National Acupuncture Day

National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day has been celebrated nationally since 2002 which is when the Institute of American Acupuncture & Life Medicine, Inc was formed and began providing Kototama Inochi Medicine to the under-served of our St. Louis community.

The Japanese-trained acupuncturist approaches the needle with the same spirit the samurai approaches the sword. This needle-sword is not a tool; it is an extension of the hand reaching out from the center of the tanden, the Sea of Qi.
— Masahilo M. Nakazono, O'Sensei

Training with Masahilo Nakazono, Osensei for fifteen years was my path. His mission was to guide his students in accessing their individual Qi, respecting the acupuncture needle as an extension of their own spirit and dedicating their whole being to the stewardship of acupuncture – a science developed, protected and passed on from one generation to the next in an unbroken line of succession for over 3000 years. The City of Santa Fe honored him as a “Living Treasure” (1984) and the New Mexico State Senate proclaimed him the “Father of New Mexico Acupuncture” (1985).

The reason we can celebrate “Acupuncture Day” is because our professional ancestors, like Sensei, never abandoned the knowledge, wisdom and science of acupuncture; but instead, meticulously guarded, enhanced and delved deeper into the understanding that comes through life-long dedication to its integrity. Sensei shared this ancient healing art with his adopted nation, America. He would be pleased with “Acupuncture Day”.

This month marks the 23rd anniversary of the passing of Dr. M. Masahilo Nakazono, O'Sensei (May 22, 1918 - October 8, 1994), Founder of Kototama Natural Life Medicine.


The Journey - Step One (Nakazono O'Sensei)

  • 1937 - Kappo Certification
  • 1939 - Acupuncture Licensure
  • 1950 – Studies Macrobiotic Dietary Healing
  • 1956 - Sakai Hon Li Te ate studies begin
  • 1956 - Establishes macrobiotic healing center in India
  • 1960 - Began teaching Japanese Acupuncture in Europe
  • 1970 - Introduces Kototama Principle, Japanese Acupuncture, Pulse Diagnosis & Five Element Meridian Medicine to the U.S.
  • 1975 - Grasps the Kototama connection in Five Element Meridian Medicine and radically changes diagnostic & treatment protocols of acupuncture.
  • 1977 - Opens first Japanese Acupuncture School in the U.S. - Kototama Institute – Santa Fe, NM. Tom Duckworth enrolls.

The Journey - Step Two (Dr. Thomas Duckworth)

  • 1980 – Earns Certificate in Acupuncture Studies
  • 1982 – Earns Diploma in Kototama Acupuncture Meridian Medicine
  • 1986 – Doctor of Kototama Life Medicine degree awarded
  • 1994 - Jason Hackler begins studies of Kototama Life Medicine with Dr. Duckworth



The Journey - Step Three

  • 1998 - Thomas Duckworth brings Nakazono’s very unique system of healing to St. Louis through the Natural Life Therapy Clinic.
  • 1999 - Jason Hackler relocates to St. Louis to partake in Nakazono’s mission to give back to America.
  • 2002 - IAALM, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed to serve and instruct in the healing arts begins operation.
  • 2007 - Mary Wallis convinces Dr. Duckworth that she should be studying this medicine. She is correct!
  • 2017 – IAALM celebrates 15 years of dedicated unpaid service in St. Louis to those who need.

The Journey - Next Step

  • Present Day – Lindsey Bastedo, LMT has been studying with Dr. Duckworth and Mr. Hackler for over a year and now assists Dr. Duckworth with the IAALM Clinic, as she continues her studies.