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Oct 5, 2018 8:15:00 AM | By: Sarah Montesa

A Trip to the Midwest Acupuncture Symposium

One of the awesome things about living around Chicago and having a compulsion that requires you to always be learning new things is that there are a ton of seminars that come to town and many offer discounted admission to students.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get a volunteer position at the Midwest Acupuncture Symposium, and for just a little bit of work, I was able to attend the conference for free. The Midwest Acupuncture Symposium is an annual conference put on by the Council of Chiropractic Acupuncture (CCA), an organization that works to improve the proficiency and education standards of chiropractic acupuncturist.

What are Chiropractic Acupuncturists you might ask? They are chiropractors who have completed additional course work, which allows them to practice acupuncture in the state where they are licensed. In the state of Illinois, a chiropractor can practice utilizing acupuncture with only 100 hours of additional training. This is different than a licensed acupuncturist who completed a master’s degree in the subject matter. After learning all that I have so far in the master's program, and seeing how far I still have to go to be what I would consider "good," I feel like it's difficult to imagine that a 20-week course is enough to use acupuncture effectively.


The American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture seems to have a similar opinion. They created a diplomate program that provides further education requiring 300 hours of acupuncture training and testing to ensure that the chiropractors that choose to go this route are capable of providing a higher standard of care.

The new president of the organization, Dr. Gary M. Estadt, spoke at the conference about how having a specialty, diplomate status, has allowed him to get on staff at a hospital in his home state of Ohio, opening up a huge referral network and lots of opportunities to work with different types of health care providers. Post-graduate education can open doors. If acupuncture isn’t your thing, there are different paths that you can take; there are diplomates to be earned in orthopedics, internal medicine, neurology, and many more.

As far as the symposium goes, it’s an opportunity for those already licensed to pick up 12 CEUs. Going there as a student left me recharged and excited to learn more. I was able to attend last year as well, and the speakers have been great. This year I was excited to learn more about using the sinew channels to treat musculoskeletal conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Sinew Channels are viewed as conduits of Wei Qi. I like to think of Wei Qi as the energetic force behind the immune system flowing within the muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and smooth muscles of the gut.

The speaker at the conference even referred to Wei Qi in the GI tract as being the same thing as the microbiome; I feel like I need to look into this some more. But I digress, so back to the technique. Part of determining which of the sinew channels required treatment focused on finding the movement patterns that the patient had the most difficulty completing. For example, if the patient had trouble with rotational movements, then the gallbladder sinew would be treated. This treatment style is not about chasing the pain, even though the patient may report that pain is resolved after treatment, addressing and restoring function was the primary concern. The technique was different than anything that I have learned up until this point, but it really seemed to lend itself well to the chiropractic practitioner.

Would you like more information on earning a diplomate in acupuncture? Or, maybe just some info on upcoming conferences? Check out their site here for more information: http://councilofchiropracticacupuncture.org/index.html

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