American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

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  • 20 Oct 2018 1:51 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    The AAAOM attended AOMA's annual Symposium in Austin, TX.

    A special thanks to the president of AOMA and to the teachers, faculty and students who spoke with us and expressed their concerns and ideas about the profession.

  • 14 Aug 2018 2:39 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    The AAAOM will be at the 2018 AOMA Southwest Symposium.  The event will take place September 21-23, 2018.

    Southwest Symposium is an annual event held in Austin, TX, which provides informative and educational seminars for people in the health care profession. This conference brings together the diverse community of health care providers from fields across the spectrum. We are proud to provide acupuncturists, Asian bodywork therapists, naturopaths, herbalists, and nurses with educational seminars from qualified and fascinating educators. Our presenters provide a truly engaging experience, which help our attendees deepen their knowledge of health and patient care, taking their practice to an even higher level of excellence. The presentations we offer for Southwest Symposium are always accredited through NCCAOM for continuing education credits.

    Come talk to the acupunturists of the AAAOM who represent the profession.  Learn firsthand about our upcoming events and legislative activity.

    For more information:


  • 15 May 2018 4:51 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    2017 Acupuncturist Profession Landmarks in Focus

    American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Public Policy Committee

    ·         The Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act is signed into law by Governor Matthew Mead in March.[1]

    ·         The profession is regulated in forty-seven states, with clearly defined educational, credentialing, and practice standards.[2]  Acupuncturists prepare for introduction of legislation in the three states without practice acts:  Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

    ·         Clean Needle Technique Manual 7th Edition 2017 Revision is released by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  The manual defines “safety standards and best practices applicable to any healthcare practitioner who uses a filiform needle or related techniques.” [3]

    ·         The Kansas Acupuncture Practice Act of 2016, effective July 1, 2017, statutorily defines acupuncture as “needle insertion…for the…correction of any abnormal physiology” and the “practice of acupuncture” to be inclusive of techniques called “dry needling…and similar terms,”[4] in alignment with national association dry needling position statements.[5,6,7,8,9,10,11]

    ·         Medicaid beneficiaries have access to acupuncture care in nine[12] states:  California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.  Medicaid pilot programs are implemented in other states[12] and Medicaid directors urge use of non-pharmacological methods, such as acupuncture, to “bring about a reduction in prescription drug abuse and overdose, resulting in an overall reduction in healthcare expenses and an improvement in health outcomes of Medicaid beneficiaries.”[13]

    ·         Acupuncture is designated as an Essential Health Benefit (EHB) in six states (California, Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Washington) and four territories (American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Island, Virgin Islands) since 2014.  Acupuncture meets, at minimum, five of the EHB criteria and service categories of care:  ambulatory patient services, maternity/infertility, mental health and substance use disorders services, rehabilitative services, preventative wellness, and chronic disease management.[12]

    ·         Veteran access to temporary acupuncture care increases[14,15] as President Donald Trump, Congress, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs take action to replenish VA Choice Program funds.[16,17,18]

    ·         Congresswoman Judy Chu re-introduces the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) historic federal bills to the United States Congress in June as the “Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017-2018” and the “Acupuncture for our Heroes Act of 2017-2018” with aim to permanently open access to qualified acupuncturists to veterans, military, seniors, disabled, and more (beneficiaries of VHA, TriCare, Medicare),[19] in alignment with the profession’s consensus conference of 2009.

    ·         The Joint Commission releases the R3 Report detailing new and revised pain assessment and management standards applicable to Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, effective 1/1/18.  Standards include the provision of non-pharmacologic pain treatment by Licensed Independent Practitioners, such as Licensed Acupuncturists.[20,2]

    ·         The National Association of Attorneys General request in September that the American Health Insurance Plans prioritize member incentives for non-pharmacological pain management options, such as acupuncture,21 in response to President Donald Trump’s opioid emergency declaration[22] in August.

    ·         Clinically relevant real-world acupuncture efficacy studies increase.[23]

    ·         The IRS provides detailed instructions to self-payers in December for deducting acupuncture as a medical expense on 2017 income tax forms.[24]


    1 Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act 2017

    2 Gale M, Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP). Meridians.  2016; 3(4): 11-16.

    3 CCAOM.  Clean Needle Technique Manual 7th Edition.

    4 Kansas Statutes Annotated and Administrative Regulations Pertaining to those Professions Licensed and Regulated by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.  January 2017: 282.

