SAR Special Interest Groups

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Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge realm of acupuncture research by joining the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR).

As a SAR SIG member, you will join a community of like-minded colleagues where passionate professionals collaborate, innovate, and explore the transformative world of evidence-based acupuncture, where research and healthcare intersect.

Shape the future of acupuncture by lending your voice and expertise alongside world-renowned leading experts, as we drive progress through collaboration and innovation within SAR SIGs.


→ Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Digital Health SIG

→ Basic Science Research SIG

    Clinical Research:

→ Oncology Research SIG

→ Pain Research SIG

→ Women's Health Research SIG

→ Dissemination & Implementation SIG

→ Education SIG

→ Hospital-Based Acupuncture SIG

→ Practice-Based Research SIG

 SAR AI and Digital Health SIG Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Health SIG

If you are a SAR member and you are interested in joining this SIG, contact the SIG Leaders:

Claudia M. WittSandro GracaYe-Seul Jennifer Lee.

The SAR Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Health Special Interest Group (SIG) aims to advance research and collaboration in the field. 

Digitalization will change health care profoundly and acupuncture and other integrative medicine interventions can make meaningful contributions. AI and digital health are already having a significant impact on acupuncture research and clinical practice, from data acquisition via apps and electronic systems to data analysis using machine learning algorithms and knowledge dissemination on SNS. The AI and Digital Health SIG was established after the SAR conference 2023 following a discussion on methods and strategies how to incorporate AI and digital health into acupuncture research and clinical practice in an effective and efficient manner. The SIG will provide a platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange and joint research. Furthermore, it will develop recommendations and encourage to look into the future. Using a participatory approach we build a community of SAR members from different disciplines, including acupuncturists, researchers, and technologists with a focus on AI and Digital Health.

 SAR Basic Science Research SIGBasic Science Research SIG

If you are a SAR member and you are interested in joining this SIG, contact the SIG Leaders:

Rick HarrisSimone Ormsby.

SAR’s Basic Science SIG was set up to bring together a group of SAR members that have a special interest in exploring basic scientific research evaluations of the mechanistic effects of acupuncture. Typical studies evaluated include clinical assessments incorporating biomechanistic outcomes, as well as research in animal models that explore needling and moxibustion effects; of which examples are published bi-monthly in the ‘SAR News Wire’. This ‘bottom-up’ research approach has the potential to provide quantifiable, and scientifically validated evidence to support the benefits of acupuncture, in a format that is understandable to the integrative health research community.

Why is this important? As clinicians, educators, researchers and allied health professionals, we’ve all been asked those difficult questions… “so does acupuncture really work?”, and “how does acupuncture work exactly”? Whilst these questions are still difficult to answer, more and more, basic scientific evaluations are providing additional evidence to support a broad range of potential beneficial effects to numerous bodily systems, including the neuro-immuno-endocrine system. By having knowledge of the outcomes of these evaluations, not only does it provide us with a better ability to more accurately answer these questions, it also has the potential to further elevate the international standing of acupuncture.

What are our aims moving forward? At the upcoming conference, we wish to reengage existing members, as well as attract new members, in order to discuss ideas around the potential aims and directions of the group moving forward. Possibilities for consideration include: regular bi-monthly get togethers to share findings from research articles of interest; collaboration on projects such as the setting up of a database of point specific effects, and the collation of mechanistic findings with respect to TEAM pattern differentiation and disease classifications. Other ideas are however also actively encouraged!

Clinical Research SIGs

Participating in the Clinical Research SIGs (Oncology, Pain, and Women's Health) offers a platform to advocate, evaluate and disseminate clinical research in acupuncture. It provides opportunities to gleam the current literature to write a highlight about new articles in acupuncture clinical research, which would be published in SAR’s monthly newsletter.

We welcome discussions from group members about what you want to accomplish together - formulating ideas using a “bottom-up” approach to the groups:

 SAR Oncology Research SIGOncology Research SIG

More details coming soon...

 SAR Pain Research SIGPain Research SIG

More details coming soon...

