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Thank You ACA!

John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac.

Thirty years ago I was one of the staunchest supporters of the American Chiropractic Association. In fact one of our early professional journals used to print a list of the doctors who had the highest referrals to the membership of the ACA. My name appeared in the number three spot on several occasions just behind Dr. Joseph Janse and Dr. James W. Parker. Both names anyone in chiropractic will recognize as legends of the profession.

Following President Richard Nixon's 1972 historic trip to The Peoples Republic of China, interest in acupuncture grew to unprecedented demands. My own and many of my colleagues personal practices grew to include acupuncture as a vital part of our chiropractic practices. Unfortunately, many became including myself, became quite disenchanted with the ACA's apparent lack of interest in this extremely popular healing modality. Even as thousands of D.C.'s began to form an interest in acupuncture and Post Graduate programs were being offered by at least five of our chiropractic colleges with the earliest beginning in 1972, the ACA would take no position regarding acupuncture.

Numerous attempts to establish a "Council on Acupuncture" met with deaf ears even though there were hundreds of doctors who wanted the ACA to take acupuncture into its domain as it had nutrition, physiotherapy and soon, sports injuries.

Reluctantly I felt compelled to drop my membership in the ACA, as they apparently did not reflect what I felt was the dynamic future of the profession. On multiple occasions over fifteen years following acupuncture's introduction into the US, I would alert the ACA through a variety of means advising them there were currently more acupuncture colleges in just three of our United States than there are chiropractic colleges in the world. I felt it was imperative the ACA adopt a policy toward acupuncture at the national level. Again it was met with deaf ears.

As the acupuncture profession grew to include national certification and the formation of several professional organizations, its distaste for doctors of chiropractic utilizing acupuncture grew as well, even though D.C.'s had utilized acupuncture since its inception in this country. The ACA still would only show its back to the profession even though as many as an estimated 25% of the entire profession had taken post graduate work and were routinely using the principles of acupuncture in their practices. .

Numerous State Boards around the country have been forced to take a position on acupuncture with more than half allowing for D.C.'s to practice acupuncture as part of their scope of practice. All States require additional training and/or certification through the Post Graduate Departments of the nine chiropractic colleges currently teaching Acupuncture/Meridian Therapy. I can't help but wonder of the remaining States that do not allow acupuncture, would they have accepted its use if the ACA had endorsed acupuncture for the profession.

For close to thirty years now, I have sat on the sidelines watching this profession develop thru the undying efforts of incredibly dedicated individuals who run our largest national Association. The sacrifices they have made to insure the growth and place this profession has achieved legislatively is humbling to say the least. Even though I have not been a part of the ACA for over a quarter of a century, other than for the acupuncture issue, they have always had my utmost respect.

Even though the ACA has solicited my membership in a variety of ways over the years, it was not until a few weeks ago a letter came across my desk as an appeal to membership from president Dr. Darryl Wills. He laid out the most common sense reasons for belonging to the ACA I have ever heard. In short, he pointed out the national Associations representing Physical Therapy, Osteopathy, Medicine and a host of others who continually fight our every move, are huge compared to our comparatively tiny association. The amount of finances available to each of these Associations compared to the ACA is frightening. It came to light for me how much we have accomplished as a profession in the wake of gigantic organized overwhelming opposition. To make matters worse we now even have the Acupuncture Associations attacking us on every front in matters of legislation. Frankly I wondered how in the world we have even survived. If it had not been for the few driven doctors who represent us, I'm afraid this profession would have been history years ago.

Dr. Wills letter was brilliant. To take a person like me who has purposely boycotted the ACA for all of these years and make me want to roll up my sleeves and belong may be one of the toughest sells in the country. If the ACA and Dr. Wills can change my mind and make me want to belong, I can hardly imagine what this leadership can do at the legislative level in some of our biggest challenges we are currently faced. After reading Dr. Wills letter, I told my office manager to write a check for $600. as I had decided to join the ACA. I figured for less than $2.00 a day it was well worth it.

It's absolutely amazing to me how the universe works. The following day after I had made my decision to join the ACA, I received an E-Mail from the ACA Council on Physiological Therapeutics and Rehabilitation inviting me to participate in a special meeting to be held at the ACA Annual Governors meeting discussing the formation of an ACA sponsored and endorsed "College of Acupuncture" under the umbrella of that Council and chaired by Dr. Kim Christensen. Even though I was not a member of the ACA I was specifically invited to participate in this historic conference along with the Post Graduate Departments of the Chiropractic Colleges. I attended representing myself as well as the Post Graduate Department of New York Chiropractic College.

Also in attendance was Dr. Richard Yennie representing Texas Chiropractic College, Dr Jon and Joy Sunderlage of National University of Health Sciences, Dr. Ralph Barrale Chairman of the Post Graduate Department of Logan College and Dr Lawrence Beem of Cleveland Chiropractic College Kansas City.

While in attendance at the ACA Annual Governors meeting I personally hand delivered my annual ACA membership to president Dr. Darryl Wills with my most heartfelt "thanks" from myself as well as thousands of D.C.'s for adopting acupuncture into the acceptance and scope of the chiropractic profession.

I've rededicated my self to seeing the formation of this "College of Acupuncture" to be successfully launched within the shortest time possible. It appears to be a gargantuan undertaking however it pales in comparison to what the doctors at the legislative level deal with on a daily basis.

Thanks again ACA! Acupuncture within the chiropractic profession is about to enter into an entirely new dimension. Wait until you hear about what is developing concerning National Certification in Acupuncture for the Chiropractic profession.

Incidentally, if you are not a member of ACA it is definitely time. If you need details, drop me a line at DrAmaro@IAMA.edu


John A. Amaro D.C.,FIAMA, Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM)
Box 1003 Carefree, Arizona
DrAmaro@IAMA.edu