Spring 2019

Coinciding with the historic twentieth anniversary of acupuncture licensing in Arizona, a group of your colleagues have come together to establish a state professional organization, Asian Medicine Acupuncturists of Arizona or AMAAZ.  At this time of unprecedented change in our field, we welcome you on board with us as the train of progress speeds steadily towards an even more promising future for American AOM.  

As an AMAAZ member, you will enjoy informative newsletters, discounted CEU opportunities, and special professional events. Most importantly, you can rest assured that you now have a dedicated advocacy force committed to promoting and protecting your rights and privileges as a licensed healthcare professional.  Of course, no organization can exist, much less thrive, without its members. Thank you for your support!

Dear Arizona Colleagues:

On behalf of the board and Council of the American Society of Acupuncturists, we want to congratulate you on your insight and commitment to the development of your profession.  It is critical that we, as a single professional group, represent ourselves at state and national levels of government.  These times are unlike others that we have seen as a licensure class:  acupuncture is being more and more accepted and brought into mainstream institutions.  The question remains, will "Acupuncturists" (regardless of specific state licensure title designation) be brought forward with acupuncture as a modality as well? 

In the last 6 months we have seen strong calls for the inclusion of acupuncture into American healthcare by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and in federal legislative documents.  To be clear again, this was a call for the inclusion of "acupuncture", not "Acupuncturists".  Unless we can bring ourselves together under a SINGLE umbrella, we stand no chance of inclusion into the rapidly growing demand for acupuncture through federal programs.  Your membership in your state association, and your state association’s membership in the American Society of Acupuncturists, is what is needed to optimize our chances of success.  There is no other U.S. national professional association anywhere near as well structured or positioned to lead us forward.  Hands down.  Please do your homework!  Read our updates and progress reports at  Above all else, ATTEND THE FIRST NATIONAL CONFERENCE OUR PROFESSION HAS HAD THAT BRINGS US FACE TO FACE WITH THOSE WHO ARE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT OUR FUTURE.

We do not have the luxury of apathy and disorganization any more.  Support this state association and join in the national effort!  We are at the cusp of a new era for acupuncture in the United States.  Let's be sure Acupuncturists are included in that new terrain.

David W. Miller, MD, LAc
Chair, American Society of Acupuncturists

The Early Bird Deadline is fast approaching! Planning to join us at the ASA Inaugural Annual Conference? Register today to make sure you receive the early bird rate of $299, $50 off before April 30th, $100 off the price at the door!

LiMing Tseng, LicAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM)
Secretary, American Society of Acupuncturists

Good Day Arizona Acupuncturists,

I'm very happy to greet you and appreciate that you are supporting your professional association. There are numerous outside entities that are pushing this profession from many sides.  It is important that acupuncturists in Arizona begin to unite together and collaborate on projects.  The Veterans Administration has established guidelines for treating veterans by private sector medical professionals. This includes acupuncturists who are treating veterans.  If you want to treat veterans, put a sign up in your office: this clinic welcomes veterans.

The NCCAOM has recently trademarked the term nationally board certified acupuncturist. The previous term that was used when you were certified was diplomate. This new term can be used on business cards, curriculum vitae, and websites. If you have taken an airplane flight recently you probably looked through an airplane magazine where there is usually an ad for doctors of various specialties. You will notice that it always says that they are nationally board-certified.

The Center for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) recently requested information from the public and the profession as to whether acupuncture should be included in Medicare/Medicaid. The CMS was wanting responses backed up with research as to whether it should be included or not. Working together the American Society of Acupuncturists and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine responded and presented a package to the committee. The CMS has said that they will take it under consideration and get back with an opinion in 4 to 6 months.  

The World Health Organization General Assembly will be officially voting on the adoption of the International Classification of Disease, Eleventh Revision and the set of Traditional Medicine codes. The vote will take place in May 2019.  These codes will be in the classification of ICD-11 with Traditional Medicine receiving its own chapter.  The new codes will act as a way of collecting data in the healthcare world and bring credibility to acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

I am sure that everyone will agree with me that this is one of the most exciting times to be in the field of Asian medicine.

