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

logo provaA.M.A.B. Association of Medical Acupuncturists of Bologna, Italy, was legally established in Bologna on November 3rd, 1986.
The principle reason that prompted Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD and Umberto Mazzanti, MD (President and Vice President of the Association, respectively) to create an association and a school with a group of medical doctors and friends (Raffaella Angelini, Maria Giulia Barbieri, Fabio Gentili and Luisa Zoni), was the desire to set up a body providing information, training, organization and scientific update for medical Acupuncturists.
They also wanted to protect the image of professional acupuncturists and try to accomplish integration among medical acupuncturists, local government and Health Authorities at cultural, operational and institutional levels.
When founders first conceived A.M.A.B., they could not imagine what would happen in the years to come. Its success, in particular, changed what had started as a local reality into the first association of Acupuncturists in Italy (with almost 600 members) and one of the largest in Europe. They had both strength and perseverance to bring about those changes leading to have the title of ‘Expert in Acupuncture’ recognized to Medical Doctors after completing medical school and having thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice.
This enterprise dates back to January 14th, 1987, when the first AMAB meeting was held at the headquarters of the Provincial Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna. It was a time when e-mails, Internet and social networks could not even be imagined, and colleagues supporting or interested in Acupuncture were invited through a short announcement appeared in the Bulletin of the Board. That evening, a heavy snowfall paralyzed the city of Bologna and the organizers were almost desperate: who would ever come to a meeting convened by young strangers, facing such hardships and difficulties? The response was incredible: about forty colleagues responded to the invitation, all of the medical acupuncturists in the Province of Bologna were present and among them the senior and most experienced ones.
Maybe, that was the real spark that would make the fire of passion for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine burn until today, without ever abandoning the founders and always providing support.
Nowadays, many A.M.A.B. members either participate in the activities or are members of various different national and international institutions: 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.

A little history

- A.M.A.B. as a training academy in Italy

In 1986, A.M.A.B. started its teaching training programme in acupuncture as "Italian-Chinese School of Acupuncture", following the principles of a scientific approach combined with professional teaching, as well as the integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine into Western Medical Practice, to protect the patient’s health.From then on, many hundreds of excellent professionals have been trained in the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; they are successful in the practice of medicine and get outstanding patient-satisfaction ratings all over Italy.Teaching staff include both Italian and foreign leading experts, such as Leung Kwok Po (France), Bernard Auteroche (France) – our deepest thoughts are with him, Giovanni Maciocia (England), Dan Tan and QiaoWenlei (China).
Since 1987, A.M.A.B. has organized an annual International Congress of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, now at its 32nd edition: it is the most important national event and one of the most important at international level being attended by highly qualified and experienced speakers who represent the most renowned Universities and Colleges of Acupuncture. Moreover, the number of physicians and surgeons attending the 31st editions has reached the number of 14,000.
On account of its great cultural and scientific contribution, the Congress has always received the patronage of the following institutions: Emilia Romagna Region, Province of Bologna, Municipality of Bologna, Azienda USL of Bologna, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Provincial Board of Medical Doctors and Dentists of Bologna, Italian Federation of Acupuncture Societies (FISA), Pan-European Federation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies (PEFOTS) Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and University of Guansu.
In 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, in the same year, the Matteo Ricci school, with offices in Bologna, Bari and Naples, an experience that lasted until 2009.
In 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.

