A Publication of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
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Summer 2013

AOM Day Celebrations: 2013- The Year of the Black Water Snake


The NCCAOM® is continually seeking ways to help its constituents promote the AOM profession. We are making “steady progress” in that regard.  An excellent vehicle to bring to light the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in all of its facets is to promote AOM Day, celebrated this year on Thursday, October 24th across the country.

In order to provide information to the public about AOM Day events in their area, the NCCAOM is partnering with organizations and schools interested in reaching a broader base of interested parties. Below is a submission form which you can send to the editor of the NCCAOM’s E-News You Can Use newsletter. The NCCAOM will post the details of your event, based on your submission, on the AOM Day website (currently under re-design) this Fall.

The NCCAOM’s AOM Day website serves as a resource for Diplomates and others to organize participation in an event, post scheduled events, and educate the public about the AOM profession through published articles. The NCCAOM also welcomes informational submissions which will be considered for publication on the AOM Day website. 

Every year, the NCCAOM issues a nation-wide press release (available on the AOM Day website) to promote acupuncture and Oriental medicine and AOM Day. Therefore, your event will also be promoted via the press release to the media and the public. 

Past AOM Day celebrations have included free classes; health screenings, acupuncture demonstrations; and mini "treatments," including massage, medical qigong, tongue and pulse diagnosis, and ear acupressure.  Other seminars made available to attendees provide an opportunity to make and take home their own herbal medicinals. Practitioners have also offered reduced costs for the day on treatments or in some cases, free treatments. The NCCAOM is happy to publish your event.  Simply complete the attached  AOM Day Event Submission Form .

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MINDBODY Acquires Jill's List



Earlier this year, the NCCAOM announced a new benefit for NCCAOM Diplomates to promote their practice on Jill’s List, a "self-health platform" that consumers and employees use to access Integrative Healthcare practitioners and services nationwide. We are now pleased to announce that Jill's List is now a MINDBODY company. This platform gives MINDBODY a solution that companies can use as part of their HR wellness programs, to provide employees with a searchable platform for finding Integrative Healthcare practitioners nearby. The platform can also be used by physicians to refer patients to NCCAOM Diplomates and other certified Integrative Healthcare practitioners for treatment. As a result, NCCAOM Diplomates who are signed up on the Jill’s List Directory will have more exposure to promote their practice.

Jill Shah, CEO of Jill’s List, decided to merge with MINDBODY because she knew it would help fulfill the mission of Jill’s List much more quickly than could be done alone.  With the acquisition, Jill joins the MINDBODY staff as Senior Vice President of the company’s corporate wellness division. MINDBODY’s founders , Rick Stollmeyer (CEO) and Bob Murphy (COO and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer), see great potential in using  Integrative Healthcare to help people everywhere get, be, and stay healthy.

On August 12,  Jill’s List was renamed MINDBODY Exchange and includes a new website: www.mindbodyexchange.com . Over time, MINDBODY Exchange will include several new enhancements, but the mission, goals and intentions for practitioners will remain the same.

Join us on August 28th at 6:00 pm (ET) to learn more about MINDBODY Exchange and how the Exchange can:

  • Drive more business to your practice
  • Track and demonstrate the impact of Integrative Healthcare
  • Advance a collaborative approach between doctors, patients, and practitioners


Jill Shah

Senior Vice President of Corporate Wellness, MINDBODY

Jill Shah, former founder of Jill’s List, will also review the exciting benefits MINDBODY brings to the original Jill’s List platform, as well as the various benefits the company’s wellness software offers practitioners.

Click here to register today!

MINDBODY Exchange Webinar

Wednesday, August 28

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  (EST)

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Promoting National Standards through Advocacy: NCCAOM Working For and With You


According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, certification is “a process in which an individual, an institution, or an educational program is evaluated and recognized as meeting certain predetermined standards.” This confirmation usually is provided by conducting some form of external review, assessment or audit. A “professional certification” is awarded to a person who is certified to perform a particular job or occupational role. All NCCAOM Diplomates have met a national standard when they become certified. Commonly provided by a nongovernmental agency, such as the NCCAOM, a professional certification is a credential earned by an individual to ensure that the standards met are those necessary for safe and ethical practice of the profession or service. Therefore, the mission of a certification organization is frequently public safety or consumer safety. The certification organization must ensure its mission is fulfilled through its activities and services provided. NCCAOM’s mission is to “establish, assess and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public”. 

