Veterans of the armed forces frequently return home with a variety of physical, emotional, and mental challenges related to their tours of duty. What’s more, service members rarely present with only one health problem. The difficulties in treating veterans and their often complex medical concerns were outlined in a 2014 research study.
“Veterans of all war eras have a high rate of chronic disease, mental health disorders, and chronic multi-symptom illnesses (CMI).(1-3) Many veterans report symptoms that affect multiple biological systems as opposed to isolated disease states. Standard medical treatments often target isolated disease states such as headaches, insomnia, or back pain and at times may miss the more complex, multisystem dysfunction that has been documented in the veteran population. Research has shown that veterans have complex symptomatology involving physical, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral disturbances, such as difficult to diagnose pain patterns, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, or neurocognitive dysfunction. (2-4) Meditation and acupuncture are each broad-spectrum treatments designed to target multiple biological systems simultaneously, and thus, may be well suited for these complex chronic illnesses. The emerging literature indicates that complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) approaches augment standard medical treatments to enhance positive outcomes for those with chronic disease, mental health disorders, and CMI. (5-12.)” source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25105073/
As Western medicine and research increasingly recognize the powerful benefits of acupuncture, more and more Veterans are turning to this ancient healing modality. The VA understands the value of acupuncture, recognizing that “acupuncture is often associated with pain management, but it also may be useful for other conditions… An evidence map of acupuncture was developed by VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) in 2014. This systematic review identified evidence of potentially positive effects for several pain conditions, including chronic pain and headaches, mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, and wellness indicators such as insomnia.”
If you are a military veteran and you are suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and/or insomnia, acupuncture can help! Best of all, acupuncture comes without the dangerous side effects associated with pain and sleep medications. Read on to learn more about how acupuncture can promote healing!
By balancing the production of melatonin, serotonin, and endorphins — which affect sleep as well as mood, stress, and pain — acupuncture helps people with insomnia and sleep problems. According to research, 90% of patients who had acupuncture for insomnia saw a significant improvement. There were improvements in falling asleep more quickly, higher levels of uninterrupted sleep through the night, and an average of 3 hours higher sleep duration a night.
Pain management is one of the main reasons that veterans seek acupuncture treatment. This is not surprising, as it is estimated that acupuncture has helped ease chronic pain in up to 85% of people who have utilized this powerful healing modality. Acupuncture works to relieve pain by releasing the body’s natural painkilling hormones, known as endorphins. Acupuncture has been found to be an effective treatment for many chronic pain conditions, including back pain, knee pain, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, and more.
ANXIETY, PTSD & DEPRESSION
According to research, acupuncture can treat the signs and symptoms of PTSD, sadness, and anxiety by influencing the autonomic nervous system, neurotransmitters, and the prefrontal and limbic brain regions. In a study involving veterans, there were significant improvements in physiological responses as well as less startle reactions. According to additional research studies, acupuncture can help PTSD sufferers with their anxiety, despair, and sleep problems.
Kimberly Netling (NPI1649865619) of VIM Acupuncture is an in-network provider with Optum VA Community Care Network (CCN). Any veteran that has authorization for acupuncture can receive treatments that are completely covered at our facility. Contact us to learn more!