Saturday, January 31, 2009

Military Progress on CAM

The Air Force runs the military's only acupuncture clinic but beginning in March they'll begin a pilot program to prepare 44 Air Force, Navy and Army doctors to use acupuncture as part of emergency care in frontline hospitals. They will not be using traditional Chinese acupuncture but a modified form called battlefield acupuncture which uses shorter needles to allow personnel to wear helmets. The needles are applied just to the outer ear, not the entire body, so it's a simplified auricular therapy.

The real benefit is that if the military benefits from using this modified acupuncture for pain in war zones like Iraq and Afganistan then its benefits will likely be more accepted back home by civilians.

If found it interesting that the article in today's Dallas Morning News sat next to an article on how the FDA's medical advisors are urging a ban on the prescription drug Darvon that's been used to treat pain for 50 years. It continues to be one of the 25 most commonly prescribed drugs today but in 2007 there were 503 deaths from the drug. It's an interesting contrast to acupuncture which has been used safely for 5,000 years.

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