    5 AAAOM Position Statement on Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Manual Therapy. 2013.

    6 American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.® AAMA Policy on Dry-Needling. 2017.

    7 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. AAPM&R Position on Dry Needling. 2012.

    8 American Medical Association.  Dry Needling is an Invasive Procedure.  2016.

    9 National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  NCCAOM® and the NCCAOM® Academy of Diplomates Dry Needling Position. 2017.

    10 Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  Position Paper on Dry Needling. 2011.

    11 Fan AY, Xu J. Li YM. Evidence and expert opinions:  Dry needling versus acupuncture (III) – The American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety (AAPAS) White Paper 2016. Chin J Integr Med. 2017 Mar 23(e):163-165.

    12Bathurst R, Valentine-Davis B, Williamson T. Acupuncture and the Oklahoma Budget Crisis:  Self Regulation and Workplace Inclusivity of Acupuncturists Relieves Healthcare Costs, Provides Recurrent Revenue, and Protects the Public. OKAA.  August 9, 2017.

    13Marsh & McLennan Companies. State Medicaid Interventions for Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse Overdose: A Report for the National Association of Medicaid Directors.  National Association of Medicaid Directors. 2014.






    19 H.R.2839:  Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2017.

    20 The Joint Commission. R3 Report.


    22 Oliphant J. Trump Declares National Emergency on Opioid Abuse.  Reuters. Accessed August 10, 2017.

    23 Carter K, Olshan-Perlmutter M, Martini J, Cairns S. NADA Ear Acupuncture:  An Adjunctive Therapy to Improve and Maintain Positive Outcomes in Substance Abuse Treatment.  Behavioral Sciences. 2017. 7(2); 37.

    24 Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service.  Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. December 01, 2017: 5.

  • 17 Oct 2017 11:04 AM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Deke Kendall. While most of our generation of practitioners were not aware of his contributions to the field, we would do well to be informed and grateful for the work of Dr. Kendall. He was primarily a leader in the modernization of how Chinese Medicine was viewed through a biomedical lens. He was controversial to most, but introduced important ways of thinking and seeing that didn't exist in literature in any substantive way before. Rest in peace Dr. Kendall. You will be remembered and honored.

    Donald "Deke" Kendall 1930-2017.

  • 16 Oct 2017 10:43 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    A legend in the field of Chinese Medicine passed away on September 22, 2017, after a lifetime of contributing to the field. Donald "Deke" Kendall lived a full life and was loved and admired by many. Below is the eulogy of his friend and colleague, Steven Stumpf, honoring the legacy Deke left behind. For more information about Deke, his life, and/or to leave a message to the family, a memorial will be held on October 21, 2017; follow this link for more details:

    Honoring Deke Kendall, by Steven Stumpf:

    "Donald “Deke” Kendall was an aerospace engineer. When I suggested he was a rocket scientist he laughed. Like so many healthcare providers he entered the world of medicine looking for a solution to his own health concerns. This is a common phenomenon. We are often inspired by events – frequently unexpected – that change our lives. Deke found health in Chinese medicine. He decided to look further. He learned to speak and read Chinese so he would be able to read the "classics." He looked at TCM from the perspective of a scientist. He assumed nothing. He vetted everything. He concluded that this ancient approach to diagnosis, treatment and mechanism of action was profoundly misrepresented in the popular TCM literature. He wrote a book - The Dao of Chinese Medicine - that to this day is one of a kind; a treatise on Chinese medicine and especially acupuncture that places the practice squarely in the medical mainstream. He accomplished two of his principal goals: (1) establishing that acupuncture efficacy was the result of an interaction between the cardiovascular and neurological systems, and (2) that the ancient Chinese physicians discovered this principle along with the longitudinal organization of the body, the function of blood flow, and much more.


    Deke was a fighter. His theories and his book were considered heretical. As a scientist, Deke chose to fight for his views on the basis of observable anatomy and theory driven medical mechanisms. His book was roundly ignored. However, Deke could not be ignored. He found an excited group of acupuncture providers who understood he had provided evidence and practical theory to understanding what these practitioners practiced. For this group of students and licensed practitioners Deke provided answers to their questions and a path towards intelligent practice.