The core functions of the NCCAOM are to qualify that candidates for the certification exams have acquired certain knowledge, skills and abilities based on education and training; and to develop and deliver psychometrically sound, valid and reliable exams to assess the candidate’s entry-level competency to practice as an acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) professional. The NCCAOM serves as the gatekeeper for consumers by requiring that all certified NCCAOM practitioners for certification have met the educational and training requirements as determined by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

To fulfill its core functions, the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff develop strategic goals that promote its national standards for initial certification and recertification. The NCCAOM works with state regulatory agencies to require national standards through the licensure process. This goal directly meets NCCAOM’s mission of public safety. In addition the NCCAOM works to protect the public through its partnerships with states to advance NCCAOM certification and the AOM profession for the consumers of their state. The NCCAOM will step in to raise concerns and possibly impede regulation from passing when other healthcare professionals (that have not met the above educational, training and assessment requirements) try to pass regulation to allow their profession to practice acupuncture.

The role of the professional membership association, such as the American Acupuncture Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), is to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest. Although the NCCAOM and AAAOM often work collaboratively on advancing the AOM profession, especially in the arena of state relations, the AAAOM represents the profession whereas the NCCAOM represents the public or consumers and its Diplomates.  As a result, the NCCAOM always focuses on whether an activity meets its mission of public safety before it engages in the activity. This is why it is important to note that as a certification entity, NCCAOM must tie any type of advocacy (legislative affairs, marketing and public relations) to its mission of public safety and access of Diplomates to the consumers. 

While being cognizant of its mission, NCCAOM continues to works tirelessly on behalf of its Diplomates to promote certification and the AOM profession on the state and federal level. Over the past years, NCCAOM has proactively worked with state association leaders, individual practitioners, and regulatory agency officials to advance the practice of AOM through regulation changes or additions. Below are some of the activities that the NCCAOM staff has and will continue to provide to advocate on behalf of NCCAOM Diplomates. The following are state relations activities undertaken by the NCCAOM in 2011: 

  • Provided testimony on NCCAOM certification standards and the safe practice of AOM by NCCAOM Diplomates to over 25 state AOM regulatory boards and legislative bodies.
  • Written letters of support for legislation that promotes AOM.
  • Provided up-to-date information to state regulatory agencies, legislative members and committees, state association leaders and members of the media on national and international use of NCCAOM examinations and certifications.
  • Provided demographic and clinical practice information on AOM practitioners to federal agencies to include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Department of the Navy and Army.
  • NCCAOM recently presented a webinar to state regulatory agency staff that highlighted activities which support states in the advancement of AOM and the protection of consumers from the unsafe practice of AOM by unqualified practitioners. To view this informative webinar, please visit the NCCAOM website at http://www.nccaom.org/nccaom-webinars-posted.

Some of the examples of support that the NCCAOM has given to states over the past year include:   

-   Providing ten states with information on education and standards of NCCAOM certified Diplomates to address the practice of dry needling by physical therapists. The NCCAOM has written letters and recently prepared a fact sheet to help states that are dealing with this issue.

-   The NCCAOM staff has also assisted three states that are in the process of adding Chinese herbology to their scope of practice and/or adding the requirement of Chinese Herbology or Oriental Medicine Certification.

-    As one of its most important priorities, the NCCAOM is continually committed to working with state associations or regulators in states that do not have regulation for the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. These states are Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

If your state is facing a challenging issue or needs the support of the NCCAOM to advance the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, please contact stategov@thenccaom.org.

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Welcome New NCCAOM Commissioners


At its February meeting of the Board of Commissioners, the NCCAOM selected Dr. Zonglan Xu and Dr. Dennis Moseman as its newest Commissioners. Both Xu and Moseman have a long history of service as volunteers to the NCCAOM and to the acupuncture and Oriental medicine community and we are pleased to introduce them to you here.

Zonglan Xu Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L. Ac., MD (China)

Zonglan Xu is a graduate of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Jinan, Shandong, China.

Dr. Xu began volunteering for the NCCAOM in the mid-1990s, initially as a point location examiner and item writer for Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and was a part of the team that developed the first Chinese Herbology exam for NCCAOM. Later she served as a subject matter expert on the Acupuncture and Point Location Exam Development Committee. Xu also served on the 2012-2013 Job Analysis Blue Ribbon Panel.

After graduating in 1982 with training in the integrated medical environment in China with specialization in traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Herbology, Dr. Xu has been an educator and practitioner of Oriental Medicine in China and the U.S. and an NCCAOM Diplomate and Florida licensed acupuncturist since 1990. Due to her decades of quality teaching/practicing experiences and enthusiasm for her patients and the AOM profession, she was appointed to the Florida Board of Acupuncture by the Governor of Florida in 2002 and served eight years including a position as Chair of the Board from 2004 to 2008.