Marilyn Allen
American Acupuncture Council and Editor of Acupuncture Today

Review of the Korean Constitutional Acupuncture Seminar 

“Yes", “yes", and “absolutely.” These are the most common answers that I find myself sharing with anyone you asks me about the Korean Constitutional Acupuncture (KCA) seminar. 

Was the class worth it? “Yes!" I knew I was going to a seminar that had a chance to knock my socks off. I heard it was going to discuss pulses, that the material for the class was based off of the classics, and that what we were going to learn at the seminar was immediately applicable to the clinic setting.

In a nutshell, the Korean Constitutional theory is based off of the fact that we are all born with some imbalances. The imbalances are normal. We are born with a certain set of challenges. The challenges do not change over time.  Our body does its best to correct for the imbalances. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes our organs can get out of balance making us more predisposed to disease.

The theory is not new. It has its basis in Chinese medicine. Chapter 72 of the Ling Shu mentions that acupuncture treatments must be applied according to the constitutional types. ​

In the KCA training, four constitutional types are discussed. The types are based off of the five elements. So where is the fifth constitution? The fifth type, involving the heart, does not exist.  Why? Attend the class to find out. The constitutions and the treatment strategies associated with each of the constitutions are discussed in length during the seminar. 

“Yes" is the answer to the second question, “Will I learn something?” Yes, you will. Actually, imagine that you have been working on a puzzle for years and you realize you are missing a strategic piece to the puzzle. Once that puzzle piece is revealed the rest of the puzzle falls into place.  That is what happened for me. 

KCA is designed to be practical, useful and effective. It doesn’t teach you any new points nor does it try to teach you new basic theory. It is not trying to teach you a paradigm such as the Korean Hand Technique. KCA incorporates what you already know into something very effective in the clinic.

The theory helps to reveal the treatment strategy through the pulse, the 5-element relationships, and the 4 body constitutions. So, the answer to the third common question about the seminar is “absolutely":  you will absolutely be able to take what you’ve learned in class and use it in clinic the next day. Learning the 4 body constitutions will help you design better treatments. Don’t be afraid of taking the pulse. There is a knack to the KCA pulse taking technique that most of you will be eager to learn.

It is different. You just need to step back a bit. Open your mind. Take a breath and go for it. You will surprise yourself. The pulse is taken over the radial pulse. The position is just a bit more proximal. You do not try to feel for different attributes of the pulse. Not need to feel for position, level, and fell such as the force. It is a simpler technique. To find out, how to do it is best by taking the class. 

We, as the members and Board of AMAAZ, would like to thank PIHMA and ASAOM for their contributions by offering their conference rooms for the Phoenix and Tucson KCA workshops as well as Lloyd Wright’s generous contribution to AMAAZ with his time and lecture. Lloyd volunteered to teach the class in Phoenix and Tucson.

It is worth it?  Get an extra pair of socks and attend the seminar to find out! :)

David Wallace, L.Ac.
Member at Large, AMAAZ

Please join us May 5th from 8 to 5 to learn this unique system from a master practitioner.
Go to for more information.


Feeling stressed out?  Look no further. Just hop over to one of our desert mountain trails. While soaking up the sunshine and fresh air, marvel at the budding and flowering cacti, aloes, agave and wildflowers. When you reach the top, gaze out to the far horizon and savor the spectacular vista. Pray/meditate with gratitude for Mother Nature’s marvelous gifts. At the end of your outing, all your TCM Organs are activated, qi and blood flow are invigorated. Thanks to our “Arizona Desert Therapy Center” for the body and mind, you will feel energized and renewed!

Burdened by some chronic, systemic ailments? Our desert offers us a free food and herbal clinic at our fingertips. Although it seems barren, it fully provided the Native Americans with food resources and healing remedies for thousands of years. Among the many popular edible and medicinal plants (creosote, jojoba, aloe, agave, mesquite, etc...) one succulent plant that has attracted much attention in recent years from the international scientific and medical community is our very own cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica). The entire plant (pad, flower, fruit...) holds health promoting and disease preventive benefits. Its fruit, aka prickly pear fruit or tuna or Indian fig, in particular, is worth noting. The Native Americans traditionally used it to treat wounds, gastric ulcers, hepatitis, diarrhea, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, alcohol hangover etc...

