The NCSAAM Board of Directors serves as the governing body and establishes association policy for conducting the business and management functions of the Association. The Board of Directors consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director oGovernment Affairs, and one representative from each of the five local chapters (Beach, Charlotte, Mountain, Triad, Triangle). The Board may also include two members-at-large. 


Linda Tolentino, LAc.

 Linda Huang Tolentino has been a  licensed acupuncturist since 2009  after spending 20 years in Corporate America in marketing in the finance industry and sales in the telecom industry.  

Her practice began in the suburbs of Boston after graduating with a Masters in Chinese and Japanese acupuncture from the New England School of Acupuncture.  She moved to NC in 2012 with her family when her husband was transferred.  

Linda specializes in gentle acupuncture for patients of all ages. Her focus is more on musculoskeletal conditions, emotional imbalances and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.  

Her practice is currently located in Cary.  Linda is a Diplomate of the NCCAOM. She also holds a MBA from Boston University.  

Linda also is a member of Women in Networking of Cary – serving a 6 month term as the membership coordinator in 2015.  

Linda lives in Holly Springs with her two sons, husband and French Bulldog, Izzy. 

Bonnie Cashwell, LAc.

nie Cashwell obtained her Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM. She is nationally certified with the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in the areas of: acupuncture, point location, Chinese herbology and biomedicine.

Prior to returning home to N.C. in 2013 she practiced acupuncture in Denver, CO where she was a member of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado. She was an assistant coordinator with Alter/Med Research Foundation interfacing allopathic medicine and research based complimentary medicines.

Bonnie has been a holistic practitioner since 1996 which has afforded her a deep understanding of the body and the healing process. While treating a wide range of health conditions her focus is on digestion, anxiety and the musculoskeletal system. She incorporates supplements, Chinese herbs, moxibustion, dietary education/coaching and life style changes. In addition to her MSOM, Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising. 

Jeff Fox, LAc.

Jeffrey received his Diplomate of Oriental medicine in 2009 from Southwest Acupuncture College. A top ten Oriental Medicine college in the United States. 

Jeffrey uses both Chinese and Japanese practices in his treatment plans, and along with acupuncture he may incorporate herbs, muscular manipulation, with guided step by step nutritional counseling as a part of a focused treatment plan. He has had great success in treating a wide range of medical conditions from allergies, to low back pain, to menopause and hormonal imbalances, insomnia, and on to more complex syndromes such as neuro-muscular dysfunction and auto immune disorders. 

Jeffrey particularly enjoys treating our veterans. He has spent the last several years working closely with our military and veterans; an area that is very close to our hearts at The Health Institute. It is because of these shared passions that he is working diligently with THIOH to develop our Community Acupuncture program. A very affordable and accessible way to receive acupuncture in a small group setting.

Marieke Pieterman, M.S., LAc.

 Marieke A. Pieterman, M.S.,  M. Dipl. Ac., L.Ac., ADS  practices both acupuncture and oriental medicine in Cedar Grove, NC, located a short distance between Hillsborough and Mebane. Marieke is a Board-Certified Acupuncturist as a Diplomate of Acupuncture through the NCCAOM. Marieke is licensed in both NC and SC.

Marieke is certified in Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and was certified at the Cleveland Clinic as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. Marieke is a participating health care provider with the Veterans Choice Program.

Marieke graduated and earned a Master’s Diploma of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine. While at JTS, Marieke served as her Class Secretary from 2012 – 2016. She has 2,250+ hours of didactic and clinical training in Acupuncture and Chinese medicine including a 1-year acupuncture residency program. While at JTS, Marieke participated as an acupuncturist in a research study testing the effect of acupuncture on telomere length of DNA and overall aging. Marieke has been trained in Cheng Man-ch’ing's Yang style short form of Taijiquan. In addition, Marieke holds a B.A. in Psychology from the College of William & Mary and a M.S. in Industrial/Organizational/Vocational Psychology from NC State University. When Marieke is not practicing or studying acupuncture and oriental medicine, she can be found beekeeping in her apiary, tending to her hens in her chicken coop, and weeding her organic gardens. Marieke attends The Lamb’s Chapel.

Director of Government Affairs
Chris Helmstetter, L.Ac.

  Chris Helmstetter is nationally   licensed and board certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. 

He maintains state licenses in both North Carolina and California and specializes in the treatment of pain and auto-immune conditions. 

Chris has served on the NCSAAM Board since 2005 and currently presides as Director of Government Affairs.


    David Peters, L.Ac.

