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Acupuncture Today – March, 2011, Vol. 12, Issue 03

Facing AOM Challenges with Your Support

By AAAOM Staff

Douglas Newton

The AAAOM has a clear mission, to promote excellence and integrity in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in order to enhance public health and well-being.

What are we doing to fulfill that mission? What current challenges does the profession face? With a small staff and a volunteer board, how will we meet these challenges?

Your AAAOM membership supports your professional development and all the ongoing work we need to do collectively to protect your practice. There has never been a more crucial period in which we need your help. So if you have been on the fence about becoming a member, please consider the scale of the work we wish to achieve and what your support means to us at this time. We invite you to become part of the larger, important, ongoing conversation that will impact the future of your profession.

The challenges before us are specific and general. Other healthcare providers are aggressively pursuing the right to use acupuncture and related modalities by renaming the techniques and ensuring limited to no training as a requirement to practice under their licenses. They have strong, unified, aggressive campaigns and we need to present a unified responsive voice as a profession to clarify that dry-needling, intramuscular stimulation and other terms are, in fact, acupuncture by another name.

We repeatedly assert that acupuncture should be practiced by a fully-educated and licensed practitioner. This is one scope of practice issue among others. In order to continue to collectively and powerfully respond to this we need each of you in the conversation. Please write to us at and join the AOM Community conversation in an independent google group at

Additionally, the need to counter misinformation on AOM in the media is an ongoing challenge, and one we ignore at our peril. The AAAOM has recently issued press-releases and drafted letters, often in tandem with the NCCAOM, to countermand attacks on AOM. One example of this concerns an attack on AOM from Stephen Salzburg. Salzburg joins others such as Edzard Ernst in attacking CAM modalities and acupuncture, particularly its exemplary safety records. Many others wish to dismiss, diminish and otherwise discredit our medicine and we cannot afford to remain silent on this. Click on "comments" to read the AAAOM response on Salzburg here: Read the joint NCCAOM / AAAOM press release on Ernst's latest attack here:

Meanwhile, federal regulations at the U.S. Department of Education may make it more difficult for AOM students to borrow money to become practitioners. It is very important for the professional associations and practitioners to monitor these events and step in wherever necessary to protect our collective future.

Perhaps the most important question is how can we create more and better opportunities for practitioners? To this end, we must also ask what are all the ways that we can better educate the public and politicians? More specifically, how can we ensure herbal access, reassure the public on the safety of herbal medicine, and educate society on the intense professional training acupuncturists receive? The AAAOM is the national outlet for seeking these answers and informing the public. We need your voice heard in these conversations.

We are highly energized and excited about the possibilities for our AOM profession as we enter into the second decade of our new millennium. Just like the human body is a small universe of complex and interconnected systems, through which flows qi, the universal life energy, so too is our AOM community. Our community is full of meridian-like channels and energy flows that can be stimulated and invigorated to achieve greater health and success. In our current transition period, the AAAOM is working hard to achieve greater value creation and enduring success. The key imperatives of the AAAOM often involve larger issues that influence and shape the profession more than the day-to-day practice of you, the practitioner. While we know you value this work, we also recognize the importance of making your AAAOM membership work for you in tangible direct ways--like saving money. As such we have recently sought discounts from AOM business partners for AAAOM members. Here is a sample of the growing list:

  • Acuclaims: 50 percent discount on set-up fee ($150 value)
  • waive of set up fee ($95 value)
  • Acupuncture Media Works: 10 percent off 1st purchase. 5 percent thereafter
  • Blue Light, Inc. 10 percent discount
  • CAI: Special Discounts available
  • Evergreen Herbs: 10 percent discount on initial herb order (call AAAOM office for code)
  • Golden Flower Chinese Herbs: discount on first order
  • Heel: 10 percent off first order when setting up account
  • Heliomed: 10 percent discount
  • JAAF: 20 percent discount
  • ProD Seminars: 20 percent discount

As you can see, the cost of an AAAOM membership is easily repaid through the valuable savings you recoup on the products and services you need for your practice. This is an ongoing goal for the AAAOM. Please check back with us occasionally as we add new membership benefits.

We remain committed to creating the best value for AOM practitioners and for the AOM community as a whole. Together, we can achieve this through the art and science of the values espoused by our medicine. Specifically, we will continually work to advance the profession within the integrative healthcare landscape, actively support practitioners in the development and management of successful and rewarding practices, support AOM learning and research institutions, assist students with their transition into a successful AOM career, and promote public awareness of the safety, efficacy, and benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

As the U.S. healthcare landscape continues to offer integrative CAM modalities into mainstream care, the AOM profession will be faced with new opportunities and challenges that accompany how this transition takes shape. Our upcoming and groundbreaking World Conference on Whole Medicine in Baltimore in May will explore the role that AOM plays within healthcare. We hope that you will join us for this conference and recognize the event as a culmination of the reinvention and revitalization of the AAAOM as an entity that better serves you and your interests.

Although there are many models for success within the AOM profession, we must not lose sight of the fact that we need to work together as a one national voice to truly advance our profession, and realize our diverse and still untapped potential.

We can all work together, starting with the diversity of our practitioners as a foundational strength. Above all else, we want to help each one of you to be successful. With diversity comes greater resilience and a broader field of opportunity. We can face our challenges together, overcome our obstacles, grow our profession, and enter into a whole new realm of success. Together.

Click here for previous articles by AAAOM Staff.

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