The Toaster Tour Interviews

Dear AOM School Presidents, Industry Leaders, and Acupuncture Friends:


Toaster of Truth

We would like to interview you on the topic of employment for acupuncturists, on the group blog of the Community Acupuncture Network. 

We have been blogging about jobs for acupuncturists for the past 6 months or so, and the conversation has reached a point where we feel it’s important to include the perspectives of people in positions of authority, leadership, or influence in the acupuncture profession. Many of our blog posts approach the issue of jobs from a humorous perspective, but please know that we are very, very serious about the subject and about the need to have a public conversation.  Our blog receives over 18,000 visits each month, with over 77,000 page views, so the conversation will include a lot of acupuncturists.

We are sending five questions, which you will find below, to a hundred or so people whose responses we are particularly interested in hearing. You are welcome to respond by email, in which case we will post your responses to the questions in an individual blog post. At that point, if you would like to engage with our readers via the comments, you are welcome to do so;  if you don’t have time for this kind of conversation, please just let us know, and we will make a note at the end of the post that you will not be available to respond to comments. Your response is valued regardless. If you would like to answer the questions through an in-person interview, we will try to provide a local contact or at least arrange a phone conversation.

Before reading the questions, you might find it helpful to read the previous blog posts on this theme (which will also explain why toasters are involved):

Our main focus is on the fact that according to the 2008 NCCAOM Job Task Analysis, only 9% of acupuncturists have actual jobs; the rest are self-employed. 60% of those work less than 30 hours a week, though a majority would prefer to work full time. Of that 60%, almost half make less than $20K annually — gross, not net — from their AOM activities. If there are indeed virtually no real jobs for acupuncturists, and if a large proportion of self-employed acupuncturists can expect to earn virtually nothing, it is vitally important that that information be widely available. And so we are making a concerted effort to track down and document the existence of real jobs for acupuncturists.

Here are the questions:

strong>1)  Looking at the recent NCCAOM Job Task Analysis, why do you think there are so few jobs for acupuncturists? What do you think that says about the acupuncture profession?

strong>2) What jobs for acupuncturists do you know of that fit the criteria of The Toaster Tour — real, relevant, and replicable? (See this blog post for an explanation of the criteria: ) Please list the jobs, including the nature of the funding stream that supports them if you know it. We will try to independently verify them, of course; any contact information you have is greatly appreciated.

strong>3) Who do you think is the largest employer of L.Acs in the U.S.? How many jobs does the largest employer provide?

strong>4) In your opinion, what groundwork needs to be done in order for more acupuncturists to have real jobs? Who is responsible for doing that groundwork?

strong>5) The availability of jobs for acupuncturists is a pressing concern because students are now graduating with so much Title IV debt that it is impossible for many of them to start their own businesses, which means more and more graduates are never able to practice acupuncture at all. What do you think is the solution to this problem? And who is responsible for addressing it? 

Thank you for your time. Your response is very important to us.


Jessica Feltz, Board President, Community Acupuncture Network

Lisa Rohleder, Board Member, Community Acupuncture Network

Emailed to:


Academy for 5 Element Acupuncture

Academy of Chinese Culture & Health Sciences


Acupuncture & Massage College

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Association of Minnesota (AOMAM)

Acupuncture and Oriental Medical Association of New Mexico (AOMANM)

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Society of Massachusetts (AOMSM)

Acupuncture Association of Colorado (AAC)

Acupuncture Association of Kansas

Acupuncture Association of Missouri

Acupuncture Association of Rhode Island

Acupuncture Society of New York (ASNY)

Acupuncture Society of Virginia

Acupuncture Society of Virginia (ASVA)

Acupuncture Society of Washington DC

Acupuncture Society of Washington, D.C. (ASDC)


Al Stone

Alabama Association of Oriental Medicine

Alex Tatevian

American Academy of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

American Institute of Alternative Medicine

Annette Mallory Donowa

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Arizona Society of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture (AZSOMA)

Arkansas Association of Oriental Medicine

Asian Institute of Medical Studies

Association for Professional Acupuncture in Pennsylvania

Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine

Bastyr University

Benjamin Dierauf

Bill Mosca

Bob Duggan

Bob Flaws

Bryn Clark

California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA)

Carla Wilson

Catherine Niemic


Cheryl Kim

Chris Powell

College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine at Northwestern Sciences University

Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Connecticut Society of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CSAOM)

Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Regulatory Agencies (CAOMRA)

Craig Twentyman

Cynthia O’Donnell

Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts

David Bock

David Sale

Deborah Lincoln

Deneb Falabella

Dianne Connelly

Dongguk University Los Angeles

Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine

East West College of Natural Medicine

Eastern School of Acupuncture & Traditional Medicine

Elaine Wolf Kamorrow

Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine

Erin Baldt

Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine of NYCC

Five Branches University: Graduate School of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Florida College of Integrative Medicine

Florida State Oriental Medicine Association (FSOMA)

Frank Vitale

Georgia State Oriental Medicine Association (GSOMA)

Ginna Browning

Hawaii OM & Acupuncture Association

Heather Sloan

Honora Wolfe

Hudson Doyle

Idaho Acupuncture Association

Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ILAAOM)

Indiana Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (IAAOM)

Institute of Clinical Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Institute of Taost Education and Acupuncture

James Shinol

Jared West

Jason Bussell

Jason Stein

Jeannie Kang

Jeff Millison

Jennifer Meader-Stone

Jennifer Stone

Jerusha De Groote Stephens

John Paul Liang

John Pirog

John Weeks

Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine

Karen Young

Kelly Sandberg

Kentucky State Acupuncture Association

Kiki Colgan

Kory Ward-Cook

Kris LaPoint

Lorry Davis

Lynn Almloff

Marilyn Allen

Mark Seem

Maryland Acupuncture Society

Matt Bauer

Michael Jabbour

Michael Taromina

Michigan Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAAOM)

