Printer Friendly Email a Friend PDF

Acupuncture Today – January, 2020, Vol. 21, Issue 01

20 and Counting: Celebrating 20 Years of Acupuncture Today and the Evolution of AOM

By Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large

There is a saying, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Acupuncture Today was one of those ideas. Over the past 20 years, Acupuncture Today has helped bring news and information to AOM practitioners throughout the United States ... and now, with a digital edition, throughout the world.

Jan. 1, 2000 marked the very first issue of Acupuncture Today. During that time, our profession has seen many changes and significant growth – and AT has been there every step of the way. As we begin our 21st year of publication, let's take a year-by-year walk together down Memory Lane and review some of the events that have shaped the profession, as reported in the pages of Acupuncture Today.


Acupuncture Today publishes its inaugural issue, with Michael Devitt serving as the first managing editor. I've been teaching at schools for 10 years, and am recruited as AT's editor-at-large to ensure the publication addresses the topics and issues most important to our practitioners and profession.

Among the events shaping the year 2000, three acupuncturists are appointed to the first White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. The Supreme Court upholds Washington state's historic "alternative provider" law, which requires insurance carriers to provide access to all types of providers licensed or certified under state law.


Congress increases funding for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research by $20 million. The National Institutes of Health launches a CAM database on PubMed. Harvard University receives a $10 million donation to study alternative medicine. Acupuncture Today's website is featured on a national TV series as a reliable source of reliable information about acupuncture. One of the first discussions of how colored light therapy can interface with acupuncture takes place.


The University of Virginia receives a $2.2 million grant to study echinacea. California Assemblywoman Judy Chu sponsors Assembly Bill 1943, which raises the hours in California to 3,000 in order to complete acupuncture school. Then-Gov. Gray Davis signs the bill. The NCCAOM receives full accreditation for its Asian bodywork therapy program from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. National organizations launch a campaign to declare Oct. 24 "Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day."


Acupuncture Today passes 2 million hits to its website in one month, including nearly 66,000 unique visits. A special edition of Newsweek magazine explores the science of alternative medicine and features acupuncture on the cover. HIPAA regulations begin to impact the profession (and all health professions – a topic I discuss in my column throughout the year). NCCAOM publishes its first Job Analysis of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Profession.


ACAOM convenes a task force to develop standards for entry-level doctoral programs. The FDA issues a final ruling on ephedra. Discussions about getting more patients from the web are increasingly popular. The Little Hoover Commission publishes an analysis of the acupuncture profession in the state of California. Oriental medicine is discussed as an essential element of integrative oncology care.


The Ameican Medical Association introduces new CPT codes for acupuncture. South Carolina's licensure bill is signed into law. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) celebrates 20 years. Dr. Will Morris discusses the importance of leadership and service. The ACAOM Doctoral Task Force issues its final report.


The U.S. Department of Education reconfirms ACAOM as the accrediting agency for acupuncture schools. The World Health Organization standardizes acupuncture point locations and develops a list of vocabulary terms. Michigan and Kentucky enact licensure laws. Acupuncturists are treating patients on cruise ships.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a report on pain management. Acupuncturists in Pennsylvania no longer need a physician referral. The Society for Acupuncture Research celebrates 10 years of acupuncture research advances. The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance (AOM Alliance) and the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) merge to become the present-day AAAOM. The FDA publishes its final rule on current good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements; Chinese herbs get a boost.


The first blind acupuncturist in the U.S. attains a license in Texas. The NCCAOM begins work on obtaining recognition from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for acupuncturists. The Olympic Village in Beijing offers acupuncture to athletes for first time. ACAOM completes the first draft for doctoral studies in the U.S. in the field of acupuncture and traditional medicine. A character in an episode of the hit TV show "Private Practice" reads an issue of Acupuncture Today.


Complementary and alternative medicine is recognized by the World Health Organization at a meeting in Beijing. Acupuncture is highlighted at the American Public Health Association conference. Yo San University partners with Children's Hospital Los Angeles to offer acupuncture to pediatric patients. The San Francisco Giants (Major League Baseball) add an acupuncturist to their health staff.


The first step is taken in creating a classification for traditional medicine with the World Health Organization. The U.S. Army Surgeon General recommends acupuncture for pain management. Creating a marketing blueprint for acupuncture practice growth is a hot topic. President Obama signs health reform legislation – the Affordable Care Act.


One of Acupuncture Today's columnists wins gold for Best Contributed Column in the prestigious Western Regional Azbee Awards of Excellence competition. Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine announces a dual master's degree program. Pet acupuncture is highlighted in a feature article.


Acupuncture gains popularity nationwide at hospitals. International Classification of Diseases 10th version (ICD-10) code changes impact acupuncturists. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is honored for his advocacy of traditional Chinese medicine. Anthem Blue Cross increases diagnosis codes for acupuncture benefits.


The PCOM Symposium celebrates 25 years. Patient-centered care is a buzzword for the first time. Acupuncturists respond in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. The definition of a health care provider is established. The International Standards Organization – Technical Committee 249 holds its first plenary session in Beijing to develop international standards for TCM. Acupuncture Today visits China.


Six states remain without any type of acupuncture regulation. Colorado is developing the first acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps in the U.S. Acupuncture Today makes history in the prestigious FOLIO publishing awards competition.


Texas veterans with PTSD are first treated with acupuncture. The American Society of Acupuncture begins to impact the profession. TCM congress in Germany is largest in Western world. Nobel Prize co-winners turn to TCM for award-winning research. Emperor's College treats athletes at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles.


Interprofessionalism is becoming more important. Amy Sear teaches ethics and NCCAOM holds an ethics symposium. The AOM profession mourns the loss of Richard Tan. The herbal medicine program at Cleveland Clinic gains traction. Acupuncture Today launches its digital edition. Kansas acupuncturists finally get licensing law.


Five Branches University offers the first hospital-based TCM residency. Wyoming becomes the 47th state to regulate acupuncture. U.S. Attorneys General ask insurers to cover acupuncture and other non-opioid alternatives for pain relief.


The Department of Veterans Affairs declares acupuncture a profession, not a modality, and announces new opportunities. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health's (NCCIH) new director backs acupuncture. The Institute for Economic Review recommends insurers cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain.


A study reveals acupuncture is the top integrative health service Americans want to try. The dry needling debate heats up. The NCCAOM gets a new CEO, Mina Larson. (A huge thank you goes to Kory Ward-Cook for all of her work and accomplishments during her tenure at NCCAOM.) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asks for opinions as to whether acupuncture should be included in Medicare, and requests a study for further investigation.

If there is a moral to the first 20 years of this story, it's that this wonderful medicine and the people who deliver it have certainly accomplished a lot over the past 20 years – but we still have much further to go. As always, Acupuncture Today will be with you throughout your journey. Let's see what the next 20 years brings!

Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.

Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreement
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.

To report inappropriate ads, click here.