David Peters is currently the co-founder of Long Life Wellness Center. He practices acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal medicine, lifestyle/nutritional counseling and teaches meditation, TaiJi and Qigong exercises. 

Long Life Wellness Center also offers Physical Therapy, Marriage and Family Counseling, Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching, Medical QiGong Therapy and a full Yoga program. 

David has been specializing in the field of fertility medicine since 2006. He assists couples with conception by coordinating and employing complementary therapies with reproductive endocrinologists. 

He is an active member of the Acupuncture community advocating for legislation in the Acupuncture field.

   Beach Chapter Representative
Gilda Hunt, B.S.
 M. Dip.Ac., L.Ac. CPHPCA
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Gilda Hunt runs a private practice as a licensed acupuncturist at The Qi Spot by the Sea in Wilmington, NC, where she offers services in acupuncture, tuina and gua sha, fire cupping, blood letting, electrical stimulation, and counseling in herbal supplementation and dietary considerations. She has served her community since October 2017, specializing in a holistic approach to treating the underlying cause of all disorders and disease in order to facilitate healing in the body. Her patients have immensely benefited from her targeted focus on immediate pain relief, emotional release, restoration of fertility, as well as treatment for digestive disorders, cardiac disorders such as hypertension and stroke rehabilitation, gynecological disorders, addiction and weight loss, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, endocrine diseases such as diabetes, respiratory ailments and allergies, and reducing the adverse effects of chemotherapy. She has been involved in the medical field for most of her life, working as a veterinary technician and later as a paramedic and instructor of Para-Medicine. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (pre-med concentration) with a minor in Chemistry at The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW).

Gilda’s incredible experience with acupuncture began when she received its healing benefits for chronic migraines, something she had suffered from since the age of fifteen. Out of options and in intense pain, acupuncture was recommended to her in 2011. The immediate relief from pain made her feel empowered enough to control the severity and onset of a migraine. From this life- changing experience, she developed a strong desire to learn how acupuncture worked. She was educated at the Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine, earning a Masters Diploma of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. She holds a national board certification in acupuncture (NCCAOM) as well as a state license (NCALB). Recently, she acquired a designation of Certified Provider of Hospice & Palliative Care Acupuncture, and she is looking forward to providing acupuncture services to military veterans in the near future.

Her extensive medical training in both Eastern and Western traditions gives her a deep understanding of the human body and lends to a unique perspective and approach to the treatments she provides. 

Gilda has a nurturing spirit and a lifelong desire to help people, qualities that enable her to work as a gifted acupuncturist. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach and boating. She is also an animal lover and enjoys caring for several pets at home.

Triad Chapter Representative
Amber Kent, L.Ac.
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Amber Kent has been working in private practice since 2005 along with practicing Oriental medicine and acupuncture since 2017. Amber became an integrative holistic practitioner due to her own previous health challenges with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS)/Mylagic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Raynaud's syndrome along with various other afflictions such as: heavy metal “mercury” toxicity, IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, ADD, hypothyroid, endometriosis, migraine headaches and Fibromyalgia. She also experienced upper respiratory issues such as: allergies, sinusitis, ear infections, flu, and pneumonia. Along with emotional imbalances of anxiety and depression from both physical and emotional trauma.

Overcoming and healing from her disease imbalances through holistic medicine inspired her journey to help others. She also has been able to offer effective support for her husband's Gulf War Syndrome and PTSD.

Amber graduated from a 4-year post graduate school, Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine. She earned a Master’s Diploma of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Amber participated in over 2,250 hours of didactic and clinical training in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, along with 1-year acupuncture clinical residency program. Mrs. Kent served as an acupuncturist in a research study testing the effectiveness of acupuncture on DNA telomere length and overall aging.

Amber trains in the lineage of Cheng Man-ch’ing's Yang style of short form Taijiquan. This lineage dates all the way to the founder of Taijiquan, Chang San-Feng of the Wu Tang mountain school of north China. He was a Taoist monk and studied boxing at the Shaolin Temple and lived from 1279-1368 AD.

Mrs. Kent also graduated from Clayton College of Natural Health with a bachelors degree in holistic nutrition, masters degree in herbal medicine and a degree in Traditional Naturopathy medicine. She pursued a masters degree in holistic nutrition from Hawthorn University. She received her first undergraduate bachelors degree in Communications and English from University of Queens at Charlotte.

Amber is a member of the American Herbalist Guild and the Weston A. Price Foundation. She has also written for several holistic health magazines, The Natural Triad and The Art of Well-being. 