Recent research results explain and support these health benefits. Prickly pear fruit contains exceptionally high level of antioxidants (betalains, polyphenols, flavonoid, vitamins), minerals and soluble fibers. The betalain pigments show potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemo-preventative properties in vitro and in vivo. Their antioxidant activity is higher than many pigmented fruits, vegetables, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), rutin, and catechin. Acting as powerful scavengers for radicals that cause inflammation and oxidative stress, betalain protects and prevents the development of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Its high soluble fiber content contributes to lowering LDL, total cholesterol, glucose, and helps resolve many digestive ailments. See below references for more details.

The special betalain pigments cover a spectrum of colors (purple, red, dark yellow orange, green). From a TCM color interpretation, one could say that the fruit has actions on all TCM organ systems.

Another fruit containing high levels of betalain is the pitaya (Hylocereus undated).  A cousin of the prickly pear fruit, it is widely grown in Southeast Asia. The Chinese calls it “ fire dragon fruit” because of its red color and its floppy wings. Traditionally, the dragon is considered to be a benevolent and powerful creature. The name may have been coined as a tribute to its potent health effects. Recent research studies show it has many health benefits similar to those of its cousin, the prickly pear fruit. As a result, it has gained increasing popularity worldwide. Its tiny black seeds dispersed within its white, yellow, red inner juicy pulpy flesh (depending on the species) are softer and more digestible than the prickly pear’s. These two cousins can be found in Mexican or Asian supermarkets. As with everything, consume them in moderation because they are sweet and high in fructose. 

The Arizona desert is a blessing to us.  Let us enjoy and embrace its marvelous offerings. In return, we must do our best to nurture and protect our precious Mother Nature.

Wendy N. Lee, L.Ac; MSOM; MSFS & Nutrition

Director- Acupuncture Health & Wellness LLC , Paradise Valley, AZ 

Former faculty member, PIHMA College & Clinic, Phoenix, AZ

Docent- Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ


Recent advances in betalain research. - PubMed - NCBI

Antioxidant activities of sicilian prickly pear (Opuntia ficus indica) fruit extracts and reducing properties of its betalains: betanin and indicax... - PubMed - NCBI


Prickly pear and fruit
Desert vista
Pitaya, dragon fruit


Can you believe the first quarter of 2019 is already over?  Spring is in the air and nature shows its signs of new beginnings.  Just as the seasons change, so does life, for us as practitioners and for our patients.  But what happens when we are faced with these shifts?  It’s not uncommon during these times that we get MOST stuck in fear and feel overwhelmed. 


I personally have experienced and observed major shifts in my life, as, I imagine, have most of you. BUT I also know that a shift has most often provided tremendous opportunity for growth and positive change, establishing a foundation for healing.  As many of our patients seek our help for the treatment of pain, we all know that there most often is a disconnect between body-mind and spirit. 

Going through shifts can quite frequently be a very lonely place. Few people have someone nearby who can aid them in applying strategies, help to integrate changes, offer positive support, and facilitate an awareness of patterns to benefit their healing process.  Faced with challenges, it is easy for patients, or even practitioners, to become imbalanced.  It is often difficult to “shift the perspective” and/or see the result, causing one or another emotion to become excessive. 

This may result in an inability to trust anyone, even yourself, at times making it hard to stay “open-hearted”.  We lose the capacity to allow ourselves to feel what we need or want, what brings us JOY.  To compensate for all the feelings, we make poor choices in lifestyle and relationships.  As one continues to search for answers in reading books, listening to lectures, exercise, et cetera, it IS of value to reach out for support—support from loved ones, friends, professional assistance, or aid from colleagues.  The point I am trying to make is that, specifically as health care providers, it is of utmost value to “maintain balance” within ourselves in order to be “the best” provider to our patients.  Ask yourself: Who are you in your practice, and who are you behind closed doors?

