A.M.A.B Association of Medical Acupuncturists of Bologna

logo provaA.M.A.B. (Association of Medical Acupuncturists of Bologna)was legally established in Bologna in 1986 to create an association and a school to provide information, training, organization and scientific update for medical Acupuncturists. What started as a local reality has now become the first association of Acupuncturists in Italy (with almost 600 members) and one of the largest in Europe.Nowadays, many A.M.A.B. members either take part in the activities or are members of various othernational and international institutions, such as the National Health Council, the Regional Observatory for Non-Conventional Medicine, the Committee on Non-Conventional Medicine of the Medical Association of Bologna, the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS), the Pan-European Federation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies (PEFOTS), the University of Bologna and the University of Florence.

Mission
• protectingthe image of professional acupuncturists
• accomplishingintegration among medical acupuncturists, local government and Health Authorities at cultural, operational and institutional level

Main achievement
Recognition of the title of ‘Expert in Acupuncture’ to Medical Doctors who have completed medical school and thorough training in acupuncture as specialty practice.

Milestones
1986
– A teaching training programme in acupuncture started by A.M.A.B. as "Italian-Chinese School of Acupuncture": thescientific approach was combined with professional teaching and Traditional Chinese Medicine integrated into Western Medical Practice.

1987 –First annual International Congress of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine:now, in its 32nd edition, it is the most important national event and one of the most remarkable at international level.

1987
- An agreement was signed with the Department for Research on Acupuncture in the Treatment of Headaches, Neurological Sciences,University of Bologna, headed by Prof. Peter Cortelli.

1990
- Collaboration agreement signed with Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

1994
- Cooperation agreement signed with the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gansu.

1997
–An agreement was signedwith the Local Health Unit of Bologna to establish an on-site Acupuncture clinic that would provide treatment for rheumatic diseases in the elderly. The clinic is still working and offers free sessions of acupuncture.

1997
- At the Nuclear Medicine Department of the Maggiore Hospital,Bologna, A.M.A.B. carried out an experiment on the behaviour of Technetium Pertechnetate to demonstrate the existence of an underlying structure – called the Meridian by TCM - that would allow the migration of the tracer (1).

1998
- A.M.A.B. and its education branch, the " Italian - Chinese School of Acupuncture", co-founded the GSSS (Group of Study Society and Health), the Matteo Ricci Foundation and the Matteo Ricci school, with offices in Bologna, Bari and Naples, an experience that lasted until 2009.

Since 2001 – A.M.A.B. President and Vice President have been Vice President and General Secretary, respectively, of PEFOTS (Pan European Federation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies).

Since 2004
- A.M.A.B. has played a key role inside the OmncER (Regional Observatory for Non Conventional Medicine in the Emilia Romagna Region), leading to recognition and inclusion of Acupuncture in the Regional Council Resolution no. 741 dated May 26, 2014 (2). A.M.A.B. has alsoparticipated in the process of drafting the “OmncER Recommendations for the practice of Acupuncture in the SSR(Regional Healthcare System) of Emilia Romagna".

Since 2005- A.M.A.B. has taken part in Research Projects started and funded by the OmncER (Regional Observatory for Non Conventional Medicine in the Region Emilia Romagna).The positive results obtained in patients with diseases mentioned as treatable with acupuncture in studies,have led to the Resolution No. 741 dated May 26, 2014 (2)

Since 2006 - A.M.A.B. representatives to the Commission of Non-Conventional Medicine of the Provincial Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna have participated in the process of drafting standard training requirements resulting in the resolutions "Requirements for Operators Practising Non-Conventional Medicine" approved on December 28, 2006 and on July 10, 2007 by the Medical Board Council (3).

2009 - A.M.A.B. - Italian - Chinese School of Acupuncture resumed its teaching activities independently and under the sponsorship of the Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna.

Since 2009 - A.M.A.B. representatives to the Commission of Non-Conventional Medicine of the Provincial Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna have contributed to the preparation of the Non-Conventional Medicine Register for the nine branches of NCM (4) practised by medical doctors and dentists.

Since 2010 – A.M.A.B. President has been Vice President of WFCMS (World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies).

2010–An agreement was signed with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine for teaching and research.

2011 – A.M.A.B. President was appointed Expert of the Superior Health Council for Non-Conventional Medicine and President of FISA, thus playing a key role in establishing requirements and coordinating teaching activities for Education in Acupuncture at the State-Regions Conference held on February 7th,
2013. The Conference established thecriteria and procedures to provide quality teaching, education and best practice in Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy and Homeopathy by medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists (5). The agreement was received by the Region Council resolution No. 679 on May 19th, 2014 (6).

2013 - A.M.A.B. won the project CHETCH - China and Europe Taking Care of Healthcare Solutions, in a partnership programme including prestigious Italian, European, and Chinese universities and institutions (7).

2013 – A.M.A.B. entered the Register of Legal Entities (Act no. 11935 dated September, 26, 2013).

2014 - A.M.A.B. representatives to the OmncER (Regional Observatory on Non Conventional Medicine in the Region Emilia Romagna) participated in the process to provide "Regional recommendations on NCM (Non-Conventional Medicine) for the practice of Acupuncture in the SSR (Regional Healthcare System) of Emilia Romagna" (8).