 SAR Women's Health Research SIGWomen's Health Research SIG

If you are a SAR member and you are interested in joining this SIG, contact the SIG Leaders:

Lisa Taylor-SwansonSandro Graca; Kate Levett; Katharina Rhein; Joan Boccino.

Within the realm of women's health, acupuncture stands as a beacon of hope for those seeking holistic and effective treatments. As we navigate the intricate web of acupuncture's effects on menstrual disorders, fertility-related issues, pregnancy, and menopausal symptoms, the SAR Women’s Health SIG emerges as a vital community of SAR members who share a passion for collaboration, education, and dissemination.

Interdisciplinary researchers, practitioners, and educators join forces in this SIG to address current gaps in knowledge and forge thriving and innovative partnerships within this SIG and through collaborations with other SAR SIGs. Moreover, the work from the SAR Women’s Health SIG is presented in a format that speaks to the integrative health research community, bridging the gap between traditional acupuncture wisdom and modern scientific rigor.

SAR Dissemination and Implementation SIGDissemination & Implementation SIG

If you are a SAR member and you are interested in joining this SIG, contact the SIG Leaders:

Sandro Graca; Claudia Citkovitz; Holly Battrum; Jennifer Stone; Susan Wieland; Samantha Allen.

The goal of the Dissemination & Implementation SIG is for members to discuss ways of promoting acupuncture and TEAM research as widely as possible, as well as suggesting approaches for how to implement those findings in ways that work in different professional settings (hospitals, acupuncture clinics, etc.) so that ultimately, patients benefit. 

Identifying obstacles and challenges would be part of the process, and creatively thinking about how to overcome those challenges. For the majority of acupuncture and TEAM research being done, it is not promoted or utilized widely enough for substantial impact, and therefore the gap between research and practice needs to be bridged in order to reach the community level. We imagine this SIG collaborating with other SIGs for this purpose.

SAR Education SIGEducation SIG

If you are a SAR member and you are interested in joining this SIG, contact the SIG Leaders:

Rosa SchnyerHeidi Most; Beau Anderson; Lisa Conboy; Rosaleen Ostrick.

SAR’s Special Interest Group for Educators is a group of acupuncturists, professors, and researchers that formed at the SAR Symposium in June 2019, with the goal of improving the teaching of research skills in general and acupuncture research in particular to East Asian Medicine (EAM) students. Research skills and knowledge are becoming increasingly necessary as the profession moves towards integration with mainstream medicine and more practitioners choose to work in collaboration with other allied health professions. In the four years since that meeting, our group has created a survey to assess EAM students’ attitudes towards research and a model research curriculum, with an introductory slideshow on the history and evolution of acupuncture research. Both of these projects were presented in a poster at the 2021 SAR Symposium. Our motto could be “teachers talking to teachers.” We are hopeful that this collaboration of EAM schools can expand in the future and we welcome your participation.

 SAR Hospital-Based Acupuncture SIGHospital-Based Acupuncture SIG

The Hospital-Based Acupuncture SIG was created to support acupuncturists working in a hospital-based environment and interested in an evidence-based approach to practice. We will use the time during the conference to revisit and update priorities identified at our initial meeting, set structures for ongoing engagement, and identify those members interested in a leadership role.

 SAR Practice-Based Research SIGPractice-Based Research SIG

Practitioners and researchers know that a vast amount of data is generated in clinics worldwide every day. A key challenge is to gather and turn data of such volume and complexity into research information that is directly useful for practitioners and researchers. The Practice-Based Research SIG has two primary aims. First, to advance the methodology and better facilitate the collection and use of high-quality acupuncture and herbal evidence from real-world clinical encounters. Second, is to provide a research home and support for practitioners interested in collecting data and conducting research in real-world practice. This SIG will aim to facilitate a coordinated grassroots data collection effort and promote cross-fertilization between practice-based research, education, dissemination, and AI and digital health. We hope you join us and add your experience and curiosity to the mix, and to the insight gleaned from investigation.

Sandro Graca; Claudia Citkovitz; Kathleen Lumiere; Brigitte Linder; Nick Lowe.

2023 Society for Acupuncture Research - Special Interests Groups

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