Battlefield acupuncture offers a safer, more effective alternative to dangerous painkiller drugs for soldiers

Thursday, April 12, 2012 by: Christina Luisa
Tags: battlefield acupuncture, painkillers, soldiers

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(NaturalNews) Psychiatric drugs and painkillers are now being routinely used across the U.S. military, where violent suicides have skyrocketed to levels never before seen in history. In the military today, soldiers who suffer TBIs -- Traumatic Brain Injuries -- frequently receive treatment with mind-altering psychiatric drugs that have known side effects of promoting violence. An astonishing 200,000 soldiers have already been diagnosed with this condition.

The deadly drugs being widely prescribed often have detrimental effects, especially for those with pre-existing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a history of substance abuse ( An example would be the recent Afghanistan massacre of 16 civilians by a U.S. sergeant with a history of psychiatric drug treatment (

Instead of continuing to rely on these overpriced pharmaceuticals loaded with toxins to provide so-called relief for soldiers, the U.S. military has begun to investigate battlefield acupuncture as a safer alternative to various dangerous medications.

The ancient techniques of acupuncture are so simple and effective that our own military recognized the need to begin learning how to harness its power. Physicians being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are being trained how to use battlefield acupuncture by the United States Air Force. So far this alternative therapy has shown incredible results.

A pilot program that began last month will prepare 44 Air Force, Navy and Army doctors to use acupuncture as part of emergency care in combat and in frontline hospitals, not just on bases back home.

Watch this extraordinary video showing battlefield acupuncture working for active duty military personnel in Afghanistan:

What is battlefield acupuncture?

The term battlefield acupuncture was first used in 2001 by Col. Richard Niemtzow MD, PhD, who serves as a consultant for complementary and alternative medicine to the Surgeon General of the Air Force. Col. Niemtzow is also a military medical physician who practices acupuncture on a full-time basis for the U.S. Air Force.

The treatment uses small needles to treat five points in the skin of the outer ear and blocks pain in as little as five minutes. The effects of it can last for several days or longer. The frequency of application and duration of relief often varies with each patient, but treatment can progress from about two times a week to as little as once a month or longer. In certain cases, further acupuncture treatment may not be required.

The official procedure uses gold semi-permanent needles, which are placed directly into the ear acupuncture points and left to fall out on their own within a day or two. These conventional acupuncture needles may be stimulated for up to ten minutes or so. The technique is derived from traditional ear acupuncture but uses short needles that better fit under combat helmets so soldiers can continue their missions with the needles inserted to relieve pain.

A quick, easy and safe pain-relieving therapy

According to an article on battlefield acupuncture in Acupuncture Today by John Amaro, LAc, the procedure was initially introduced in 2008 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC), where it was applied to wounded service members and local patients for pain relief, with significant results. LRMC, located near Ramstein Air Base in Germany, is the largest and most modern U.S. military medical facility outside the US (

As Amaro writes in his article, one of the pain specialists at LRMC said he personally experienced a 25 percent increased range of motion and a 50 percent reduction in pain for the chronic shoulder and upper back pain he had suffered from for several years. As a result of his groundbreaking success, he recruited his most challenging patients for whom traditional pain treatment offered very limited relief. Many of these same patients said their pain had been reduced by up to 75 percent within minutes of the needles being inserted. Consider this fact in light of the knowledge that a mere 25 percent reduction would normally be considered a success with traditional pain medications.

Ear acupuncture has long been known to be a very effective method for relieving acute pains, in some cases proving more effective than body acupuncture ( Acupuncturists such as Amaro have seen outstanding results with the use of low-level laser and electronic stimulation applied directly to the points. These conventional acupuncture needles may be stimulated for up to ten minutes.

This combination of points is not only tailored to treat acute or chronic pain; it is also extremely effective in anxiety, neurosis, neurasthenia and any psychological or stress related issues.

Why do these statistics hold significance for the U.S. military?

Prior to the Iraq war, American soldiers in combat zones did not take psychiatric medications, according to PBS Frontline documentary The Wounded Platoon, which aired in May 2010 ( By 2007, a surge of more than 20,000 of our deployed troops were taking antidepressants and sleeping pills. These drugs allowed soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder to remain in combat when they otherwise could not.

Not only can addiction to painkillers be a fatal disease, side effects of the most widely prescribed pain medications include: stomach bleeding, nausea, constipation, dizziness, vomiting, drowsiness, heart attack and stroke.

While battlefield acupuncture is not purposely designed to replace standard medical care for war-related injuries, its abilities to assist in pain relief and often eliminate the need for pain medication for acute and chronic pain without the risk of side effects makes it a safe, cheap, simple and effective opportunity for relief.

Soldiers, veterans and military personnel suffering from various ailments including PTSD, TBIs, depression and physical injuries now have the option of managing their pain using an alternative technique that has none of the dangerous side effects that psychiatric and pharmaceutical drugs are known to produce. Not only are there virtually no complications, patients are subjected to little or no discomfort.

Battlefield acupuncture is not only very easy to learn, it can be taught to anyone in an extremely short period of time. The procedure allows a provider to expect good results within minutes after the completion of a treatment.

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