Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Combats Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) reports that acupuncture demonstrates effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). PTSD is an anxiety disorder that may occur after violent assaults, military combat, disasters, or any incident in which severe physical harm is threatened. In a randomized controlled study, Dr. Michael Hollifield, MD, and his team at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky; concluded that acupuncture yields beneficial therapeutic results similar to that of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Acupuncture is gaining wide acceptance in areas where both physical and mental trauma are serious issues. Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington now recommend acupuncture for the treatment of physical pain due to injuries. Acupuncture is now used in war zones. The Air Force runs the only acupuncture clinic in the US military located at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. They train doctors to bring acupuncture to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. A pilot program is currently training 44 Air Force, Navy, and Army doctors to add acupuncture therapy to emergency care in combat zones and war-zone hospitals. This training focuses on reducing physical pain with acupuncture protocols. The Navy has recently instituted a new acupuncture training pilot program for doctors at Camp Pendleton in California.

The US military first took note of acupuncture in 1967 when an Army surgeon wrote an article in Military Medicine magazine on the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy. During the Vietnam War, the Army surgeon observed local physicians practicing acupuncture on Vietnamese patients at a US Army surgical hospital. Looking forward, Col. Richard Niemtzow, an Air Force physician, first offered acupuncture in 1995 at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Later, he founded the acupuncture clinic at Andrews in Maryland. Acupuncture has a long history of repairing injuries and many acupuncturists practice movements arts such as Qi Gong, Tai Qi, and martial arts. Over the centuries, acupuncture has co-evolved with the martial arts and has provided relief and recovery for many types of injuries.