    More than ten years ago I hired Deke to lecture to a group of doctorate students at Emperors College. I did not know him; I only knew of him. My doctorate students told me his book was banned and his theories were blasphemous. I suggested these notions were hardly in tradition of educational inquiry. Deke agreed to lecture under the condition that I understand the risk I was taking. Huh? “Steve – you know you will be fired for this.” I laughed. He was right. We continued our relationship which became a friendship. We published two academic papers together; both about topics that ran against the grain for the acustablishment. On this point we absolutely stood together: acupuncture belongs in the medical mainstream. It is a modality that needs to be recognized. It fits with modern medical theory and should be utilized as the first – not the last - option in numerous illnesses and injuries. In recent years Deke finally grew weary of fighting for this cause. Fortunately, he inspired too many students and associates who continue to follow his lead."

    Steven H. Stumpf, Ed.D. 818-571-3930

    Deke Kendall, you will be missed!! With love, AAAOM

  • 04 Oct 2017 12:47 AM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    This October, AAAOM has the pleasure of hosting a CEU event of the Xing Nao Kai Qiao (Waking the brain and opening the orifices) stroke treatment. There are some exciting youtube videos of his work we thought we should share:

    We hope our members get a chance to experience this event in person. If you are interested in working with stroke patients, this is the event for you! Purchase tickets through our events page.  October 28-29, 2017, Dallas Texas, 16 CEU's. LOTS of hands-on work. 

  • 14 Sep 2017 1:57 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    Dr. Carlos Chapa is the founder and medical director of the Acupuncture and Integrative Medical Center for Holistic Healing (AIMC), with locations in the Dallas metroplex. People with conditions ranging from insomnia to glaucoma are increasingly turning to alternative and integrative medicine for pain, stress and weight loss and focusing on wellness instead of illness.

    Chapa is a double board certified naturopathic doctor and Eastern medical doctor who has trained in China, Korea and Japan, with comprehensive experience in holistic healing. He states, “Our goal is the total removal of disease symptoms and the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health. For the most part, people can use the alternative medical system for almost all their healthcare needs.”

    Eastern medicine traditionally looks at the root causes and underlying issues of an illness, AIMC treats myriad of conditions including chronic pain, degenerative eye conditions, stress and anxiety, digestive disorders, allergies, and infertility. Eastern medicine, including acupuncture, is especially effective for helping neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Bell’s Palsy, and the clinic specializes in helping people regain overall wellness and balance....


  • 16 Mar 2017 2:12 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    2016 Acupuncturist Landmarks in Focus  


    Public Policy Committee

    • The CDC recommends nonpharmacologic therapy as frontline treatment for chronic pain.1

    • Acupuncture is more effective than intravenous morphine in the Emergency Department, 2 according to a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.  

    • A recommendation to establish a new code for this distinct occupation, “29- 1291 Acupuncturists,” is made by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC). 3  

    • When providing services in health system and hospital facilities within 43 states, licensed acupuncturists are credentialed as Licensed Independent Practitioners to be in compliance with The Joint Commission quality assurance standard for healthcare system accreditation. 4  

    • 46 states regulate the profession [47 as of 3/6/2017], clearly defining educational, credentialing, and practice standards.5  

    • The Kansas Acupuncture Practice Act is signed into law by Governor Brownback in May 2016. 6 [Governor Matt Mead signs the Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act into law on 3/6/2017].7 Proposed acupuncturist licensing laws are considered in the three remaining unregulated states.

    • The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) historic federal bills debut in the U.S. Congress as the “Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2015.” Sponsor Congresswoman Judy Chu champions the proposed law which permanently opens access to qualified licensed acupuncturists by veterans, military, seniors, disabled, and more.8  

    • Congress and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs modify the operating parameters of the temporary VA Choice Program, and TriWest receives approval in January 2016 to extend clinically authorized episodes of care as appropriate for certain conditions, from the previous 60 days, up to one year. 9 [Claim payments are brought current in January 2017.] 9  


    1. Center for Disease Control. 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. [Online]. [Cited: January 9, 2017.]

    2. Grissa, Baccouche, et al. Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2016;34(11):2112-2116.

    3. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee Standard Occupation Code Docket 2018 Response. [Online] [Cited: January 9, 2017.]

    4. Gale, M. Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP) Meridians. 2016; 3(4): 11-16. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017]

    5. Gale, M. Ho Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP) Meridians. 2016; 3(4): 11-16. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017]

    6. Kansas Acupuncture Practice Act 2016. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017]

    7. Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act 2017 [Online][Cited March 7, 2017]

    8. H.R.3849 (114th): Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2015. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017.]

