Sunday, October 18, 2009

Comprehensive Military PTSD Treatment Programs

I wanted to sneak this in here because after walking around the polytrauma unit in the VA this week, my aspirations to use my nurse practitioner and acupuncture skills in this population grew exponentially. The Louisville VA is one of the best in the country - the staff is always smiling and polite and the hospital itself is holding up well when they could have let it go to pot since plans are in the works for a new facility. The time may be ripe for a proposal, especially since it is a growing trend.

Acupuncture Today
November, 2009, Vol. 10, Issue 11

Comprehensive Military PTSD Treatment Programs

By Joe C. Chang, MAOM, Dipl. OM, LAc

So far, there are four comprehensive posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress treatment programs in the U.S. Army that have incorporated different CAM approaches in their treatment programs.

Many of these comprehensive programs started as a result of the Ft. Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center, near El Paso, Texas. This integrative approach treats many of the symptoms of PTSD that are not addressed through the standard mental health protocols that included cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy. The Ft. Bliss program incorporated medical massage, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, marital/family therapy and Reiki with standard treatment protocols . Additionally, soldiers go through a daily 45-minute "power walk" and play water polo three times a week.

At the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program at Ft. Hood (near Killeen, Texas), their intensive, combat-stress three-week program focuses on the reduction of hyperarousal and reactivity. Reducing these core symptoms of combat stress and posttraumatic stress disorder allows other treatments to be more effective. The program includes group counseling, biofeedback, individual counseling and alternative therapies (massage, acupuncture, yoga and Reiki).

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hallelujah, Proof Is Here!

Some said they did not believe in bacteria until they saw it under a microscope. Later others doubted the atom until the advent of the electron microscope. Now, we have the chance to prove meridians exist through light conduction studies. Can proof og Qi be far behind? We shall see!

New scientific breakthrough proves why acupuncture works

New groundbreaking research shows that the insertion of an acupuncture needle into the skin disrupts the branching point of nerves called C fibres. These C fibres transmit low-grade sensory information over very long distances by using Merkel cells as intermediaries. Dr. Morry Silberstein of the Curtin University of Technology will publish his research in the Journal of Theoretical Biology later this year.

Dr. Silberstein mentions that they have known, for some time, that the acupuncture points show lower electrical resistance than other nearby areas of the skin. His research specifically pinpoints that the C fibres actually branch exactly at acupuncture points. Scientists don’t know exactly what role C fibres play in the nervous system, but Dr. Silverstein theorizes that the bundle of nerves exists to maintain arousal or wakefulness. The insertion of the acupuncture needle disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain.”

Russian researchers in 1991 at The Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Novosibirsk, USSR, in a research project lasting several years, discovered how the human body conducts light. They found that the light conducting ability of the human body exists only along the meridians, and can enter and exit only along the acupuncture points. Dr. Kaznachejew, a professor of physics said:

“This seems to prove that we have a light transferal system in our body somewhat likeoptical fiber. It appears that the light can even travel when the light canal is bent, or totally twisted. The light appears to be reflected from the inner surface, appearing to go in some sort of zigzag track. You can explain this through traditional electromagnetic light theory as it is used in optical fiber communications.”

This finding has been confirmed by a 1992 study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a 2005 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine where moxibustion and infrared thermography were used to trace meridian pathways.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Acupuncture for Caesarean Prevention and Healthy Delivery

Given the generous litigation latitude in Kentucky that is driving competent OBGYNs out of the state and preventing Midwifes from practicing in it at all, I doubt we will see acupuncturists in the hospital delivery room here anytime soon. With an unpublished C-section rate of 40% in one of our area hospitals and a total disdain for natural childbirth from many staff members (I have actually heard comments such as "there is nothing natural about natural childbirth" and "you have to push harder, I don't have all day"), I abhor having to tell moms to be that I can't help them out with pain management on the special day. With hope, there will be more advocates like Debra Betts who can help women have safe, healthy childbirth without having to go under the knife.

Oct 09, 2009 03:30 ET

Studies Show That Acupuncture Decreases Caesarean Rates

Acubalance Wellness Centre of Vancouver presents Debra Betts, an international expert, educator and author of the Essential Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Childbirth.

There are more and more studies showing that acupuncture can decrease the rates of caesarean delivery. This fits right into the new campaign launched by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) to 'normalize' childbirth and reduce Canada's soaring caesarean section rate."

The SOGC claims 20% fewer caesarean sections could be performed if doctors and hospitals followed guidelines aimed at lowering unnecessary surgeries and if women had support during labour.

Studies have shown that women receiving prebirth acupuncture compared to a control group had:

- An overall 35% reduction in the number of inductions (for women having their first baby this was a 43% reduction)

- A 31% reduction in the epidural rate

- A 32% reduction in emergency caesarean delivery

Breech birth, where the baby is delivering bottom-first rather than head first, is one area under scrutiny by the SOGC. They say that women should have an option to deliver vaginally with a breech presentation rather than have an automatic caesarean delivery. Moxibustion, an ancient Chinese treatment that involves heating acupuncture points with the Chinese herb called mugwort, has been used to turn breech babies for centuries. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that, at 35 weeks gestation, 75.4% of the babies in the intervention group (whose mothers had received moxibustion) had changed to a head-down position versus 47.7% in the control group.

According to Betts, acupuncture during pregnancy helps numerous conditions, including: nausea, high blood pressure, back pain and cervical ripening (which helps shorten labour), and can naturally induce labour.

One thing that Betts is particularly excited about teaching is acupressure for pain management during labour. "We know that if women can manage their pain there is less drugs, less intervention and far fewer C sections." says Betts. "What's important is that these acupressure points are easy to use, can be used at the beginning of labour by the support people, and that there are consistent effects. From my own clinical followup, 86% used it successfully in labour to significantly reduce their pain."