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The Pentagon and US military are using Acupuncture. Why?

Back in 2009, a groundbreaking article came out from “WIRED” relating to alternative therapies.

That article, detailed how the Pentagon was researching “the introduction of acupuncture to the combat zone.”

It also states that “As for acupuncture, it’s arguably the most studied of the three: A recent meta-analysis of dozens of studies concluded that Acupuncture really can outdo placebo where pain relief is concerned”.

Even those in the medical field, who can sometimes be skeptics, have found enormous benefit with Acupuncture. Combat medic Tony Bailes, in relation to his experience with acupuncture, mentions that he had tried everything else for his chronic Back pain and that after seeking it out:

“My back pain was gone” in two weeks. Apparently he “found the experience so remarkable, he’s decided to pursue a career in acupuncture.” (1)

Then in 2010 was another article with the headline “Doctors Use Acupuncture as Newest Battlefield Tool”.

More recently, a similar article that “U.S. Naval battalion becomes first to use battlefield acupuncture” (4), strengthened the perception that military organisations were taking Acupuncture much more seriously.

And now, in the midst of the “opioid epidemic”, battlefield acupuncture is becoming even more important for the support, or management of pain conditions. The opioid crisis has largely become an important issue, because of how addictive some of the pharmaceutical interventions can be and how relying this can make people on them. These dependancy issues can have implications on overdose and suicide.

One of the latest articles from The Epoch Times, states that the “US Military Is Using a Unique Formulation of Acupuncture to Relieve Pain and Avoid Opioids”. The article states that “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1999, 841,000 people have died of drug overdoses” (6)

In Australia, approximately 900 people die from similar instances of opioid overdose (7).

So, why acupuncture?

From my perspective, the use of both ear Acupuncture and body Acupuncture is remarkably safe and can be applied very quickly in many settings, with equipment that is mobile and easy to transport.

Also, the effect of Acupuncture can be remarkably quick and applied to settings like military combat zones for pain relief, or equally in more supportive areas like PTSD (8) and longer term chronic pain issues.

Given how long pharmaceutical interventions have been integrated into the medical framework, the perceived benefit of “pills for pain” is hard to shake. So, mainstream adoption of Acupuncture still has a while to go.

But one things for sure. It appears the people on the front lines have entrenched the use of Acupuncture for pain, PTSD, all of which can co-exist with treatments already available.

One can only assume that providing people with more choice, is sure to provide greater outcomes.

Thanks for reading.


Acupuncture Practitioner in Hobart Tasmania


1: – Acupuncture in the Pentagon

2: – Air Force and Acupuncture

3: – Battlefield Acupuncture

4: – Battlefied Acupuncture

5: – Battlefield Acupuncture

6: – CDC and overdose of opioids.

7: – Australian Opioid Crisis.

8: – Acupuncture for PTSD

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