Celebrating AOM Day in Wisconsin
By Louis Jin

Ancient Therapy + Modern Medicine = Healthier Wisconsin!
     - Celebrating October 24th, 2005, 2nd Annual “AOM Day” in WI


On this coming Monday, look around, while some people may still be singing their typical blues, chances are many others will beg to differ and flock to local clinics or health centers to get healthy with pins and needles, it is because October 24th is the 2nd annual “Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) Day” celebrated here in WI. Last year, per request of local AOM practitioners, both Governor Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued proclamations and commenced the observance of AOM Day to all citizens across the state and throughout the city of Milwaukee. The so-called AOM Day was initially created in 2002 as part of its national campaign mission to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of AOM. Many of AOM associations and practitioners all across the country were unified in that mission to showcase the profession to the public. With the official proclamations last year, WI became the sixth state in U.S. to officially declare a day after the AOM profession. Convinced that the benefits of AOM must be further cascaded to the entire Southeastern WI area and its local communities, Dr. Guan-Yuan Jin, L.Ac, president of IIHMED, a non–profit AOM research and education organization based in Milwaukee, played a leading role in proactively reaching out to the public about AOM and its vast health benefits. Besides his busy clinical and lecturing duties, he also found time to write several authoritative AOM texts such as “Self-Healing with Chinese Medicine” and “Clinical Reflexology of Acupuncture”, and with his latest one titled “Contemporary Medical Acupuncture” by Springer due to be released to bookstores everywhere in the near future. To follow suit with other AOM organizations, IIHMED also sponsored several lectures at local colleges, public libraries and health fairs focusing on AOM and its indications to the public.

In the past year, more and more Americans including Wisconsin residents have gradually noticed the benefits of AOM by just following everyday news on newspapers or the Internet. According to a national survey by NCCAM, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 1/3 of U.S. adults use some form of AOM in the largest survey of its kind in the U.S. Another similar national survey found that approximately one in ten U.S. adults had received acupuncture at least one time with good results. These studies and others like them clearly demonstrate that AOM is increasingly becoming an important health alternative for patients and even their doctors who are responsible for caring them. Many people praise that AOM often have better results with less or no side effects. 

As expected, 2005 was a busy year for AOM, and full of bustling news that raised a keen level of interest of AOM in the public eye. In January, a landmark study by Univ. of Maryland Center Integrative Medicine (UMCIM) and NIH has showed acupuncture can provide pain relief and improves function for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and serves as an effective complement to conventional care. The study is the largest Phase III clinical trial of its kind. In July, it was reported that AOM is finding ways into the curricula of medical schools across many universities. At Univ. of Pennsylvania (UPenn), doctors are working with an AOM school to teach medical students about AOM and other holistic approaches that are increasingly popular with the public but largely exist outside the realm of conventional medicine. Currently, a number of universities besides UPenn are also beginning to initiate their own AOM programs or are working with outside AOM consultants, (e.g medical schools of Georgetown Univ. and Tufts Univ.).  In September, a Univ. of North Carolina study showed that acupuncture is effective in combating chronic daily headaches, sometime even better than taking medications, there; researchers used acupuncture, along with conventional medical treatment, on a group of patients with chronic daily headaches. The results were compared to patients who received conventional medical therapy alone and found that acupuncture was clearly helpful for those with acupuncture than those without acupuncture.  And just this week, it was reported that a new $10 million federal grant was awarded to UMCIM to build two more new centers to study AOM. Those funds will be used to study acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in pain relief, and to form an international collaboration with Chinese scientists to examine methods in treating bowel disorders.

No doubt, with the trend of AOM climbing ever higher, many famous Hollywood celebrities are also turning to this ancient practice for help, either for anti-aging or facial rejuvenation purposes or simply to aid treatment of serious ills. They include the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Cher, and Kate Moss; most recently Kylie Minogue began seeing a renowned AOM doctor in her battle against breast cancer. For many years, athletes and sports professionals use AOM to help rehabilitate from serious injuries, such as the case for Larry Walker of the St. Louis Cardinals or Allan Houston of the New York Knicks, both had acupuncture for their nagging injuries over the years, while others choose AOM to enhance their performance or to prolong their careers. Here in Milwaukee, many world-class sports athletes such as Bonnie Blair (Speed-Skating), BJ Surhoff (Baseball), Joe Panos (Football), Jon McGlocklin (Basketball), Morgan Hamm (Gymnastics) and Scott “Z-Man” Zampach (Motorcycle Racing) took a similar approach in getting healthy, and choose to take AOM care under Dr. Jin at Ace Acupuncture Clinic in Milwaukee, with much success.

Back here in Milwaukee and WI, although acupuncture has been officially legislated in the badger state since the 1990, up until now, many Wisconsinites are still somewhat unfamiliar with this ancient therapy and its benefits, especially how it works against intractable ills such as cancer and strokes where the conventional medicine are simply unable to help. However, with efforts from the local AOM communities, for the first time in many years, AOM are starting to make headlines here closer to home. In 2005, various local health fairs, radio shows, natural health newspapers, magazines, and other publications sprung like bamboo shoots after rain. In May, several administrators and practitioners from Chinese schools of AOM visited the Medical College of WI and met with its president and faculty members. There are increasing interests in establishing a partnership between the schools and use Milwaukee as a hub for AOM education, research, and practice for medical students. From an earlier survey, many MCW faculty members and students are interested in either incorporating AOM into their practice or learning more about its usefulness in clinical trials or case studies.

In August, invited by Dr. Jin and IIHMED, Dr. Feng Ling, professor/director of neurosurgery at Beijing Xuanwu Hospital, a world-renowned neurosurgeon from China visited Milwaukee to discuss potential collaborations. During her stay, she visited General Electric Healthcare facilities, MCW and IIHMED. One international collaborative plan discussed is to fully integrating AOM into the conventional medicine, and a meeting in that regard is scheduled to be held in December 2005 at Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing where Dr. Jin, representing IIHMED is invited to present a keynote speech on Integrative Medicine. Dr. Jin will also visit Guangzhou as he is being invited to serve as honorary professor of Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the oldest and best TCM schools in the world.

Ahh…beautiful WI fall is upon us, colorful leaves, crisp cool October air, it is indeed a time to celebrate, and what’s best to celebrate than being able to help bring health to the whole state with needles and pins. Health-conscious people, let’s unite and get ready to celebrate the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day, once again!

Tai-Chi Day in 2009