This week, I attended a talk in Bristol about Battlefield Acupuncture. It is a protocol of five points that can be used on the ear, which can easily be done in difficult conditions, such as on the battlefield. It was developed in 2001 by an American military acupuncturist Richard Niemtzow. It involves the use of a very specific type of needle, a gold coated ASP semi-permanent needle which can be left in the ear.
In situations of acute pain, the needles are inserted one by one and in between needling, the patient is asked to move around and see if their pain subsides. If there is no change, the next needle is inserted and the patient is asked to move again. The reduction in pain has to be at least a 40% to 50% decrease. Then the needling is stopped and the patient keeps the needles in for the next few days.
The acupuncturist who gave the talk, had some really positive example of how it had helped her patients and I am looking forward to using this technique in my practice. It sounds dramatic, especially with it’s history of use in battlefield situations, lets see how it works in Tilehurst !