Dr. Xu has numerous publications on Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in both China and the U.S. Her Pocket Handbooks on Chinese Herbology have received worldwide praise by practitioners and students alike. Besides dedicating herself to TCM education, she has been working in the government sponsored Acupuncture Detoxification Program and maintains her active private practice in South Miami. She is also actively involved in the community to promote accessibility of Chinese culture. Dr. Xu serves as Vice President for the Florida Acupuncture Association and has contributed countless hours to build and maintain the high standards for the profession as well as for the protection and benefit of public safety.

Dr. Xu currently serves on the NCCAOM Chinese Herbology Exam Development Committee (CH EDC) as a volunteer and on the Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee (PEDC), the Eligibility Committee and the JTA Blue Ribbon Panel in addition to her appointment as Commissioner.

Dennis Moseman, D.C., M.S., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac.

Dennis Moseman is a graduate of Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, Georgia where he received a Doctorate in Chiropractic in 1992.
Additionally, he graduated from the New York College of Health Professions in Syosset, New York in 1999, earning a Master's Degree in Acupuncture. Upon graduation he became a Licensed Acupuncturist in New York State, and an NCCAOM® Diplomate of Acupuncture.

Dr. Moseman's teaching experience started in 1994 teaching the biomedical sciences to students in AOM Colleges. During this time and since receiving his Masters in Acupuncture, he has taught in various capacities at several New York area AOM colleges. He has taught both biomedical as well as acupuncture related courses for over a decade. Dr. Moseman also began working as a college administrator in 2002 and he has served in various administrative levels including Chair of Health Sciences at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Dean of the Graduate School of Oriental Medicine at New York College of Health Professions. In 2007, Dr. Moseman became the Dean of Studies at Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City and currently holds this position.

Dr. Moseman recently served as a member of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s (ACAOM) first Professional Doctoral Task force, which was responsible with finalizing the standards to be adopted for the recently approved First Professional Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Dr. Moseman began his work with the NCCAOM in 2007 where he volunteered on the Biomedicine Exam Development Committee and is currently the Chair of the Biomedicine Exam Development Committee (EDC). In addition to the Biomedicine EDC he also serves on the Finance/ Audit Committee, the Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee (PEDC) and the Council of Examination Committee Chairs (CECC). Dr. Moseman recently completed his participation on the 2012-2013 Job analysis Blue Ribbon Panel.

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Spotlight on the Recertification Department: How We Serve you


Certification Services’ main responsibility is to help Diplomates and candidates maneuver through the certification and recertification processes.   During the last few years, NCCAOM has concentrated on providing improved service to its constituency and all indications show that customer service satisfaction has steadily improved.  As most communication from NCCAOM is done through email, it is very important that accurate email contact for our Diplomates and candidates be on file with the NCCAOM

Here are some ways the NCCAOM Certification Services Team serves you:

Candidates for Certification

  • Sends Candidate Reminders of Application Expiration:  An application for certification is valid for four (4) years.  After four years, if all requirements are not met, the application will expire and the candidate must re-apply in order to complete outstanding requirements.  The certification services team emails reminders to all candidates to warn of impending application expiration. 
  • Encourages Candidates to Complete the Certification Process: National certification is of great value to the licensed acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner as it provides many benefits and opportunities such as applying for licensure in almost every state that regulates acupuncture. Therefore, it is critical for all candidates to complete every requirement to finalize the certification process.  Some requirements for certification are sometimes overlooked by candidates. The certification services team emails information to candidates informing them of the outstanding requirements to complete the certification process.
  • Secures Candidates’ Outstanding Documents:  A Clean Needle Technique (CNT) verification (acupuncture and Oriental medicine certification only) and a graduation transcript are documents required for certification.  Candidates often complete the exams and fail to submit the required documents to finalize certification. The certification services team regularly contacts candidates regarding outstanding document requirements so that once the exams are completed all information will be on file in order for certification to be awarded. 

 Certified Diplomates

  • Sends Diplomates Early Renewal Notices: One way that NCCAOM continues to service Diplomates is to contact them earlier and more often regarding certification renewal through mailed notices.  The certification services team mails renewal notices at six months, 90 days, 60 days and 30 days prior to the certification expiration date; however, many times these notices are returned with “no forwarding address” stamped on the envelope. The NCCAOM then attempts to reach these Diplomates through email in an effort to locate a very mobile constituent base.  Reminder: current contact information should be maintained with the NCCAOM at all times so these reminders can be received in a timely manner.
  • Processes the Diplomates’ Recertification Applications:  During the recertification application review, PDA certificates/documents are matched to NCCAOM requirements for recertification.  If there are outstanding requirements, a member of the certification services team contacts the Diplomate to proactively work toward completing the renewal process.  Once the recertification has been processed Diplomates are sent a confirmation email advising that an ID card and wall certificate will be mailed in 4-6 weeks.