During this gorgeous time in Arizona, take the opportunity and find someone who will join you to reconnect with nature together.  By bolstering and uplifting each other, you can better serve as a beacon of light to help your patients “shift their perspective” and heal.

Dagmar Bauer-Prigatano
Restorative Acupuncture Clinic, PLLC

Springtime and the Hun

During the spring, it is appropriate to reexamine the wood phase and the liver viscus while contemplating the role of the hun or ethereal soul in Chinese medicine.  In accordance with Daoist tradition which holds that, upon death, the three hun rise above while the four po or corporeal souls sink below, the Huang Di Nei Jing states

“That which goes hither and thither with the spirit is called the hun.”

During our lives, the ethereal soul remains tethered to the mortal coil by virtue of the blood.  Again, the Nei Jing remarks

“The liver stores the blood, and the blood houses the hun.”

Chinese medicine describes the pathology of the ethereal soul failing to be stored.  Sleepwalking and talking in one’s sleep are considered the pathognomonic indicators of this condition and warrant supplementing and nourishing the blood as well as quieting the spirit.  

Sarah Doerr


Although many factors shape the way AOM is practiced in the U.S., the institutions that train our students play a primary role.  Helping our schools to provide excellent education, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or ACAOM, in turn sets the standards for accredited AOM programs, driving growth and development in the field.  Through rigorous peer-review, colleges seeking accreditation can earn the recognition that their school has achieved and maintains the high level of quality expected of an ACAOM-accredited institution.

With input from stakeholders both within and outside of AOM education, ACAOM continually assesses and improves its standards and procedures.  2019 has been a landmark year as the ACAOM standards have been significantly revised.  The previous fourteen standards have been streamlined down to ten, and much of the material has been rewritten to better meet the needs of our community (see  In addition, core competencies pertaining specifically to Chinese medicine have been replaced by broader competencies applicable to all graduate-leveltraining in various styles of traditional Asian medicine.  These changes both ensure academic freedom and encourage academic excellence.

However, perhaps most exciting of all is the Commission’s efforts towards incorporating entry-level doctorial programs into the accreditation process.  With the most recently updated guidelines, ACAOM has expanded its standards to include Professional Doctorate programs, and many schools are introducing a multitude of new educational opportunities to facilitate these advanced degrees.  The emphasis of this doctorial training is on collaboration as part of a larger medical team, training vital to ensuring our place in the integrated medical model of the future.  Expect to see more and more of the next generation of practitioners who will have earned the privilege of adding the title of doctor to their credentials.

AMAAZ Editor


Mastering Tui Na at the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ASAOM)

At the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ASAOM), you cannot study Chinese Medicine without incorporating tui na  (tway-na). Tui na is foundational to the system of Chinese Medicine, and, at ASAOM, we view the entirety of Chinese Medicine as a single, unified modality of wellness and healing, not a medical practice consisting of different modalities. Too often, acupuncture is separated from herbs and tui na is omitted from the foundation of curriculums. The three pillars of Chinese Medicine—tui na, acupuncture, and herbs—are like siblings in the same family; the family, absent a member, is incomplete. 
What is tui na? It is not massage but not everyone knows the difference. Enjoying status at ASAOM as a pillar of Chinese medicine, tui na addresses patient health with the ancient knowledge of meridians, channels, acupressure, and bodywork techniques employed to release and open the flow of stagnant energy in the body. Blocked energy in the body may present as a myriad of dis-eases. A Chinese medical practitioner trained at ASAOM can use tui na in conjunction with acupuncture and herbs to restore a body to balance. Find out more about our program and tui na certification at:

Joshua Hunnum
President, ASAOM

New Programs at the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture

In addition to our current Master’s degrees, the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture (PIHMA ) now offers Doctorate of Acupuncture (D.Ac.) and Doctorate of Acupuncture with Specialization in Herbal Medicine (DAcHM) degrees. PIHMA joins the movement of over a dozen colleges adding or converting their curriculum to provide this title. Having a doctorate title can open doors for those who wish to work in more integrated settings or to compete with doctorates in other professions (MD, ND, DC, PT) who perform acupuncture. At PIHMA, Acupuncturists can take a class or two at a time to work towards their doctoral degree.  With only 5 classes and 135 specific doctoral clinic hours for recent graduates, it is a worthwhile path to take to obtain the additional degree. Those who have graduated earlier and who may not meet all the current hour or course requirements for the 2019 degree may be able to challenge those courses and hours, or enjoy sitting in an additional class or two.

