Table of Contents - September 2016
Setting Up an Acupuncture Practice
Have you been thinking about creating a new acupuncture practice or setting aside dedicated time to practice acupuncture? Is your mind spinning as you realize that what is most daunting is not even knowing how to begin this process? Today’s post is a broad-strokes outline on how to do that—and a teaser for a larger course that will be offered at the AAMA Symposium in April on how to set up an acupuncture practice.
There are several elements to consider. The first is how to fit this into your time. When you are considering taking on a task of this magnitude, realize that it will not be birthed overnight and that you will likely want to budget some time for one to three months before your expected opening date to work on various aspects of the project. Rather than depleting your Yang, figure out where this can fit into your lifestyle. Is there something that you can cut back on so that you have the time and energy to devote to this project? If you jump in without creating the time, you are likely to become overwhelmed and fatigued by the thought of it. Create the time and you will be able to maintain your energy for the duration.
The next consideration is to clearly define for yourself what kind of practice you desire. Out of this decision, a series of others will naturally follow. But if you don’t clearly define this from the beginning, you are guaranteed to be disappointed in the end. Do you want to carve a chuck of time from your current practice to dedicate exclusively to acupuncture? Will your current employer allow, or preferably encourage, this kind of set-up? Would you prefer to set up an independent clinic and sublet space to other practitioners when you are not there to help cover the rent? Would you like to sublet space first and then grow into a larger practice over time?
Do you see yourself with one individual patient at a time or in a larger room practicing in a community setting? What kinds of modalities will you use: needles, moxa, cupping, gua sha? Do you want to have space for group teaching, for example, of nutritional lessons, Qi Gong or Tai Chi? I’m sure that you can see how visualizing the kind of practice you desire will determine a myriad of other components.
Spend some time looking at other practices in your area. You might even walk in to some of the other acupuncture clinics or set up phone meetings to talk with other practitioners. If you search in larger cities, you will find a wider variety of practice types to compare and contrast. You may also wish to make a vision board around this to help you think about this and to store any images or pictures for later reference.
After you have created the ideal setting in your mind, begin looking at a budget and timeline. You have the clear mental image of what you would like your practice to look like eventually, but that does not mean that you have to start with your ideal setting from day one. For example, I knew that I wanted multiple treatment rooms in a space with other practitioners, but I didn’t have the finances to support that right off the bat. So I began by subletting a room a few half-days each week. That turned into one room with 24/7 access. That turned into two rooms and a back office with 24/7 access. And now I have my larger space with multiple other people subletting from me. It took me a few years, but it was worth the wait.
After you have set aside the time needed, clearly articulated for yourself the vision and evaluated your finances, it is relatively easy to do the logistics of setting up the actual business. We will go over the nuts and bolts of this at the 2017 Annual Symposium; in the meantime, you have some fun planning to do!
C. Leslie Smith, MD, DABMA
AAMA Board of Directors
Anna Kelly Accepts Appointment to Walter Reed
As an anesthesiologist in Atlanta, GA, Anna Kelly, MD, FAAMA, has worked to alleviate her patients’ pain for more than 25 years. During the past 18 of those years, she has also incorporated medical acupuncture into her practice, offering patients a complementary and sometimes alternative pain management technique.
We know this Anna Kelly. She is a knowledgeable physician and an active AAMA member. She is a member of the AAMA board of directors. She is an advocate of medical acupuncture and of our association. She is a peer and a friend.
Now, we can get to know Anna Kelly in a new way: As one of the physicians breaking new medical ground caring for members of America’s military. In June 2016 — at the urging of her husband and her loyal patients — Kelly accepted a 13-month appointment with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, “the nation’s flagship military hospital.”
The AAMA congratulates Kelly on this new position as Integrative Medicine Physician and Acupuncturist with the Warrior Clinic. The unique, specialized position seemed tailor-made for her professional skills and her personal passions. “It was meant to be,” says an enthusiastic Kelly.
After three months in the position, Kelly says she has no regrets. “This has been one of the most remarkable opportunities of my life.”