- A.M.A.B. in the care field, as well as in basic and clinical research

In 1987, A.M.A.B. started working with the Department of Neurological Sciences of the University of Bologna; at first with a timid approach,by treating some patients with headache who were followed by colleagues of the Centre for the Study and Treatment of Headache, then in a more systematic and intense way, by signing an agreement with the Department for the Research on Acupuncture in the Treatment of Headaches under the direction of Prof. Peter Cortelli.
In 1997, A.M.A.B. signed an agreement with the U.S.L.(Local Health Unit) of Bologna to establish an on-site Acupuncture clinic that would provide treatment for rheumatic diseases in the elderly. The clinic, run bySotiriosSarafianos, MD, is still working and offers free sessions of acupuncture. Over these years, patients’ benefits, as well as reduction in drug consumption, have been monitored.
In 1997, A.M.A.B. carried out an experiment on the behaviour of the radioisotope (Technetium Pertechnetate) injected into an acupuncture point and into another point outside the meridian. The experiment took place at the Nuclear Medicine Department of the Maggiore Hospital in Bologna, thanks to the support of its enthusiast Chief, Prof. AchilleAbbati, and all the members of A.M.A.B. Board who volunteered to participate. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a difference in flow between the injection of the radioisotope in an acupuncture point and its injection in a skin area that was not an acupuncture point. The experiment revealed the rapid migration of the radioisotope when injected into an acupuncture point, whereas it showed its stagnation in case of injection far from the point: this would demonstrate the existence of an underlying structure, not yet identified, that would allow the migration of the tracer and is called the Meridian by the Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Since 2005 and thanks to the availability of its teachers, 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), among which the following should be mentioned:
- "Survey of patients who turn to acupuncture for the treatment of pain related to diseases of the musculoskeletal system";
- "Randomized controlled trial in patients with chronic headache and muscle tension-type headache"
- "Acumigran, randomized, controlled study on the efficacy of acupuncture in migraine with and without aura"
- "ACUMIALGIC, randomized, controlled study on the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia."
The positive results obtained in patients with diseases mentioned in studies as treatable with acupuncture, have led to a truly historic achievement: with Resolution No. 741 dated May 26, 2014, 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 ".
In 2013, A.M.A.B. was the winner of the project CHETCH - China and Europe Taking Care of Healthcare Solutions, in a partnership programme including prestigious Italian, European and Chinese universities and institutions (UniversitàPolitecnicadelle Marche, Macerata University, University of Ferrara, European Foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (FEMTC ) in Barcelona, Spain, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM) in Nanjing, China, Hunan University (HNU) Changsha China, South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou China, VrijeUniversiteitBrussel (VUB), Brussels Belgium, East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) of Shanghai and Beijing Normal University (BNU), Beijing, China).CHETCH is a research project financed by the European Commission with the Framework Programme - PEOPLE MARIE CURIE ACTIONS - International Research Staff Exchange Scheme.

- A.M.A.B. and its relationships with public institutions in Italy

Since 2004, A.M.A.B. has played a key role with its representatives - Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD and AnnunzioMatrà, MD – to the OmncER (Regional Observatory for Non Conventional Medicine in the Emilia Romagna Region): they have worked to demonstrate that Acupuncture may be used eitherin isolation or as an adjunct to conventional therapy in the treatment or prevention of various different diseases with strong social impact, such as rheumatic diseases, low back pain, tension headache and migraine, and they have proved that Acupuncture ensures both therapeutic results and reduction in health care costs. Such work has led to recognition and inclusion of Acupuncture in the regional council resolution no. 741 dated May 26, 2014. A.M.A.B. has also participated in the process of drafting the “OmncER Recommendations for the practice of Acupuncture in the SSR(Regional Healthcare System) of Emilia Romagna".
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 - Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD and later with Umberto Mazzanti, MD - have participated in the process of drafting standard training requirements which were the object of the resolutions "Requirements for Operators Practising Non-Conventional Medicine" approved on December 28, 2006 and onJuly 10, 2007 by the Medical Board Council. 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 theFNOMCeO 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.”
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, havecontributed to the preparation of the Non-Conventional MedicineRegister for the nine branches of NCM (Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy, AnthroposophicMedicine, AyurvedicMedicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homotoxicology, Osteopathy and Chiropractic), practised by medical doctors and dentists.
In 2011, Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD was appointed Expert of the Superior Health Council for Non-Conventional Medicine. Such an appointment, as well as his election as President of FISA, granted him 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 purpose of the Conference was to establish criteria and procedures to provide quality teaching, education and best practice in Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy and Homeopathy by medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists. 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 disciplinesacquire qualifications on completion of courses...practice on patients is exclusively reserved to medical doctors and dentists, as it happens inthe 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 doctorexperienced 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”
“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 ... respectingprofessional 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 ofdiagnosis, treatment and prevention that supports the medical establishment, their common target being health promotion and protection, as well as rehabilitation". The agreement was received by the Region Council resolution No. 679 on May 19th, 2014.
In May 2014, A.M.A.B. representatives to the OmncER (Regional Observatory on Non Conventional Medicine in the Region Emilia Romagna) - Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD and Annunzio Matrà, MD - 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", thus setting the Goals and Tools briefly summarized in the Check list of the minimum quality requirements for the practice of Acupuncture .
In 2014, A.M.A.B. signed special agreements 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  .
In 2015, the Italian National Institute of Health co-organized with AMAB the 1st International Symposium on Research in Acupuncture, held in Bologna.

- A.M.A.B. and international relationships

In 1990, A.M.A.B. signed an agreement for collaboration with Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the presence of the Scientific Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Rome, Professor Li, and the President of the Faculty of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou, Professor Zhai Run.
In 1994, A.M.A.B. signed a cooperation agreement with the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Gansu in the presence of its President, Professor Guo Shi Bi.
Since 2001, when PEFOTS (Pan European Federation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Societies) was founded, Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD and Umberto Mazzanti, MD, have been its Vice President and General Secretary, respectively.
Since 2010, Carlo Maria Giovanardi, MD has been Vice President of WFCMS (World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies).
In 2010, AMAB signed an agreement with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine for teaching and research.
In 2014, A.M.A.B. signed a special agreement with Middlesex University, London (UK) within the project CHETCH - China and Europe taking care of healthcare solutions.