To enter the Master’s, one would need 60 semester college credits (2 years) of undergraduate education, while 90 semester credits (3 years of undergraduate education) is required to enter the professional doctorate. Both of these programs are similar with the exception that more hours are required for the D.Ac., with courses specializing in collaborative/integrative medicine, professional development, research, and advanced diagnosis. A special clinical component in collaborative care is also required.

Each case is different and interested applicants are encouraged to talk to Lisa Dunn in Admissions at or 602-274-1885

Recently, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine(ACAOM)  mandated that all of the colleges across the United States streamline the naming of their degrees so they are all either Master of Acupuncture (MAc.) or professional Doctor of Acupuncture (D.Ac.) to better align the profession. Herbal training will become confined to a Master of Chinese Herbal Medicine (MCHM) that can be taken concurrently with the Masters of Acupuncture or Doctor of Acupuncture.  At this time, master’s level is the requirement for licensing in nearly all states, and many states require the addition of herbs. It will take time for states to change their regulations to match ACAOM.  Of note, the post-graduate clinical Doctorate of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (DAOM), open to those already with a master’s or professional doctorate, will remain the same. So in accordance with ACAOM regulations, PIHMA will be revamping its degree titles to comply for students and graduates going forward. PIHMA will eliminate its Doctor of Acupuncture with Specialization in Herbal Medicine (DACHM) and instead create and offer the required Master’sof Chinese Herbal Medicine (MCHM). 

PIHMA, which stands for the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture, was established in 1996 and was the first school to start offering classes in Arizona. Working with ASAOM in Tucson, we collaborated to establish the Arizona licensing law for acupuncturists. Since then, we have graduated over 300 students who have traveled far and away to practice. 

PIHMA’s core values set the tone for our college and help guide our mission to create acupuncturists who meet national standards and heal others: • Serve Compassionately • Act with Integrity • Be Innovative • Grow Thoughtfully • Practice Gratitude • Commit to Excellence • Respect the Individual • Build Community • Cultivate Success. In addition to building our community to revolve around these core values, we regularly seek acupuncturists and others in the community to join us as faculty to teach or supervise in clinic or to take on an observer in their own clinic. With the addition of our Doctoral program, we are now seeking additional doctoral faculty. 

We also reach out to our broader community in the state and nation through our Center for Professional Education & Development (CPED). PIHMA’s CPED offers continuing education and training in innovative and diverse topics such as Japanese Acupuncture, Trigger Point Needling, Ayurveda, Facial Rejuvenation, Battlefield Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and more. In particular, it is critical to ensure that acupuncturists fully train in and understand the unique aspects of Trigger Point Acupuncture (aka Dry Needling by PTs) to protect our profession and compete effectively in the marketplace. Our national associations have recently fought to establish Trigger Point Acupuncture for us and we need to step up and own it. Please consider our upcoming class June 15-16 for Introduction to Trigger Point Acupuncture and Advanced Shoulder Treatment.

For more information about our doctoral programs, the advanced standing transition doctorate track for acupuncturists, or our continuing education programs go to We are honored to serve our community to transform lives and heal others. 

Catherine Niemiec, JD, L. Ac.
Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture 

Copyright © 2019, Asian Medicine Acupuncturists of Arizona, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
9301 E Shea Blvd, Suite 118

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Asian Medicine Acupuncturists of Arizona · 9301 E Shea Blvd · Ste 118 · Scottsdale, AZ 85260 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp