October 24, 2002 marked the first annual observance of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day. Conceived of as part of a national campaign to educate the public about the benefits of acupuncture and other forms of Asian healing, many of the leading national acupuncture and Oriental medicine member associations, research organizations and educational institutions lent their support to AOM Day, in the form of open houses; lectures and demonstrations; free acupuncture treatments; and educational seminars.
Among last year's highlights, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, an ardent supporter of alternative medicine, signed a proclamation in support of AOM Day, and commended the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and other organizations for their sponsorship and promotional efforts. Similar proclamations were signed by Hawaii Gov. Benjamin Cayetano and New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, while in Pakistan, the Acupuncture Promotion and Welfare Society held a seminar on the role of acupuncture in relieving pain and other disorders.
As more acupuncturists have learned about the importance of AOM Day (and as Oct. 24th, 2003 occurs on a Friday), this year's celebration promises to be bigger and even more festive. In August, Acupuncture Today contacted every ACAOM-accredited college in the U.S. to learn of the profession's designs for celebrating AOM Day, and also spoke with officials from several state and national acupuncture and Oriental medicine organizations. As we go to press, the following events have been planned in the days and weeks leading up to the 24th:
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, Calif. will deliver a series of free lectures to the public: "The Health Benefits of Acupressure" and "Chinese Medicine: A Timeless Medicine in Modern Times" will be held Oct. 22 and 23, respectively. Those who attend the lectures will receive a certificate for a complimentary treatment at the college's community clinic. In addition, the school will provide demonstrations on massage and Chinese medicine at several organic food markets and hospitals in the San Diego area during the week of Oct. 19-25.
- PCOM's Chicago, Ill., campus will host a free open house to the public on Oct. 19. Events will include workshops on tuina massage and tai chi; lectures on Oriental bodywork therapy and Oriental medicine; and campus tours. Refreshments will be served during the open house.
- The Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ICAOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii, will host an open house and give a free lecture on Oct. 24. Free acupuncture treatments also will be provided. In addition, ICAOM has partnered with several organizations to publicize AOM Day (see below).
- The New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) will hold an open house on Saturday, Oct., 18, during which participants will participate in a panel discussion with NESA students and observe an acupuncture demonstration. The school also will celebrate AOM Day with a special event on the 24th.
- Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, Calif., will play host to several events, beginning with a Chinese medicine health fair Oct. 5th that will feature health talks; free acupuncture treatments; free tuina massages; tongue and pulse diagnoses; informative displays; tours of the institute's herb pharmacy; qi gong and tai chi classes; a slide show of Chinese paintings; a special Chinese tea booth; and free food and prizes. Administrators also will host a drawing at the health fair to win a series of free treatments, with the winner announced on AOM Day. On the 24th, Five Branches will have a free food, tea and information booth set up at its clinic for patients to enjoy.
- In Portland, Ore., the National College of Naturopathic Medicine will host an event in celebration of AOM Day. Details of the even were not immediately available at press time, but readers can visit the college's Web site (www.ncnm.edu) or call 503-499-4343 for more information.
- Also in Portland, coincidental to AOM Day, representatives of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine will attend a health fair at one of the state's largest senior care facilities, and will provide information on acupuncture and Oriental medicine. In addition, OCOM will work with the Oregon Acupuncture Association to publicize Oriental medicine in the Portland area (see below).
- The American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, located in Houston, Texas, will recognize AOM Day by providing free treatments for patients interested in quitting smoking. The college also will give tours of the facility, and deliver a brief presentation on the benefits of Oriental medicine.
- The Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin (AOMA), also in Texas, will participate in this year's AOM Day celebration by giving free herbal consultations and pulse/tongue evaluations. School officials also have approached Austin Mayor Will Wynn in the hopes of having him sign a proclamation that would make Oct. 24th "Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day" in the city.
- In Arizona, the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture will hold a donation clinic and a one-day orientation session, "Be An Acupuncturist for a Day." Up to 25 applicants will be accepted for the orientation. Participants will get an introduction to Oriental medical theory, then experience point location and acupressure, and try needle techniques, moxibustion and gua sha. They will also make and drink an herbal tea, and participate in tai chi and qi gong sessions. In addition, they will practice looking at tongues and taking pulses, and receive an introduction to patterns and syndrome differentiation. The school promises it to be "a great opportunity for all."
On the association front, several state and national organizations also have announced plans to celebrate Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day:
- The NCCAOM is considering several projects designed to increase awareness of AOM Day, including running a national advertisement in the Oct. 24th issue of USA Today. NCCAOM is also considering conducting a second national public opinion survey (similar to the survey conducted last year), and holding a media event, such as an information fair, on Capitol Hill.
- The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance is encouraging its members to participate in AOM Day, and has listed an article and a series of celebratory suggestions on its Web site (www.aomalliance.org).
- The American Association of Oriental Medicine is working with the other national organizations to promote AOM Day. It has obliged its members to communicate with local newspapers and media outlets to bring more attention to AOM Day and the Oriental medicine profession. More information for AAOM members is listed on the association's Web site (www.aaom.org).
- Members of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) are planning a series of "group qi" events, not just nationwide, but around the globe. The idea is to conduct the events as closest to the same time as possible, which amplifies the amount of energy experienced during treatment, and makes the effect of acupuncture stronger. Rachel Toomin, AP, a board member with NADA, is coordinating the operation; interested parties can contact her at for more information.
- The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association of Minnesota (AOMAM) will offer free stress reduction treatments through participating member clinics on the 24th in observance of AOM Day. The AOMAM will also distribute flyers and broadcast public service announcements to publicize the event.
- The Hawaii Acupuncture Association, in cooperation with several acupuncture schools and organizations (including ICAOM; Acu-Plan Hawaii; the Traditional Chinese Medical College of Hawaii; and the Big Island Acupuncture Association), will sponsor a series of statewide occasions, including open house events; free public lectures; demonstrations; and consultations. Governor Linda Lingle has also been approached by the Oriental medicine community to sign a proclamation recognizing Oct. 24th as AOM Day in Hawaii.
- The Oregon Acupuncture Association, in conjunction with the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, will publicize AOM Day by setting up information booths on the 24th in front of health food stores and health clubs in the Portland area.
The above list is only a small example of the dozens of events being planned in celebration of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day, and there is little doubt that more organizations will become involved and make their plans known as Oct. 24th approaches.
For individual practitioners, there are several ways you can join in the fun and let the public know about everything acupuncture and Oriental medicine has to offer. If you would like to get involved in AOM Day, make sure to contact your school or state association, or visit the official Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day Web site (www.aomday.org) for more information. In addition, if you plan on celebrating AOM Day and would like more people to know about it, send an e-mail to titled "AOM Day 2003." We will include your information, along with the above events, on a special "Celebrate AOM Day" section to be posted on acupuncturetoday.com Oct. 1. The section will be updated continuously throughout October.
Happy AOM Day!
Editor's note: Acupuncture Today would like to thank Troy Petenbrink of the NCCAOM for his assistance in the completion of this article.