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Veterans Can Find Relief and Recovery with Acupuncture

Veterans Can Find Relief and Recovery with Acupuncture

You would be hard pressed to find a warrior who didn’t come home wounded; either physically, emotionally, or more likely, both. Those who serve our country often return carrying the weight of their experiences, unable to find solace due to their deep emotional scars. 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 11%-20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year. And many veterans grapple with chronic pain, depression, and other physical and emotional ailments long after they leave the battlefield.

Where traditional medicine has proved less than effective, acupuncture offers a holistic approach to healing that can resonate deeply with the veteran community.  Acupuncture, an ancient practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate healing. While initially met with skepticism, its efficacy in alleviating a range of conditions has garnered increasing recognition within the medical community.

For veterans, acupuncture proves promising in addressing both physical and psychological challenges. Studies have shown that acupuncture can effectively reduce the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression by promoting relaxation, regulating neurotransmitters, and rebalancing the body’s energy flow.

Acupuncture also offers tangible relief from chronic pain — an affliction that plagues many veterans, often stemming from injuries sustained in combat or repetitive stress. By targeting key pressure points, acupuncture not only mitigates pain but also enhances the body’s natural healing mechanisms, fostering long-term recovery.

Acupuncture’s Impact on Veterans

Acupuncture is one of the complementary and integrative health (CIH) approaches within the VHA Whole Health System of Care. This allows acupuncture care to be covered by the Veterans medical benefits package, when clinically necessary, as determined by the patient’ care team. In February 2018, a Qualification Standard was published that permitted licensed acupuncturists to be hired to provide acupuncture care at VA Medical Centers. 

And acupuncture is proving to be a valuable asset to the veteran community. A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that veterans who received acupuncture treatment experienced significant reductions in PTSD symptoms compared to those who did not. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving chronic pain conditions such as back pain, migraines, and arthritis. And the Veterans Health Administration has increasingly integrated acupuncture into its healthcare services, recognizing its potential to complement conventional treatments and improve overall well-being. 

Acupuncture offers veterans a path to recovery that transcends the limitations of conventional medicine. For those warriors looking for relief from both the seen and unseen burdens of service, acupuncture offers hope for true emotional and physical healing. 

If you are curious about what acupuncture has to offer, check out this VA Fact Sheet. If you have tried conventional medicine and have not found relief, consider acupuncture as a companion in your fight to achieve wellness. Call the VA and get a better understanding of your benefits and what acupuncture can bring to your care team.

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