Acupuncture Fever: The Road to Legalization in California

The history of acupuncture in California is a fascinating and remarkably recent story that I personally knew little about until recently, when the San Francisco Public Library hosted the world premier of the documentary Acupuncture Fever: the Road to Legalization in California.Both on screen and in the theater, I saw many familiar faces: local and statewide elected officials, leaders of different Chinese Medicine organizations, my mother’s friends and colleagues from the Chinese-American TCM community, and even my own acupuncturist!

The movie screening was followed by the dedication of copies of the film to the San Francisco Public Library’s collection and a bi-lingual Q&A with the director and other film contributors.

To me, the key take aways form the Q&A were that 1. we have accomplished so much in such a short time, but 2. there is still much to do, and 3. we can help move our profession and our medicine forward by supporting the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act that Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-28) will be reintroducing at the federal level in 2023 -- please consider joining me and our team at the ASA Advocacy Day on Capital Hill on May 15th!

The biggest highlight of the event for me was after the official program ended and everyone started mingling. I was very happy to have reconnected with old friends and to have met some new ones, including students and family members of the Chinese Medicine pioneers whose stories the film archived so beautifully. A friend from the AACMA also graciously gifted me two copies of the movie on DVD, which I promptly asked the director to sign. It was truly all I could ask for from a film premiere!

I wish everyone could have attended but short of that, you can watch the film on YouTube ( or on DVD. The DVDs can be purchased from the AACMA or borrowed from the San Francisco Public Library. A few practitioners said they would make a mini library by keeping their DVDs of the film in their clinic waiting rooms for patients to borrow. If you’ve read this far and you’d like one of my signed copies of the DVD, please email us; if available, it’s yours!