Acupuncture in the unlikeliest of places

Acupuncture in the unlikeliest of places

“Battlefield acupuncture” – that’s a phrase I never expected to see.

In the e-Alert “Shape of Things to Come” (10/28/08), I told you about U.S. Department of Defense research of alternative therapies. Pentagon officials have actually started investigating acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and other unconventional therapies, mostly for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, Air Force Col. Richard Niemtzow is already putting acupuncture to use. According to a recent Associated Press report, Col. Niemtzow began practicing acupuncture nearly 15 years ago at McGuire Air Force Base. He’s been developing specific battlefield acupuncture techniques since 2001.

Col. Arnyce Pock, the Air Force Medical Corps medical director, told the AP that acupuncture has clear advantages over pharmaceutical painkillers in a combat situation. Not only does acupuncture work quickly, but it also has no narcotic effect, which helps doctors more accurately assess possible brain injuries.

Dr. Niemtzow: “People say that if the military is using it, then it must be good for the civilian world.”

From your mouth to mainstream medicine’s ear, Dr. N.

“Air Force to Train Combat Docs to Use Acupuncture” Kamala Lane, Associated Press, 1/30/09,