She has a wide range of interests from Taijijuan, to gardening, to following Jesus Christ in her spiritual journey.

Charlotte Chapter  Representative
John McGimsey, L.Ac. 
B.A. Psych., M.Ac. , M.A. 
John studied meditation, hypnosis, deep muscle relaxation, Tai Qi and Qi Gong.  In 1976, he studied leaderless group dynamics under Carl Rogers,"father" of Humanistic Psychology, was ordained as a Buddhist monk by Karmapa of Sikkim and studied poetry in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets under Alan Ginsberg. He studied energy healing under Muktanada and Sufism under Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. In 1977, he worked in West Africa under traditional doctors in the jungle. In 1979, he studied Adlerian Psych. and Driekurs family counseling in Switzerland. In 1979, he began working for the Eight Northern Pueblo Council in NM as Director of Social Services including an acupuncture program for drug detox and was honored by the UN. In 1994, he completed an MA degree in Oriental Medicine at IICM-Santa Fe including herbology and became a Resident Doctor at the China-Japan Friendship Hosp. Acupuncture Dept. in Beijing for 2 years, a senior student and assistant to the Dept. Director, studied Qigong, Tai Qi, energy medicine and acupuncture amnesia under Masters in Beijing. In 1999, he studied Qigong for Lung Cancer and in 2000 studied Olympic sports medicine in Beijing. He served on the first National Qi Gong Committee for the NCCAOM. 

John has been in clinical practice since 1994, licensed as an L.Ac. in NC in 1998 and currently practices in Davidson, Charlotte, Morganton and Linville Falls.

Mountain Chapter Representative
Billy Roberts, LAc.
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After completing his BA in Literature from Davidson College in 1998, Mr. Roberts was drawn into the world of Acupuncture Medicine while traveling and studying in a remote area of western China.  He went on to guide mountaineering, whitewater and sea kayaking expeditions and work as a Wilderness EMT all over the world for the next 15 years before setting down family roots and an Acupuncture Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina in 2013. He completed his Training in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine – the first Nationally Accredited Acupuncture Graduate Program in North Carolina.  Mr. Roberts is dedicated to combining the timeless wisdom and techniques of Acupuncture Medicine with modern imaging and scientific knowledge to achieve the best results for his patients.

Mr. Roberts enjoys adventures in the southern mountains with his family.  He is an avid reader and will discuss David Mitchell books or Borges with anyone at anytime.  He enjoys travel and any opportunity to speak Spanish, Italian or Mandarin.  For over ten years, Mr. Roberts has studied Qi Gong, Tai Ji Quan and other Daoist Martial and Healing Arts.

Triangle Chapter Representative
Karen Velasquez, L.Ac.
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Karen Velasquez is an RN and L.Ac practicing in Cary, NC.  She attended Indiana University for her BSN and then Pacific College of Oriental Medicine for her MTOM.  She is a Diplomate with the NCCAOM and has been in private practice for 20 years.  She has served on the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board and currently serves as the Triangle Chapter Representative for the NCSAAM.

She is co-founder of the Long Life Wellness Center in Cary, NC.  She has 2 lovely daughters.

Executive Consultant
Denise Graham 
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Denise Graham’s career spans 20+ years of experience in the field of government relations and association management. Her experience includes that of Executive Vice President to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC); political affairs coordinator and lobbyist for the Connecticut State Medical Society. She is also the founder and principle owner of DDG Associates, LLC.

Denise thrives on leading mission-centered organizations. 

Education Officer 
Heather McIver, L.Ac.

Heather McIver graduated from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, CO. She opened Stillpoint Acupuncture in 2001 and has been thrilled to see the popularity of Chinese Medicine grow since then.  A major influence on her practice was her two-year course of study with Lonny Jarrett, author of Nourishing Destiny: The Inner Tradition of Chinese Medicine, and nationally recognized authority on integrating both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Five Element Acupuncture into a cohesive practice style. 

Heather has made two trips to Beijing, China where she learned from accomplished doctors of acupuncture. Heather’s true love is Chinese Herbal Medicine. She recently completed a two-year advanced Chinese Medicine course with Sharon Weizenbaum and she is currently studying the work of Dr. Feng Shi Lun and his experience with classical formulas. She also loves working with fertility, pregnancy and pediatric issues. Heather holds a BA in Religious Studies from Guilford College, and a Masters in Health Education from the University of NC at Greensboro in addition to her MSOM. Heather is the mother of two children and enjoys writing, reading and good food! 

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