What, When & Where is it?
For two hours on Wednesdays, from 5 – 7 we are opening our doors to Veterans and Active duty military and their families to come and experience acupuncture for FREE. We are located in San Diego, just off Miramar Blvd, between the 805 and 15 Freeways at 7940 Silverton Ave. Suite 110.
Yikes! Why would I want to get stuck with needles?
That’s a question that a lot of people have, and rightfully so. People generally have an aversion to sharp things, it’s natural. Furthermore acupuncture is a very strange idea. It almost sounds too good to be true, that sticking pins into strategic points on the body can treat a variety of issues, from pain to post-traumatic stress, to hormone imbalances. Let me address these concerns before we move on.
Acupuncture is NOT about needles. Acupuncture is about stimulating the body to heal itself and restore optimal functioning. The thing is, needles make a very useful tool for a couple of reasons. First of all they are metal. Metal conducts electricity, acupuncture points are access points into a multi-functional information grid.
This information grid is a neuro-myo-fascial tissue complex and is comprised of nerves
(“neuro”), muscles (“myo”) , and fascial tissue. Stimulating these points creates a signal to the body’s core communication network and has the effect of stimulating self-regulatory mechanisms in the body.
A second reason why a needle is an excellent tool for stimulating the self healing mechanisms of the body is that it can safely pierce the skin. This simple act of piercing the skin calls the immune system into action. Experts from nearly any field, medicine, military, sports… would agree that a strong defense is essential to winning, whether it’s winning the game, winning the war or winning a greater quality of life.
How Does Acupuncture work for PTSD?
Acupuncture treatment for PTSD uses a form of acupuncture known as “auriculotherapy” which is a fancy Latin way to say “Ear Acupuncture” A specific protocol was introduced in 2001 by Dr. Richard Niemtzow for use in combat situations. This protocol is known as “Battlefield Acupuncture” and has been found to be extremely successful for pain-relief as well as in the treatment of PTSD.
Background: The Ear
There are over 300 points on the ear. The ear is known as a micro-system. Specific regions of the brain are mapped to specific points on the ear. We are learning that specific parts of the brain have specific functions. The ear is like a computer keyboard that can connect via small nerve and blood pathways to the brain computer which of course is the master computer of the body.
Background: The Brain
One of the key points in the “Battlefield Acupuncture” Protocol is the Thalamus. The thalamus is like a major multimedia system. It takes the sensory information from the sense organs and mixes it with the emotional information from the limbic system along with stress signals from the autonomic nervous system and projects this mix onto the cerebral cortex where it is perceived as reality.
Background: Traumatic Stress
When the body is exposed to stress it responds with a release of hormones and bio-chemicals that makes it possible for the individual to deal with the stressful situation. Adrenalin is released from the adrenal glands, heightening sensory capabilities to hair-trigger status and enabling the individual to accomplish extraordinary things. This is the well-known “fight or flight” response.
What can happen in a traumatic situation is that the because of the intensity of the experience it makes a significant neuro-chemical imprint and it is like the system gets caught in a kind of a loop: Memories of the sights and sounds of horrific situations and the attendant emotional soundtrack continue to replay upon the perception screen of the cerebral cortex. The individual can feel like they are in a constant state of stress even when the environment is no longer truly stressful.
Acupuncture for Post Traumatic Stress
By needling the acupuncture point in the ear, signals are sent to specific regions of the brain. These new, neutral, signals allow the neural circuitry to reset itself. It requires no mental re-creation of the trauma, there is no need to “talk it out”, and all it requires is the ability to sit quietly for about 20 – 30 minutes. Treatment is done in a chair in a casual setting there is no need to lie on a treatment table. After needling the points, small seeds, (vaccaria) are taped to the pressure points. This allows the soldier to continue the therapy on his or her own for several days post-acupuncture, thereby extending the effectiveness of the treatment. The taped seeds usually fall off after a few showers.
Happy Hour? Will there be alcohol?
No. One of the great attractions of alcohol is that it can be used for its suppressive effects on the Central Nervous System as a means of reducing stress. Unfortunately, as everybody knows, alcohol is a toxic substance that can lead to a variety of trouble with overuse and dependency. “Ear Acupuncture” can both relax and detoxify.
Free? Why are you doing this for Free?
I am offering this out of respect for the men and women who have volunteered to serve our country. It is one small way I feel I can give back in a meaningful way. I have heard Kafkaesque horror stories of vets trying to get much-needed medical care. This is also a way to offer direct access to care without the red-tape.