Happy Chinese New Year 2012 – The Year of the Dragon A Message from Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, CEO January 2012


The NCCAOM Board of Commissioners, staff and I wish all of you a Happy Chinese New Year. This year marks a more festive New Year as according to the Chinese Lunar calendar this is a Dragon year; specifically it is the year of the Water Dragon! The last Dragon year occurred at the turn of the century in 2000; it was a Golden Dragon (a metal Dragon year). All Dragon years are highly auspicious because they are represented by a mythological creature with implications of extraordinary power and suggestive of invisible mystery.  The Water Dragon distinctively symbolizes:

  • Creativity
  • Action
  • Energy
  • Leadership, and
  • Vitality

Dr. Roger Jahnke, Ph.D., Dipl. Ac., a licensed acupuncturist, and master of Tai Chi and Qigong, believes, based on his research from the I Ching, on the topic of the Water Dragon that “this is the year it is likely that the Dragon and the element of Water will bring fortune to most of the planet’s inhabitants”. Dr. Jahnke further reminds us in his blog, Feel the Qi, that this year “riding the Water Dragon means gaining the capacity to breathe in the water, meaning to remain comfortable in unfamiliar territory.” 1 This may cause some of us to have to work hard to adopt new habits and possibly surrender old assumptions in order to take action, be creative, and provide leadership.

The Dragon always symbolizes wisdom. This year, when we overlay this with the addition of a Water element year, we may experience fear or trepidation; however, by taking care to cultivate our vitality and to draw energy from the universe, both of which are supported in this year; we can successfully “Ride the Dragon”. If we take the necessary time to fully embrace this Dragon year both from a personal and professional standpoint, we may see miracles happen. After all, the Dragon represents not only mysteries and miracles but also spirit, intuition, transcendence and immortality!

So how would we all celebrate the Water Dragon New Year? Just aswater_dragon-2 we see in our Western New Year celebrations with its symbols of clocks representing father time or the passing year and babies representing new birth or the coming year, when the Chinese New Year arrives, one sees a collection of symbols that suggest joy, hope and prosperity. For example, flowers in particular, the plum blossom and water hibiscus, are among the two most popular Chinese New Year flowers. Another important tradition is the hong-bao, a red envelope with money inside, which is given as a gift to the children from their parents on the eve of the New Year. This represents the hope for good fortune. Another celebratory tradition is for loved ones to share the famous “Tray of Togetherness” – a round octagonal tray filled with fruits symbolizing a sweet beginning to the New Year. The foods offered include sugared fruit and vegetables typically winter melons, coconut, lotus seeds, water chestnuts, carrots and tangerines. The tray has eight compartments because the Chinese consider the number eight to be very lucky.

As we celebrate the Chinese New Year, the year of the Water Dragon, let’s think about what we may achieve during this time, and how we nourish ourselves so that the possibilities of good fortune that the Water Dragon represents may unfold before us. First, we need to consider how to foster creativity; what better way to do this than to take the time to relax, refresh and energize both physically and emotionally. During the year, the NCCAOM will be working on ways to improve existing services while exploring opportunities to add on new services for our Diplomates. As always we will continue to enhance the certification process for our candidates using our best judgment based on knowledge and wisdom. Since this year is designated to be one of change and innovation, we hope to expand the capacity of our leadership by fostering synergies with other state, national, or international organizations to advance the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession. One way to achieve this goal is to continue our work with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) as 2013 will provide us another opportunity to request a unique standard occupational classification code for acupuncturist, as we did in 2008. This year we will take action as we begin work on the 2013 NCCAOM Job Task Analysis (JTA).  The NCCAOM is pleased to announce its latest innovation – the 2013 JTA survey will be expanded to include surveying all licensed acupuncturists. The demographic and clinical practice data analyzed from the next JTA will be a crucial need for our ongoing work to have acupuncturists considered as an independent occupation by the BLS.

As we embark on this new and vitalizing year of the Water Dragon, I encourage all of you to take advantage of not only what the NCCAOM will provide you to successfully Ride the Water Dragon, but to embrace the idea of reflecting on new and innovative ways of thinking and approaching your personal or professional challenges.

water_dragon-237x300Thank you all NCCAOM Diplomates, Professional Development Activity (PDA) Providers and organizational volunteers for your support of the NCCAOM, and for being a part of our energetic team.  We are all leaders in the AOM profession and together we are positioned to continue to have a very influential impact on the AOM profession and the public for years to come. No matter what your personal Chinese zodiac animal birth sign is – be it the Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger or Rabbit, you all provide the collective traits which will make this year of the Water Dragon a successful year for the AOM profession. Let’s all jump on and enjoy the ride!

1. Jahnke, R. (2012). Feel the Qi Blog, http://www.feeltheqi.comaccessed 1/21/12.