Acupuncturists Without Borders, our national partner, has taken mobile acupuncture clinics to disaster zones and has started a nationwide group of veterans clinics. The research and anecdotal reports of these treatments show how important self-care is for people who risk their lives and health for the country's safety.
Acupuncture is part of a 2000 year old (or more) medical tradition which originated in China. Acupuncture has remained the primary health care modality in the Eastern world. While most of its practice has remained in Asia, in the past 50 years, its use and acceptance in the United States, Canada and Europe has seen unprecendented growth.
Acupuncture can help alleviate signs of post combat stress. These include bad dreams, flashbacks, worrying, feeling alone, trouble sleeping, feeling on edge, anger.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, published a study that indicates acupuncture provides treatment effects similar to group cognitive behavioral therapy. The difference is that talk therapy requires retelling and reliving past memories.
Another advantage to group acupuncture treatments is that veterans are not placed in the government health care system, enabling them to seek treatment anonymously.
The RAND Corporation released a 500-page report that states nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Only a little more than half seek have sought treatment.
Treating post traumatic stress and depression will cost as much as $6.2 billion in the first two years following deployment.
Community-style acupuncture, where people are treated in a group, provides needed relief in cost-effective numbers.
Let's help our troops return to life state-side. It improves their lives, their familes, and their communities.
In 1983, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study concluded that about 15% of men and 9% of women vets of Vietnam had PTSD. Further, 30% of men and 27% of women had PTSD at some point following Vietnam.
The Persian Gulf War, though brief, resulted in PTSD rates of 9% to 24% among vets that were deployed.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the majority of soldiers have witnessed some kind of combat stress:
Information about these statistics may be found at About.com.
We cannot expect our veterans to easily readjust to life at home.