning paper is to be presented in a 30-minute Plenary Session at the Symposium. Papers for second and third place to be announced at the Symposium. Authors will be acknowledged there. Authors will be acknowledged there. Find more information on the AAMA website. 

Register Now: AAMA Winter Workshop in Florida

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is pleased to announce another exciting educational opportunity — a workshop focused on manual medicine treatments derived from osteopathic manipulative medicine. "Treating Acupuncture Points and Their Associated Channels with Manual Manipulation Techniques to Enhance Pre-and/or Post-Acupuncture Treatments" will be held at Tampa Marriott Westshore in Tampa, FL on January 26-27, 2019. Please register and join us! At the conclusion of this workshop participants will be able to:
  1. Appreciate the role of fascia and how it directly influences acupuncture Qi flow through the meridian channels and specific acupuncture points;
  2. Evaluate and treat myofascial restrictions that adversely affect meridian Qi flow;
  3. Appreciate how to manually muscle test numerous major muscles throughout the body that if inhibited are directly related to pain and dysfunction in multiple body regions (eg shoulder, knee, low back, etc.);
  4. Demonstrate at least one manipulation procedure for treating each of the 12 distinct meridians and additionally the Ren and Du channels.

    How Compassion Benefits the Healing Process

    The OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine Journal recently invited Steven K. H. Aung, CM, AOE, MD, PhD, FAAFP, to be guest editor for an upcoming special issue, “How Compassion Benefits the Healing Process.” Aung encourages fellow AAMA members to submit writings for consideration. Many forms of submissions are being accepted, such as: original research, review, communication, opinion, case report, study protocol, commentary, etc. The submission deadline is March 31, 2019. Learn more. 

    Tom Burgoon does work in Beijing 


    Burgoon, a member of the AAMA Board of Directors, recently returned from a trip to China, where he worked with the editorial staff of World Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion on a presentation to Clarivate Analytics, a well known international scientific indexing company. 

    Save the Date: AAMA Annual Symposium: April 11-14, 2019

    The Annual Symposium in Phoenix, AZ, offers professional inspiration and practical techniques that you can take back to your practice! The 2019 conference, Art of Healing: Acupuncture Pears in Clinical Practice, will include: myofascial pain, Traumatic Brain Injury, care for acute conditions, integrative support for oncology patients, qi gong and classical Chinese calligraphy. Attendees will delve into the Luo Vessels with internationally renowned teacher Yvonne Farrell, as well as to consider the San Jiao and in its role throughout the lifespan and autism with Dr. Stephen Cowan. A presentation on acupuncture in the U.S. Airforce will be highlighted in our Founder's Lecture with top military leadership, and we will also provide an opportunity to grow your business with a "to-the-point" practice management pre-symposium. Register for the conference and reserve your hotel room now!

    Review Course: Sign Up Now

    April 9-10, 2019
    Phoenix, Arizona

    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 Review Course are to: Review and solidify previously acquired knowledge and experience in medical acupuncture. Reinforce understanding of the basic material appropriate for a physician practicing acupuncture in North America. Refresh the participant’s exposure and awareness of certain specialized aspects of acupuncture not always utilized in traditional practice settings.

    Professional Development Opportunities 

    Live AAMA Webinar: Treatment of Migraine and Tension Headache with Neuroanatomic Osteopathic Acupuncture
    Presented by Narda Robinson, DO, DVM, FAAMA
    Monday, December 10, 2018, at 8:00pm EDT

    AAMA Winter Workshop: Treating Acupuncture Points and Their Associated Channels with Manual Manipulation Techniques to Enhance Pre-and/or Post-Acupuncture Treatments
    Presented by Jay Sandweiss, DO, FAAMA
    January 26-27, 2019
    Tampa Florida

    2019 Review Course
    April 9-10, 2019
    Phoenix, Arizona

    AAMA 31st Annual Symposium
    April 11-14, 2019
    Phoenix, AZ

    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. 

    New Scientific Research 

    Electroacupuncture ameliorates cognitive impairment through inhibition of Ca2+-mediated neurotoxicity in a rat model of cerebral ischaemia–reperfusion injury
    [Acupuncture in Medicine] 
    “Conclusions EA had a beneficial effect on cognitive repair after cerebral I/R, and its mechanism of action likely involves a reduction of Ca2+influx via inhibition of Glu neurotoxicity and downregulation of NMDAR2B expression."

    The Effect of T'ai Chi and Qigong Training on Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Randomized Controlled Study
    [Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ahead of print]
    “Conclusions: Our study results suggest that TCQ training may reduce AHI and daytime sleepiness, while improving subjective sleep quality, in patients with mild and moderate OSA.“

    The effect of complementary medicines and therapies on maternal anxiety and depression in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    [Journal of Affective Disorders]
    “ConclusionAcupuncture, bright light therapy, and massage may reduce antenatal depression. There is a need for high quality and larger studies that include postnatal follow up and maternal and neonatal outcomes.“

    Efficacy Comparison of Five Different Acupuncture Methods on Pain, Stiffness, and Function in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Network Meta-Analysis
    [Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine]
    "Our NMA demonstrated that acupuncture with heat pain or electrical stimulation might be suggested as the better choices in all acupuncture methods to osteoarthritis of the knee."

Earn $50 for New Member!

Know someone who could - and should - become an AAMA member? Earn $50 for yourself by getting them to join the Academy!

Send their contact info to the Academy - if they submit a membership application and are found to be eligible for Full membership, pay the application fee and one year's dues, the Academy will provide you a $50 credit to use on Academy items such as future Dues, Symposium or Workshop registration.

Find all the Details about this offer! (Member login required)

Membership Information

Journal CME

Medical Acupuncture, the Official Journal of the AAMA, now contains selected articles that are approved for 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™Mary Ann Liebert, Inc publishers anticipates that 6 articles per year will carry CME credit. 

CME credit is available for free to AAMA members and available to other subscribers and readers for a small fee. 

Click here to access current and past issues of Medical Acupuncture.

Scientific Research

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

Make Plans Now

2019 Annual Symposium
April 12-14, 2019
Phoenix, AZ

Mark Your Calendars Today!