    9. TriWest [Online] [Cited March 7, 2017] 10

  • 14 Mar 2017 1:21 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Steven H. Stumpf, EdD


    The 2015 OA and the 2013 NCCAOM Job Task Analysis are state of the art when it comes to describing how acupuncturists go about earning a living. Knowledge of acupuncturist work habits has been slightly better than hearsay. My co-authors and I prepared a manuscript that compares the findings from the two surveys. Findings were not too unlike what myself and co-authors found in our 2010 publication on the same topic.

    Before we get to the findings I would like to discuss why these are so important now. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) recently announced that acupuncture would receive its own SOC – Standard Occupation Classification. There has never been a singular SOC for acupuncture before, the reasons for which are not relevant now. The “award” of our own SOC is important because (i) acupuncturists are now recognized as a distinct medical/health profession, and (ii) the profession must collect its own workforce survey data.

    If acupuncturists had jobs along the lines of nursing, physical therapy or imaging technology then the federal government would collect the data. However, because three quarter of all acupuncturists work in a private practice of some kind we must collect our own data; at least if we do not want to wait until five or six years when the IRS will collect our data from individual tax returns. I suppose we have waited more than thirty years we can wait another half dozen. However, waiting that long would delay benefits available to health professions that can help and improve work prospects for the profession. An example would be eligibility for training funds to support expansion, especially into the mainstream.

    Our paper Comparing Workforce Outcomes for the Two Most Recognized Acupuncturist Workforce Surveys has been accepted for publication in an integrative medicine journal. We spent almost two years pulling together the original data from the two surveys: NCCAOM and the California Occupational Professional Exam Services. There are drawbacks with both surveys which I will not discuss here. I am waiting for a timeline to publication.

    Both surveys are primarily focused on something other than collecting workforce information. Both surveys use different scales for key items such as income ranges and part time versus full time work. We need a standard survey focused on acupuncture practice. Fortunately, there are standard models for such a survey favored by the BLS. We could easily adapt these to create a standard acupuncturist workforce survey. Such as survey would have to demonstrate endorsement of the profession. Anyone who has worked with our collection of professional groups that claim to represent acupuncturists will understand how challenging it can be to forge consensus.

    The findings are not encouraging, especially when compared to other health professions. I also believe they will not be unfamiliar to working acupuncturists.

    • 70% to 80% of acupuncturists work fewer than 40 hours weekly
    • approximately 76% work in solo practice or in shared space with other acupuncturists
    • 5% to 6% work in a “mainstream” setting
    • more than 70% of the national sample have been in practice fifteen years or less
    • median income is between $40,000 and $50,000.
    • a preponderance of acupuncturists is less than fifty years of age, and fewer than 15% of all respondents have been in practice more than 20 years.

    There are more findings and much more useful discussion in the paper which I hope everyone will read. These findings are very similar to those described in our 2010 publication which compared survey reports – not actual data - from the same sources. It is puzzling to me that there seems to be only minor interest in this information. I wonder if this has something to do with the view many acupuncturists have that acupuncture is an alternative medicine and not part of the mainstream. I am fairly certain income and practice time is driven down because so few acupuncturists seem to participate in the medical mainstream. It would appear a substantial number of acupuncturists leave the profession altogether within ten years. Is this because they just give up on earning a living?

    What does the future hold for the acupuncture profession? We are in a seminal moment. Gainful Employment guidelines which focus on for profit schools - have placed enormous pressure on acupuncture schools - most of which are for profit. Whatever it is that is taught in acupuncture schools would seem to be uncorrelated with earning a living This is the gist of gainful employment. The President of ACAOM has announced twice in the past 18 months that a third to half of all acupuncture schools will close under pressure from the federal the gainful employment initiative. This federal initiative known as Gainful Employment squarely aims at predatory vocation schools and programs whose graduates are unable to earn a living sufficient to pay down their federal loans. What will that mean for the future of training programs and the profession? How well prepared are AOM schools to demonstrate successful workforce outcomes for their graduates? What does it mean for the current and future workforce if 20 to 30 schools close by late 2018?

    I hope to cover these questions in a future post.

    Steven H. Stumpf, EdD

    NGAOM Vice President Research and Education

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