Michigan Medical Acupuncture Association

Midwest College of Oriental Medicine

Mimi Tagher

Mina Larson

Mississippi Oriental Medicine Association (MOMA)

MN Board

Montana Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine


Nancy Bilello

National College of Natural Medicine

National Federation of Chinese TCM Organizations (NFCTCMO)

National University of Health Sciences


Nebraska Oriental Medical Association

Nevada Oriental Medicine Association

New England School of Acupuncture

New Hampshire Association for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NHAAOM)

New Jersey Acupuncture Association

New York College of Health Professions

New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

New York State Acupuncture Coalition, Inc. (NYSAC)

North Carolina Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCAAOM)

NY State Acupuncture Coalition

Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM)

Oklahoma Acupuncture Association (OKAA)

Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM)

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine — CA & IL

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine — NY

Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture

Regina Walsh

Rhode Island Society of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Richard Freiberg

Richard Niemtzow

Rosa Schnyer

Samra University of Oriental Medicine

Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine

Sheila Messerschmidt

Skya Abbate

South Baylo University

South Dakota Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association (SDAOMA)

Southern California University

Southern California University of Health Sciences

Southwest Acupuncture College — Albuquerque

Southwest Acupuncture College — CO

Southwest Acupuncture College — Santa Fe

Steve Schram

Steven Mavros

Steven Stumpf

Swedish Institute: School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Tai Sophia

Tennessee Acupuncture Council

Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (TAAOM)

Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Association of Alaska

The Connecticut Holistic Health Association (CHHA)

The Maine Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAAOM)

Tim Chapman

Tracy Soltesz

Tri-State College of Acupuncture

United California Practitioners of Chinese Medicine

United California Practitioners of Chinese Medicine (UCPCM)

University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute

University of East-West Medicine

Utah Acupuncture Association

Valerie Hobbs

Vermont Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (VAAOM)

Washington Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association (WAOMA)

Washington State Acupuncture Association

Will Morris

William Goding

Wisconsin Society of Certified Acupuncturists, Inc. (WISCA)

Won Institute of Graduate Studies

World Medicine Institute

Wu Hsing Tao School

Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Yvonne van Eijk

Zev Myerowitz

Z’ev Rosenberg

Jessica Feltz
Author: Jessica Feltz

<p> I learned about Community Acupuncture while studying at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine (MCOM) in the Spring of 2006 when Lisa Rohleder's first article about her clinic appeared in Acupuncture Today. Coming from a middle-class background myself, I was the only student in my acupuncture class to have not experienced the healing benefits of this medicine prior to beginning studies at MCOM. I couldn't afford it. And my family couldn't understand what I was doing by investing in an education that they didn't perceive to be financially sustainable. </p> <p> The Community Acupuncture model is a perfect fit for me, balancing social justice and taoist simplicity with the patient's innate ability to heal him/herself (with a few gentle nudges from strategically placed needles). I am grateful every day to have found CAN and the love it brings into my life. I want to share that joy by spreading the message about how we can create a new health care experience in our communities through each of our very small efforts...and how those very small efforts can in turn change the world. </p> I enjoy my two sons, my 4 cats, and big stacks of books.  I own and operate...

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  1. This guy should be easy to reach!

    “Hecurrently serves as a Commissioner on the AccreditationCommission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicineas well as serving on the NCCAOM Job Task Forceand the AAAOM Herbal Medicine Committee TaskForce.  Hecontinues to be active with the CCAOM after stepping off the Executive Committee,most recently as Vice-President of the Council.”

    i’d love to hear what he’d say, and there are tons of CAPs nearby, many of them graduated from his program at NWHSU… the one i dropped out of…

  2. Actually:

    as I found with quite a number of administrator-acupuncturists, tracking an email address for somebody who has no website for their acupuncture practice is quite difficult.  It also begs the question: do they not have websites for their practices because they do not in fact have practices?  Is their sole source of income as an acupuncturist derived from pushing papers insteasd of poking needles??

    (Fortunately, he has a Facebook account.  I PM’d it to him, Macey.)

  3. Niiice.

    Your resourcefulness is admirable.  I’ve never seen the guy hold a needle, so maybe he knows what scam he’s allegedly perpetrating upon the students all too well…

  4. Good work!

    Very interesting! Thank you all. You need to include Pat Culliton on yr list – she was one of the 1st acup in the country hired (Hennepin Co. Hospital, Minneapolis), & has hired 50 (??) over the years, at first most in detox work, now clinic work (granted its been downsizing). My pc is overheated, like the rest of us in the midwest, so will send her email & Mark McKenzie’s manana. Go Toaster Go!

    Deah Kinion, L. Ac.
    (507) 990-3299http://www.abundant-chi.com

  5. having websites

    Just a comment about the website, ot lack thereof, issue.  My first thought is it has nothing to do with whether or not they do have practices.

    I started practicing in the late eighties and just got around to creating a website last year.  Long overdue, I admit.

    We may not have websites for any of these reasons: 1. We have decent word-of-mouth practices and don’t think we need one.  2. We are a little techn-phobic about computer stuff.  3. It’s just another thing to do.  4. We balance the cost of a website vs what we think it will do for us and don’t bother.  5. We just never get around to it.  In my case it was #1 & #5.

    As DIY websites become easier through venues like wordpress and Content5, and templates are more available through these and independant template companies, we’ll see more and more acupuncturists’ websites popping up.

    While there are those who don’t have a website because they don’t really practice, there are plenty of others who DO have websites but don’t practice much or aren’t licensed.  The quality of the website doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the practitioner – although in my case I hope it does, of course 🙂

    (, in case anyone’s interested.)