Battlefield Acupuncture. Credit: Hull Sports Massage

At Family Care Acupuncture, we believe in taking care of our veterans. We regularly provide acupuncture for local military veterans from Mobile, Theodore, Fairhope, Bayou La Batre, the Gulf Coast, and Misissippi. The connection of acupuncture with veterans is not new or surprising, because the United States Military has studied acupuncture since the early 1800s.

In 1967, two Army physicians wrote about their introduction to acupuncture in Vietnam. They were Maj Norman Rich, MD, surgeon, and Lt Col Francis Dimond MD. This article was “Results of Vietnamese acupuncture seen at the Second Surgical Hospital” in the October 1967 Military Medicine Journal describing observation of acupuncture in 1965.

The very first use of acupuncture in the U.S. Military occurred over 100 years earlier than the writings of Drs Rich and Dimond. In 1838, Navy Surgeon Dr. William Ruschenberger used acupuncture to treat his patients with notable results. Interesting historical evidence indicates that the techniques of Oriental Medicine have been known in America for longer than we imagine. The book New Remedies with Formule published in 1839 by Dr. Robley Dunglison, physician and professor, describes in detail the use of Chinese and Japanese cone moxa (moxibustion), which is a standard acupuncture treatment.

The first military acupuncture clinic was established in 1995 at Walson Air Force Hospital by Dr. Richard Niemtzow, an Air Force oncologist. He also developed Battlefield Acupuncture in 2001, a set of auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) techniques using semipermanent needles for pain relief without the use of internal medicines. With Battlefield Acupuncture, a pilot can still operate a plane while these needles are in place and the treatment can be given by a trained person when taking medicine would not be advisable. Battlefield Acupuncture is now widely used as a treatment for pain and injury.

Acupuncture continues to help military personnel off the battlefield. Classical Oriental Medicine in particular places great emphasis on the individual. A treatment strategy depends on health history, constitution (body type), diet, emotions, and the unique goals of the individual. While statistics tend to look at groups of people as if they were all the same, acupuncture does not. Therein is its strength.

Research identified issues which are of specific concern to veterans because they disproportionately affect veterans more than the general population. According to this article they are: mental health, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury. Other concerns were: depression, chronic pain, exposure to toxins, structural injury (to bone or muscle), and headaches. But each veteran is a person, not a statistic. The healing process of acupuncture depends on considering the person as an individual. Even in Battlefield acupuncture, the treatment is not a one-size-fits-all formula but a custom treatment applied to the specific person and situation. Dr. Niemtzow taught military medics to read the body and treat the ear in a similar way that Licensed acupuncturists learn to diagnose and treat.

Acupuncture is now recognized as a valid and useful treatment option. Finally, the wider healthcare community is catching up with what America’s acupuncture physicians have been saying for over 100 years.

The Veterans Health Administration has officially recognized acupuncture as a profession within their medical centers. Veteran’s Affairs centers around the country integrate Licensed Acupuncturists into their resource and referral networks, doing great work by opening acupuncture as a treatment option to a greater number of veterans.

Acupuncture is a safe, noninvasive, effective treatment for many conditions. Our system is Classical Oriental Medicine; an ancient tradition that is incredibly well suited to modern times. We strongly believe that veterans deserve the best care available, and do our best each day to deliver it.

More Information

Our services for veterans include full body acupuncture and auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture). We are able to serve individuals, small groups, and families.

For more information, take a look at our Articles or call us at: 251-644-4127.

To create an appointment, please call us directly. No referral is needed.

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