The Certification Services Team, consisting of Sheila Lusis, Connie Heggood and Ameera Ayubi, is constantly working to improve the quality of its service to maneuver the Diplomates and candidates through the process that can often appear to be a daunting task in its complexity.

Through the guidance of the team, the certification and recertification process can be clarified and made easy for everyone. At the NCCAOM, the knowledge and experience in customer service continues to grow so that Diplomates and candidates can receive the highest quality of service that we can offer. It matters to us.

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Background Checks For Applicants


In keeping with NCCAOM’s mission to protect the public and the desire to maintain a high level of professional integrity, NCCAOM will begin to perform background checks for candidates applying for certification and reinstatement of certification.  This new policy will require all applicants to undergo a background screening in order to become eligible for certification and sit for an examination.  These background screenings will only include information regarding criminal history and healthcare licensure status. Information will be obtained from state regulatory officials and public records.  Motor vehicle records, consumer credit reports and other financial information will not be obtained.

As public safety is the mission of the NCCAOM, we must do our due diligence to protect the public as healthcare patients are some of the most vulnerable clients of any sector.  These patients trust practitioners and their staff to keep their information private, follow through with care plans and treat them with respect at all times.  There are several ways for someone of ill intent, to take advantage of a patient, especially in a healthcare setting.  By verifying an applicant’s past, NCCAOM can see if that applicant has a history that would be of concern to those being treated.  Using this information, we may learn about issues that can pose a major risk to the general public. 

A healthcare professional screening can help prevent negative experiences related to patient privacy, theft of property or identity, and a patient’s dignity and safety.  A violation in any of these areas can lead to lawsuits for negligence as well as distrust of the profession.  Individual states have increased laws requiring background screenings in order to keep their communities safe.  By screening applicants prior to testing, we are following one of the basic tenets of healthcare: Do No Harm

Conviction of a crime does not necessarily mean that an applicant will be denied certification or reinstatement.  If the applicant is informed of a disciplinary action based on a criminal history and feels that it is not in line with the laws and NCCAOM regulations,  the applicant has the right to appeal the decision.  Applicants with a criminal conviction or involved in a health-related case with no final disposition can expect a delay in the processing of their application. In most cases, a signed and dated letter from the applicant explaining the case/conviction(s) and copies of court documents will be required to process the application.

The appropriate NCCAOM staff will review each individual case where the applicant has criminal history information.  Decisions will be based on applicable state laws, NCCAOM policies, and a careful review of the documentation by NCCAOM staff and the Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, if applicable.  If you have a criminal history background, and are attempting to begin the certification process, do not be discouraged.   It is important for the applicant to be truthful in all responses. The NCCAOM will carefully examine the information presented, and provide the applicant with a, well researched and impartial determination.

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Diplomate Spotlight: Eric Raymond Buckley, DOM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), L.Ac


NCCAOM Question: Eric, you have recently been appointed to the NCCAOM Recertification Committee. What is your history with the NCCAOM and what spurred you to volunteer to serve?

Answer: I have been a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine since 2009. I became interested in volunteering for the organization because of my work protecting our profession against the proliferation of short courses in Trigger Point Dry Needling (TPDN) being taught outside the profession. I came to realize, deeply, the importance of educational and testing standards for the practice of acupuncture. Short courses in acupuncture, no matter under what name or theories behind their application, are a threat to public safety and erode public confidence in standards of medicine. Our profession developed standards in order to show competence using acupuncture needles to produce a therapeutic effect in the body. A responsible healthcare provider should understand the importance of maintaining high standards. I volunteer for the organization in order to show my respect for those standards. 

Q: You also serve on various committees of the American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM). The Herbal Medicine Committee, the Public Policy Committee and the Inter- Professional Standards Committee. Which of these committees is closest to your heart and why?

A: I came into the medicine because of my love for Chinese herbal medicine. The effective application of herbs in formula is the most exciting branch of our medicine. In my opinion, when utilized by a knowledgeable and skilled practitioner, Chinese herbal medicine is one of the most  effective therapies for the relief of many chronic conditions that western medicine cannot provide. Since I see that many schools of acupuncture and Oriental medicine do not even offer Chinese herbal medicine as part of their program, I find it imperative to highlight their importance to our community. Additionally, certain substances which our practitioners have a long standing history prescribing safely have in recent years been abused and branded as unsafe and are difficult or impossible to obtain. I wish to protect our practitioners' ability to have access to our full pharmacopeia of herbal medicines.        