She was thrilled to find that the military is much farther ahead of the opioid crisis than other health care systems. They have actively incorporated acupuncture, cupping, yoga, meditation, group therapy and breathing techniques into their patient care portfolio. Even their EMR system has evolved to record notes that are reflective of the depth of care acupuncture provides.
Currently, there are three or four other acupuncturists on staff alongside Kelly. She finds the active information sharing between consulting physicians and her fellow practitioners to be energizing. Their patient-centered modalities, she says, include French Energetics, 5-element and TCM.
“They’ve given me extraordinary flexibility here,” says Kelly. “They haven’t restrained me as an artist.”
At the Warrior Clinic, the majority of Kelly’s patients are in their 20s and 30s, many suffering from chronic pain, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. She works with the outpatient clinic during the day, and has inpatient appointments three or four nights during the week.
“The wounds of war are often silent,” Kelly says. “These patients are trained not to talk about their pain. That’s what I love about acupuncture. Acupuncture meets people where they are. It can treat wounds, even when the patient isn’t ready to talk.”
Kelly shared that the nature of the work — providing therapy to patients with overwhelming physical and emotional wounds to American heroes — is profoundly gratifying. But it also requires a good deal of self-care on her part. Daily Kundalini yoga and meditation, as well as 12-step work, keep her centered and ready to give her best to all of her patients. Being away from her husband and her social support system, being away from her patients and her practice, being away from her car — it has all required a “deep letting go.” But with true Anna Kelly determination and enthusiasm, she likened the adventure to the beloved Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
We can’t wait to hear where the ride takes her.
New Indexing and Other News from the Medical Acupuncture Journal
In a release about new goings-on at Medical Acupuncture, current Editor-in-Chief of the journal and former AAMA Board President, Richard C. Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, shares details about the journal’s exciting progress: “I am pleased to report that the past year has been a productive and exciting one for Medical Acupuncture, with a 200% increase in downloads over last year. In addition, the journal has just been accepted by an important indexing service—the Emerging Sources Citation Index in Web of Science, which will further enhance the exposure of papers in the journal.”
FINAL REMINDER: Membership Renewal!
AAMA Membership Renewal season is here. Need a reminder about the many perks of being a member? Read through the list of membership benefits. Please take a moment to submit your renewal information and your annual dues.
To renew, log in to your member account on the website and either (1) visit the Store to find renewal products or (2) proceed directly to the membership renewal page.
AAMA Chapter News
OHIO Chapter AAMA Meeting
October 15-16, 2016
Venue: Alliance Integrative Medicine, Cincinnati, OH
Approved for 12 hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.
Registration details here: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/257827/b7c732feec/1322000169/ee1c7b97dc/
Physicians Earn DABMA 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): Frederick P. Scherr, MD, of Broomfield, CO; Tina Sindwani, MD, of San Francisco, CA; and Christopher M. Smith, MD, of Winter Park, FL.
Save the Date: 2017 Annual Symposium
Calendar reminder: The Symposium will be heading east to Pittsburgh next April. Put it on your calendars! Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, April 6-9, 2017.
CME Article from Medical Acupuncture Journal
Perceptions of Acupuncture and Acupressure by Anesthesia Providers: A Quantitative Descriptive Study
Conclusions: While most of the U.S. anesthesia providers in this survey have not used these modalities, they nevertheless report a favorable perception of acupuncture/acupressure's role as part of an anesthetic. This study adds to the body of acupuncture and acupressure research by providing insight into anesthesia providers' perceptions of these alternative medicine modalities.
New Acupuncture-related Research
Acupuncture for fibromyalgia in primary care: a randomised controlled trial (Acupuncture in Medicine)
Conclusions Individualised acupuncture treatment in primary care in patients with fibromyalgia proved efficacious in terms of pain relief, compared with placebo treatment. The effect persisted at 1 year, and its side effects were mild and infrequent. Therefore, the use of individualised acupuncture in patients with fibromyalgia is recommended.