Chronic pain is one of the most common ailments that acupuncture can relieve. The United States military has recently incorporated this Oriental health benefit into their offered medical services. Andrews Airforce Base in Maryland has begun using this ancient Chinese technique to treat wounded troops for chronic pain. This is the first high-level endorsement of acupuncture by the traditionally conservative military medical community, and marks a milestone for Oriental medicine’s increasing popularity and accessibility.
The use of acupuncture is proving so successful in the Air Force that a class about “battlefield acupuncture” is scheduled to commence in the New Year. Physicians deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan will soon be adding acupuncture to their list of medical remedies. Auricular acupuncture (acupuncture of the ear) is the primary technique that will be taught. This method can alleviate wide ranges of pain (even unbearable, sharp chronic pain) for days at a time. Patients who have been suffering in a daze of drug-induced sleep as their only means at pain reduction can begin to emerge from that state into fuller consciousness without pain.
Individuals treated with acupuncture report greater reductions in pain both immediately after the first and last treatments, and one week after the last treatment. It is important to have acupuncture treatments consistently for the treatment of chronic pain. Another reason acupuncture may work so well for wounded troops is because it is deemed especially effective in regard to pain caused by motion. Acupuncture is a safe form of treatment for people with chronic neck pain and offers clear clinical advantages over conventional massage or prescribed medication in the reduction of pain and improvement of mobility. It doesn’t just attack the symptom as drugs do but, rather, the cause of the pain, thus improving the patient’s range of motion and sense of well-being.
Acupuncture can also reduce anxiety, something many wounded troops deal with daily. Battlefield acupuncture has been effective among patients suffering from a combination of combat wounds and psychological injury. Auricular acupuncture, in particular, is known to help patients relax, de-stress, and can greatly improve a patient’s sleep pattern. Lastly, this practice is well suited to military bases and physicians on the go because it requires no bulky equipment, and can provide quick relief.
For more information on Battlefield Acupuncture please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941.