The U.S. military has added the ancient holistic therapy of acupuncture to its arsenal for fighting opioid abuse in the ranks.
The practice, which first originated in China about 8,000 years ago, provides immediate relief for acute and chronic pain, and, without the risk of addiction, can be used without any restrictions.
One of the most popular forms used in the military has been dubbed ‘battlefield acupuncture,’ or BFA, because it’s simple to administer and easily transportable, according to Dr. Richard Niemtzow, who developed BFA in 2001. With BFA, service members can continue to participate, unimpaired, in work and life.
“They don’t have to wait hours for medications to take maximal effect or endure side effects, like drowsiness or allergic reactions, of common pain medications,” said Air Force Col. Lynda Vu, who recently administered BFA while deployed in Qatar. “This allows personnel to go back to the fight with minimal impact to continuing mission operations.”