Honoring Our Veterans: Battlefield Acupuncture and Post-Traumatic Stress

11 November 2009 0 comments

Having never served in the armed services myself, there is no way that I can begin to understand the overwhelming trauma and stress associated with having served -- especially in combat.

There is some pretty interesting stuff going on...some wonderful ways that veterans are being helped.

I wish to share them.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that acupuncture has emerged as an effective remedy for soldiers dealing with the immense stressors and psychological impact of war -- especially considering the impact on families upon the return of their fatigued and stressed, deployed loved ones, our own American troops.

Diana Fried, Exective Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders, reports "History has shown us that the long-term impact of war takes a tremendous toll for decades.  By providing...acupuncture treatments to soldiers returning from war and their families, we can play a part in preventing history from repeating itself, and by providing treatments to veterans from past wars and conflicts; we can take part in helping to mend the psychological wounds of the past."

Acupuncturists Without Borders is one group who are providing stress relief for soldiers in Iraq.  Troops receiving treatment report feeling calmer with decreased anxiety.  They report that they are able to sleep more restfully and longer, without nightmares or flashbacks.  They also report feeling less "edgy".

In fact, the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) has teamed up with Acupuncturists Without Borders to promote the benefits of acupuncture for mental health issues faced by soldiers and veterans.

This is one of many critical issues facing our military personnel.

Another one is pain.

One man, Colonel Richard Niemtzow, works in the Air Force Acupuncture Clinic (the military's only!), training physicians from the Air Force, the Navy and the Army to take acupuncture to the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, to use as part of emergency care in combat and in front-line hospitals.   Back home, physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington are recommending acupuncture treatment to help with pain.

Colonel Arnyce Pock, medical director for the Air Force Medical Corps, said that acupuncture comes without the side effects common after taking traditional painkillers.  It also quickly relieves pain.

The bottom line: if you are a veteran -- or know one....please pass this information on.    There is help on the way.   People can find an acupuncturist in their own area by using the "find a practitioner" tab on www.nccaom.org.   They can also email me at Lcoff@springhopehealth.com.   Make sure that you let me know that these are issues you are facing.

I offer a very heartfelt thank you to all our soldiers...and all our veterans...for the time that you have taken from your own lives...

...to give us ours.



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