Q: What is Dry Needling and why should it be a very important issue to certified or licensed acupuncturists?

A: Dry needling is acupuncture. Most acupuncturists refer to this as “Ah-shi” needling. It is the insertion of an acupuncture needle into a tight band of musculature known as a trigger point, or sometimes also a motor point. It is a technique that is spreading like wild-fire through the western medical community to treat myofacial pain syndromes. It is important issue for us to understand because it threatens our rightful position within the spectrum of healthcare providers of this country. Our long and hard-fought battle for recognition and licensure, CNT protocols, establishment of educational and testing standards, AMA defined CPT codes, etc. is being usurped and our profession re-branded by western medical providers, specifically PTs and Chiropractors. The strengths of our medicine is being integrated into the greater western healthcare system without the actual providers who are the best equipped to provide it. They do so by saying that they do not use the larger system of Chinese medicine theory and that it is based in western anatomy, and therefore it is not acupuncture. To anyone who is a Chinese medicine practitioner and knows the countless hours we learn western bio-medicine, this is a fallacious argument at its core. It is only a matter of time that distal treatments will begin to be justified and a wider range of conditions besides pain treated, therefore reinventing the entire medicine under our noses. 

As of today, the AAAOM Inter-Professional Standards committee has determined that Dry Needling has been adopted into the scopes of practice of Physical Therapy by rule in 15 states, by law in 2 states, explicitly prohibited in PT scope by 11 states, and is undetermined in 20 states. It is being challenged successfully in many states that there is an active and aware acupuncture state association, with the help of the AAAOM's committee. If AOM practitioners would like to assist, please support your state and national associations with membership.

One bit of advice I would like to give acupuncturists who feel threatened by dry needling, learn and constantly get better at prescribing herbal medicine!  It sets us apart and broadens a practitioner’s ability to successfully manage patient's complaints.

Q: What can you say about the history of Dry Needling within the medical community?

A: Dry Needling of trigger points is similar to the treatment of pain syndromes developed by Janet Travell where she would insert a hypodermic needle and inject therapeutic substances into trigger points. The term “Dry” needling was conceived because instead of inserting a hollow hypodermic needle and injecting a medication, a solid filiform acupuncture needle is inserted into the painful area and a local twitch response is elicited from the muscle, with no injection of liquids. Canadian physician, Chan Gunn, who is Chinese Malaysian by birth, is widely cited as being the originator of dry deedling. It has more recently been advocated in the physical therapy world by Edo Zylestra and his PT education courses taught through Kinetacore, Jan Dommerholt, DPT and Yun-Tao Ma, PhD, LAc.

Q: You were the Founder of the Christus St. Vincent Integrative Medicine Department in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What    do you envision as the future of Integrative Medicine going forward?

A: I envision Integrative Medicine to be a mufti-disciplinary approach to patient care where the patients goals come first. It is a broad view of healthcare that includes conventional and traditional medicine techniques in it's approach to helping patients achieve their maximum health. It is team based treatment where each provider understands and respects their strengths and limitations towards patient management and refers responsibly within the network of providers. It provides best practice based solutions to the management of chronic and acute health issues that is personable and intelligent. It is ultimately respectful of the humanity of each patient.  This model of health should also be sustainable, made affordable to all patient populations regardless of income, while providing an abundant means of compensation for providers which also does not bankrupt the healthcare system. 

I see Integrative Medicine being incorporated into more hospitals and community based clinics. With the passage of the Patient's Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which contains the non-discrimination clause in Section 2706, we will hopefully be provided more  reimbursement and will receive better recognition for the good care AOM practitioners provide to patients. Integrative Medicine looks to provide for better solutions to chronic conditions, the very conditions that western medicine is seeking answers for. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine providers are natural leaders in this area and we should be prepared to step up to this future challenge.

Editor’s Note: The information contained in the interview is the opinion of Dr. Buckley. For questions concerning the content of this article, please contact Dr. Buckley at ericraymondbuckley@gmail.com.”

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In This Issue
Bullet AOM Day Celebrations: 2013- The Year of the Black Water Snake
Bullet MINDBODY Acquires Jill's List
Bullet Promoting National Standards through Advocacy: NCCAOM Working For and With You
Bullet Welcome New NCCAOM Commissioners
Bullet Spotlight on the Recertification Department: How We Serve you
Bullet Background Checks For Applicants
Bullet Diplomate Spotlight: Eric Raymond Buckley, DOM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM), L.Ac
76 S Laura Street, Suite 1290, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Visit us online at NCCAOM.org.