2014 - Special agreements signed with the University Tor Vergata of Rome and the Person Centred Medicine Association of Bologna within the project CHETCH - China and Europe Taking Care of Healthcare Solutions.

2014 - Special agreement signed with Middlesex University, London (UK) within the project CHETCH - China and Europe Taking Care of Healthcare Solutions.

2015 -The Italian National Institute of Health co-organized with A.M.A.B. the 1st International Symposium on Research in Acupuncture held in Bologna.

2016 - A.M.A.B. was included in the Italian National Research Register (Code 62060UPU).

Since 2017–After signing an agreement with the University of Milan-Bicocca, A.M.A.B. has provided curricular and extra-curricular learning programs for students enrolled in their Master in ‘Health systems, Traditional and Non Conventional Medicine’.

2017 - A.M.A.B. - Italian - Chinese School of Acupuncture received accreditation from the Region Emilia-Romagna (Resolution no. 5050 dated April 5, 2017): qualification awarded on completion of the School programme is valid throughout the national territory and equivalent to the University Master’s Degree in Acupuncture.

2017 - A.M.A.B. - Italian - Chinese School of Acupuncture awarded two scholarships to young researchers within the study ‘A randomized, double-blind,comparative trial to assess the efficacy of traditional acupuncture vsaspecificneedle skin stimulationfor persistent pain in subjects with spinal cord injury” (CE-17017). This project was a collaboration between A.M.A.B. and the Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute S.p.A. (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT03170557?term=montecatone&view=record)

2018 – The Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) is co-organizing with A.M.A.B. the 2nd International Symposium on Research in Acupuncture to be held in Bologna in October 2018.

(1)http://webhtml.agopuntura.org/html/mandorla/rivista/numeri/Marzo_1998/TC99M.htm
(2)The Government of the Region Emilia Romagna issued the guidelines indicating that acupuncture may be provided in facilities of the region using the Fund for Regional Healthcare for "recurrent or chronic musculoskeletal lumbar pain, with or without sciatica," "prevention of headache" and "prophylaxis of migraine headache".
(3) The main issue was to establish criteria for earning the title of Medical Doctor, Expert in Acupuncture (as well as in other Non-Conventional Medicine recognized by the FNOMCeO in 2002). In short, the passage referring to the practice of Acupuncture: "Acupuncture: 4-year diploma issued by the Italian Federation of Acupuncture Societies consisting either of 450 hours of practical training with mentoring and outpatients, or 300 hours of training + either a 3-year clinical practice or entry onto the FISA register of medical acupuncturists. FISA ensures compliance with these parameters in the curricula. Traditional Chinese Medicine: the same parameters apply as set out for acupuncture + a 2-year diploma consisting of 120 hours of specific Chinese Pharmacology.”
(4)NCM: Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy, AnthroposophicMedicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homotoxicology, Osteopathy and Chiropractic.
(5) According to the ratified agreement “the need for certificate quality education and training in acupuncture is highlighted...criteria are identified and minimum requirements set to provide uniform training courses across the entire national territory...professionals engaged in these disciplines acquire qualifications on completion of courses...practice on patients is exclusively reserved to medical doctors and dentists, as it happens in the preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative field.According to the criteria for education and training, the course curriculum, run either by public or private institutions, must be accredited and include a 3-year period of at least 400 hours of theoretical training, plus 100 hours of clinical practice, including at least 50% of practice supervised by a medical doctor experienced in the discipline involved. In addition, a minimum of 100 hours of individual study is required. Regarding the accreditation process of public and private training schools, the Agreement affirms that “accreditation is provided by the Region where the institution is registered and is recognized all over the national territory”
(6) “The legislation pursues the primary goal of protecting the citizens’ health with the aim of ensuring people’s right to freedom of choice of medical doctors and dentists providing care ... respecting professional ethics" and "(the legislation) enables citizens to have access to health professionals with adequate training in the disciplines of Acupuncture ... (Acupuncture is) considered as a method of diagnosis, treatment and prevention that supports the medical establishment, their common target being health promotion and protection, as well as rehabilitation".
(7) CHETCH is a research project financed by the European Commission with the Framework Programme - PEOPLE MARIE CURIE ACTIONS - International Research Staff Exchange Scheme.

(8) Check list of the minimum quality requirements for the practice of Acupuncture divided into the following categories:

- Provider: qualified / accredited acupuncturist, primarily chosen among the employees or contracted partners of the institution, duly licensed and registered as an Expert in Acupuncture by the Provincial Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna;
- Materials: suitable and comfortable environment with adequate ventilation; sterile and disposable needles certified according to EU standards, electro-stimulators;
- Procedures: patient with prescription either from GP or any other medical specialist and diagnosis consistent with the mentioned resolution; initial evaluation to review medical history, clinical examination with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis and treatment planning (number and frequency of treatments); in case of acute pain, first treatment is performed; duration of first treatment: minimum of 30 minutes (60 minutes, if first treatment is included); duration of subsequent treatments: 30 minutes, including at least 20 minutes with needles inserted; after the first treatment, no more than two patients can be treated at the same time; use of an outpatient-dedicated folder, including a patient clinical diary; administration of patient satisfaction questionnaire.