Acupuncture Today – August, 2013, Vol. 14, Issue 08

Pacific Symposium Celebrates Silver Anniversary

By Gail Vogt

From October 24-27, 2013, the Pacific Symposium will be celebrating 25 years of existence in the world of Oriental medicine. Pacific Symposium has been a treasured meeting of the minds and spirits of acupuncturists and other healthcare practitioners from around the world since 1989.

This world-class conference brings acupuncturists, medical doctors, massage therapists, students, and professors together to exchange state-of-the-art knowledge in a beautiful retreat setting at the Catamaran Resort and Spa in San Diego, California.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine President Jack Miller co-founded the Pacific Symposium with colleague, Joseph Lazzaro, in 1989. Mr. Miller reflected on some of his memories of the very first Symposium:

"Joseph Lazzaro, our president at the time, had Ted Kaptchuk scheduled to do a retreat in the mountains outside of San Diego," said Miller, "Being a surfer, my first thought was that it would be a lot more fun (for me, anyway) if we did it at the beach. My second thought was that it would be awesome to bring a few additional luminaries in our fledgling profession together at the same time - More fun for them, more fun for the attendees. It ended up being our biggest lineup ever. On top of that, my son was born about month before the event, so he was there too!"

Over the years, there have been several milestone achievements in the Oriental medicine field, such as the growth of public acceptance and use of the medicine, recognition of the master's and doctoral degrees in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, increased funding for medical research, state licensure, and more. Along with these milestones for the medicine, Miller said he had has his own favorite moments from Pacific Symposiums over the years.

"Rocking my newborn son to sleep while listening to Ted Kaptchuk's first key note presentation, hanging around the Catamaran pool with Bill and Jerrine Egloff of Crane Herbs way back in the day, playing the blues with John Scott of Golden Flower Chinese Herbs, and words of wisdom from so many of our speakers. There are so many memories," Miller said.

So, why do so many people make Pacific Symposium a yearly tradition? Of course the speakers are great, and the community is too, but in addition to all of that is the ambience of beautiful southern California.

Pacific College Director of Continuing Education Tiffany McCort has observed over the years that the annual event is, "a fantastic place for like-minded people, all over the world, to come together and share their experiences in Oriental medicine. Every year you're re-inspired, being nourished and surrounded by people who share a common interest," she said.

Miller agrees, "I hope people come back every year because of the warm, collegial exchange and because we offer something that they can use in their practice of Chinese medicine, but it's probably for the weather."

Here are some quick facts about Pacific Symposium:

  • Dr. Deepak Chopra spoke at Pacific Symposium in 1990 on the topic of Quantum Healing and again in 1991, on the topic of Unconditional Life.
  • This year's speakers include Ted Kaptchuck, Kiiko Matsumoto, Subhuti Dharmanadanda, Jake Fratkin, Miki Shimi, and Misha Cohen (who also spoke at the very first symposium in 1989).
  • Pacific Symposium had the privilege of hosting world-renowned musician and composer Ravi Shankar.

This year's Symposium line-up is guaranteed to inspire with speakers at the forefront of the integrative health community. Jeffrey Yuen, Ted Kaptchuck, Kiiko Matsumoto, Miki Shima, Giovanni Maciocia, Lillian Bridges, and Matt Callison are just a few of the experts who will present seminars and lead interactive workshops covering a myriad of Oriental medicine topics.

Pacific Symposium is proud to present Ted Kaptchuk, author and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, as this year's Keynote Speaker. Professor Kaptchuk will be discussing the latest clinical research on acupuncture, including controversial methods like "placebo acupuncture." He will compare clinical and neurobiological findings on genuine and sham acupuncture, examining the East Asian perspective on placebo effects and medical ritual; and pondering how Nei Jing's idea of a "penetrating divine illumination" relates to placebo studies.

Jeffrey Yuen will be returning this year to speak on the popular topic of pregnancy and Chinese medicine. Jeffrey will be looking at the models of pregnancy gestation in Chinese medicine and discussing how to manage each month of pregnancy, as well as how to treat common gestational issues. Important key points will include dietary guidelines and treatments for common symptoms and conditions during pregnancy, as well as exploration of the dynamics of shen in utero. To complement Jeffrey's talk, Debra Betts will be teaching a workshop specifically on the use of acupuncture in cases of threatened miscarriages, as well as the induction of labor.

A returning favorite, Chinese medicine author Giovanni Maciocia will speak on multiple topics, including his revolutionary study of the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Giovanni will specifically look at Grave's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and asthma.

That's a sneak peek of some of our speakers! Not only can attendees hear the rest in person, but also this year, participants will be able to view live-streaming workshops and lectures from their at-home computers.

For registration questions, contact the Pacific Symposium Office at or call (619) 574-6909.


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