The U.S Military is rapidly expanding their use of acupuncture for Soldiers and Veterans. This expansion is due to the numerous training programs, for physicians and other healthcare providers throughout the Military services.
The Military is figuring out something those of us in the field of Chinese Medicine have known for a long time. Acupuncture is very effective at pain relief offering an alternative to addictive painkillers, which is a serious concern for our service men and women.
On March 24th Stars and Stripes wrote an article about the fast growing use of ‘Battlefield acupuncture’. Battlefield acupuncture is the insertion of small needles in the ear, also called auricular acupuncture. This type of acupuncture is particularly useful in combat as the needles can be inserted quickly and without removing any gear.
Here are a few highlights from the article:
“In 2013, the agencies received $5.4 million for a three-year project to develop and implement an education and training program in battlefield acupuncture to address concerns about overmedication of service members.”
“Training under the pilot program was expanded to physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, medics, corpsmen, and physical and occupational therapists.
About 2,800 providers have been trained as part of the initiative, said Thomas Piazza, the director of the Air Force Acupuncture Program at Joint Base Andrews, Md.”
This is not the first time I’ve written about the Armed forces fondness for acupuncture. In this post I quote the former Army’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, who is a strong advocate for the use of acupuncture in the Military.