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 of Government 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., MAc

 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. 

Ginna Browning, L.Ac


Ginna Browning L.Ac, LMBT, is a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, and the owner of Remedy Clinic, Inc. in Raleigh. When she returned to her home town in NC in 2005 to establish her acupuncture practice, she was grateful to have the professional acupuncture association as a home base for a new and upcoming practitioner.

The need for high-quality, continuing education is essential for growing the skills necessary to succeed, so Ginna chose to serve on NCSAAM’s executive committee as educational officer from 2008-2010. She was recruited to serve as President for the following three years.

In 2012, with the help of the membership, incoming Board of Directors, and executive committee members, Ginna formed the Acupuncture Advocates PAC and served as its President for 2 years. At this time, she was awarded Emeritus status from NCSAAM, and has proudly participated in her chosen profession securing itself to serve the growing population of North Carolina.


Lindsay Bierwert



  Lindsay Bierwert has been a North   Carolina licensed acupuncturist since moving to Charlotte in 2017. Lindsay currently works at Lotus Acupuncture and specializes in treating women’s health, especially PCOS and endometriosis as well as mental health disorders. Her treatment modalities include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, Tui Na, and eastern dietary therapy.

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 at Holistic Heart Acupuncture. 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

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

Summary description:

Chapter representatives uphold the mission of the association by representing their local Chapter members and voting on their behalf on all NCSAAM Board of Directors actions.



Charlotte Chapter Representative

Nancy Fuller, LAc.

    Nancy is the owner of Live Well Acupuncture      in Charlotte.  She treats pain and internal        medicine as well as focusing on disease prevention and healthy aging.  Treatment modalities include acupuncture, Chinese herbs,    tui na, food therapy, and lifestyle consultation, which are all under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese medicine.

Trained as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Nancy is nationally board certified and licensed in North Carolina.  She has been treating patients for over 10 years.  She completed residency programs at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital and a East West general health clinic in Sarasota, Florida.

Nancy's recent education includes completing a five-year program of graduate study at East West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota, Florida. Upon graduation, she received a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor of Professional Health Services. 

Nancy served as a board member of the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board.  She was the acupuncturist for the Charlotte based Belva Wallace Greenage Cancer Foundation.  She speaks at many locations including Wingate School of Pharmacy and the UNC Charlotte Nurse Practitioner program.


Mountain Representative


Summary description:

Chapter representatives uphold the mission of the association by representing their local Chapter members and voting on their behalf on all NCSAAM Board of Directors actions.



Triangle Chapter Representative
Karen Velasquez, L.Ac.

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.

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! 

NCSAAM Volunteers

David Blonn

NCSAAM Education Coordinator


David Blonn is a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist and Acupuncturist in the New Bern area of North Carolina. He began his studies in integrative health in 2002 at The Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in New York, NY where he graduated in the top 10%of his class with an Associates degree in Occupational Studies in Massage Therapy. In 2004, he continued his education in Chicago, IL where he attended The Midwest College of Oriental Medicine and earned his Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine, serving on the Student Board while there. He was honored to be in the inaugural Doctoral class at the same college, starting concurrent with his final term pursuing his MSOM, and he completed all his doctoral coursework in 2009. 

While pursuing his Acupuncture studies, David taught at Northwestern College, Bridgeview, IL and served as Program Coordinator of the Massage Therapy Program.  After living in New Jersey for a short time, he finally settled in North Carolina in 2015. David has private practices in Pink Hill, NC and New Bern, NC, and also works in Jacksonville, NC where he treats veterans with physical and mental trauma.

David has been a licensed Massage Therapist in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and now maintains his North Carolina license.  He is a member in good standing with NCCAOM as a Diplomat of Acupuncture.

David enjoys many hobbies including reading, historical dancing with his wife, reading and cooking with his 2 daughters, and is learning to play the guitar.

Sara Paukovich

NCSAAM Membership Coordinator


After graduating from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuropsychology, Sara started her clinical work in the field of human behavior as a supervisor for early intervention therapy for children with autism in Sacramento, CA. Sara enjoyed her years in this career and learned the importance of individualized care and the joy of working in a clinical setting. However, she longed to work in a field that dealt more intimately with the mind-body connection that her undergrad degree had highlighted.

After much investigation into evidence-based fields of alternative medicine, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine aligned with Sara’s understanding and beliefs about individual health. In 2005, Sara moved cross country from California to New York to pursue a four-year intensive Masters degree program in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has been a licensed acupuncturist for 10 years, first in New York State and now North Carolina with over 15,000 hours in clinical settings throughout her career.

Sara has a passion for helping patients find the least intrusive healthcare intervention that may allow them to resolve an array of health issues. She loves seeing patients make significant improvements in painful and debilitating conditions with the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine each day in her clinic. Watching patients awaken to the abilities inherent in a medicine with roots dating back 5,000 years is one of the highlights of her practice. In order to further her aim of being an ambassador for Chinese Medicine in the U.S., Sara is currently completing her doctorate in the field as well.

NCSAAM Administrative Staff

Melissa Peet

NCSAAM Bookkeeper


Melissa began working with NCSAAM in the spring of 2018. She has managed Stillpoint Acupuncture since 2007, and also keeps the books for several local small businesses. Melissa lives in Greensboro with Steve, her husband of 24 years. The family unit also includes two young adult sons and elder dog, Maizie. 


Carrie Fleitz

NCSAAM Webmaster


I am brand new to  NCSAAM but know how much Acupuncture can change lives. I am a walking example!  I have lived in North Carolina for the last 24 years with my husband and two grown kids and consider NC home.  I enjoy gardening, birds, butterflies, and photography.

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