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An Unlikely Pair: The Army and Acupuncture

Listening to NPR this morning, I almost choked on my toothbrush: the US military is using acupuncture to treat chronic pain.

Not known for its liberal leanings, the defense department is deploying alternative medicine as a weapon against chronic pain. Well, not all wings of the military; just the Air Force has an acupuncture clinic, which it opened in 2002. While the army used to rely solely on medication to treat chronic pain, they have found acupuncture to have minimal to no side affects, no complications, and no interactions with pharmaceuticals. One soldier, experiencing phantom leg pain post-amputation, explained that in the short term acupuncture treated the pain more effectively and more quickly than medication, but admitted that needling might not have a long lasting effect on the pain. He said the acupuncture left him euphoric, where pain meds leave him loopy.

The military advises that acupuncture is by no means a replacement for western medicine, but a great complement to existing techniques to ease the pain of injured soldiers. Have you ever been needled? What is your take on acupuncture?

Join The Conversation
Acufinder Acufinder 7 years
Acupuncture is NOT "leaning to the left" in any way. It is effective and affordable. Good job, Air force!
sarahm73 sarahm73 7 years
I recently tried acupuncture for the first time and am now a huge fan. My midwife suggested it to help me go into labor. I had spent weeks going back and forth to the hospital with contractions that weren't doing anything. One acupuncture session later and I had my beautiful baby girl. I was in labor 3 hours after the session. Awesome!
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
I've never had acupuncture, but if I would definitely be willing to try it if it were recommended to me for a medical reason.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I used to be skeptical about it, but I have a friend who says it has worked wonders.
BeautifulHealth BeautifulHealth 8 years
I have not been "needled," but would like to try it. I have read a lot about acupuncture and think it sounds like a great option for various ailments. I am actually currently reading "The Web That Has No Weaver," which is about traditional Chinese medicine, to learn even more and maybe even go back to school to become an Oriental Medicine Practitioner.
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