Archive for alternative medicine

Aid Station Acupuncture… Revisited

Posted in Anything else, Military, skepticism with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2009 by 556caliberatheist

Recently one of my Soldiers went to the Aid Station to help him alleviate his lower back pain. He’s had lower back pain for the past few months. He’s seen several doctors and physical therapists, been on plenty of medications: Nothing.

One of our Medical Officers offered to treat his back pain with acupuncture. I did not express much skepticism for a few reasons. 1) He is an Officer, I am lower enlisted and 2) I was afraid that any doubt on my behalf may negate any positive effect from the treatment, placebo or otherwise.

So here they are, fresh off my camera:

AA1

Beginning of the treatment. The pain was on either side of the spine in the lower back.

AA2

Inserting more needles.

AA3

The needles were proper sterile acupuncture needles and inserted about 5/8ths to 3/4ths of an inch into the affected muscles.

4

The provider had a small electrical device to stimulate the acupuncture needles electrically. The device had several knobs and switches to adjust the current which I believe pulsed.

3

Applying the eletrical stimulation to the needles.

2

Adjusting the current to the needles. When a current was applied through the needles the muscles with the needles spasmed.

The treatment only took about 3-5 minutes to apply and the patient was instructed to lay and relax for about 20 minutes while the electrical device applied current to the needles.The provider and I kicked back and talked about acupuncture and the theory on it’s mechanisms and medicinal properties. Like I said, I did a good job of hiding my skepticism. I managed to squeeze out little nuggets of information from the provider. He mentioned several times that he himself was not sure how it worked. He also mentioned that he was quiet skeptical about acupuncture until he took classes on Reflexology (!).

I don’t know what to make of it but again, I see very little harm. Hopefully, even if it is placebo, this procedure can help this Soldier with his pain.

Happy Armistice Day everyone!