Soldiers In Afghanistan Are Getting Incredible Results With Acupuncture

The Military seems to be becoming a big fan of acupuncture and it’s many benefits. I just read another article today on the use of acupuncture to treat injured soldiers. This time it is on a Marine Corps base in Afghanistan. Here are some excerpts from The Miami Herald article.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The U.S. military is applying an ancient Chinese healing technique to the top modern battlefield injury for American soldiers, with results that doctors here say are “off the charts.

“Battlefield acupuncture,” developed by Air Force physician Col. Richard Niemtzow, is helping heal soldiers with concussions so they can return more quickly to the front lines.

Stuessi, a naval doctor whose rank is equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel, treats concussions, also known as mild brain trauma.

“I’m seeing pretty incredible results,” said Stuessi, who’s based at the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, and is originally from Wales, Wis. “In my heart I think this will, down the road, become one of the standards of care.”

Stuessi has treated 50 patients with acupuncture, at the specialist Concussion Restoration Care Center at Camp Leatherneck, and describes the results as “phenomenal.” After one treatment, patients are often getting a full night’s sleep and the headache is greatly reduced in intensity. 

Scientific studies on acupuncture haven’t been able to prove its effectiveness. But Stuessi isn’t alone in using it in the U.S. military. The Navy alone has now trained about 50 doctors in acupuncture, Stuessi said. The Air Force, for instance, uses the technique to dampen the pain on the long flights for evacuating wounded soldiers back to the U.S. Stuessi thought it worked by adjusting the “neural pathways” in the body. “It’s like rewiring a computer; you’re hitting certain nerves in the body. So instead of sending up a pain signal to the brain, they send up a signal saying everything’s OK. It’s almost like faking out the brain,” Stuessi said.

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