US Air Force relying on acupuncture for pain relief

December 19th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) Medical acupuncture, performed by a clinical physician, is being used increasingly for pain control by the US Air Force (USAF). The technique developed by Richard Niemtzow, editor-in-chief of Medical Acupuncture, has been so successful that the USAF will begin teaching “Battlefield Acupuncture” to physicians deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in early 2009. “Battlefield Acupuncture” can relieve severe, long lasting pain.

Based on modern neurophysiological concepts, Niemtzow developed a variation of acupuncture that involves inserting very tiny semi-permanent needles into very specific points in the skin on the ear to block pain signals from reaching the brain.

This method can lessen the need for pain medications that may cause adverse or allergic reactions or addiction, said an USAF release.

“This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence,” said Niemtzow, a consultant for complementary and alternative medicine for the Surgeon General of the Air Force, and is affiliated with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

“The pain can be gone in five minutes,” he added.

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