Why the VA should hire Acupuncturists

Last week on The Brian Leher Show, he interviewed Paul Rieckhoff of Iraqi and Afganistan Veterans of America.  It was a powerful and moving discussion about taking care of our veterans as they come back from their experiences overseas.

It got me thinking about how the VA should hire licensed acupuncturist to help these men and women recover mentally and physically.  I volunteer with an organization called CRREW which offers low cost acupuncture in the University Settlement in NYC.  It began in order to help victims of 9/11.

We only volunteer one evening a week, but it had powerful effects on the community. This needs to be expanded to make a real difference.

Licensed acupuncture are good at treating all types of health problems, and we are inexpensive at that.  It would be revolutionary for the VA to hire acupuncturists across the country.  This would help people to reduce pain, improve rehabilitation, and mental health.

Ear Acupuncture Model
Ear Acupuncture Model

1. A recent study showed that acupuncture can help in the treatment of PTSD.  Incorporating auricular (ear) acupuncture is extremely low cost and effective, and can help a lot of people at the same time in a group treatment.

2. Acupuncture is widely used for chronic pain.  Veterans often have chronic pain which is poorly controlled with medications or which can leads to addictions of medications.  Acupuncture is safe and non-addictive.

3. Best of all, acupuncture is affordable.  We do not use expensive tests or equipment, it really only costs the salary of the acupuncturist and the needles.

Let’s start thinking about public health and provide acupuncture for our Veterans who are returning home.

Follow Up: At the time of writing this, I knew of a few acupuncturists who were volunteering or working with acupuncture students in a VA in Upstate NY, but never a full time or per diem position.  Since I published this post, a few people contacted me saying there was an acupuncturist at the VA (I assume in NYC), but they did not provide the contact information.  If there is an acupuncturist in the NYC VA, or another VA, please let me know and I will post your contact information.

Photo: Pelikanol

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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