Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Support for Boston

As a former Bostonian (well Brookline-ian at any rate) the events at the Marathon on 4/15 hit close to home. Many people were hurt, some killed by a completely senseless act. This can leave one feeling anxious, unsure and downright scared. Acupuncturists in and around New England are offering up their services to help anyone suffering from PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can have symptoms ranging from agitation and anxiety to insomnia, hyper-vigilance, trouble relaxing or feeling calm in one's body, or even emotional numbness. These symptoms can present immediately after a trauma (Acute Traumatic Stress), but can often not show up for a few weeks to a month later.

Acupuncture has an amazing ability to help the body out of a state of Fight or Flight, and back into a state of feeling in control. The NADA protocol (created by Michael Smith and used by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) is a very simple treatment that uses 5 acupuncture points in each of the patient's ears. This protocol acts like a "reset button" for the nervous system. It helps people feel better physically and emotionally without having to talk about or relive the trauma. Counseling and talk therapy can help one make sense of an event like the Boston Marathon bombings, but the trauma itself can stay lodged in one's body. People can get re-triggered and re-traumatized long after the initial event has passed. This is what many soldiers experience after having fought in a war. During the war they can compartmentalize their emotions and do the job they need to do. PTSD often sets in after they have been home for a few months, once they've had some time outside of the chaotic environment and things start to sink in. This can also happen to First Responders (Police, Firefighters, EMTs or other emergency workers), who never know what kind of scene they are approaching.

Humans have emotions. Turning them off temporarily is an effective coping technique to help someone do a job that might be horrific but needs to be done to save a life, for example. But, when the dust settles and the emotions kick back in, it can sometimes be more than one person can bear. Getting support and realizing that you are not alone can help one's peace of mind.

I co-founded Veterans Acupuncture Care (VAC) Metrowest in 2008 (with Christine Lee) to support veterans, active military and their family members with stress and trauma. In 2010 we opened our doors to First Responders, both active and retired, and their family members. The people who serve our country and its people both locally and abroad need support too; VAC is a group of volunteer acupuncturists who offer some of that support.

In light of the recent events in Boston, VAC Metrowest is opening the doors to anyone affected directly or indirectly by the bombings. If you or a loved one feel traumatized by these events, and you live in the Boston/Metrowest area, feel free to come in for a free treatment on one or all of the following dates: 4/20, 4/27, 5/4 and 5/11. Our clinic is located at St. Andrew's Church, 3 Maple Street in Framingham and our hours are 10a-noon, last seating is at 11:30am. All walk-in, no appointments are necessary.

For more information about what we do, please go to If you are not in this area and would like to find support closer to home, New England School of Acupuncture has set up a database of acupuncturists volunteering their services in and around New England.

The events at the Marathon were horrible. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. May your healing be swift and complete, physically, mentally and emotionally.


  1. The treatment is not recommended for people suffering from bleeding disorders and patients on blood thinners.
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    1. That is correct, however there are alternate methods, like press seeds, that can be used instead of needles with equally beneficial results.

  2. Before selecting acupuncture points for treatment you should already have established a diagnosis based on Chinese Medicine principles..
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  3. Jeff, these treatments are purely NADA protocol for stress and trauma. It is a tried and true treatment that is used all over the world for just this purpose. Sure a TCM diagnosis would lead to a more specific treatment if someone was coming into my office, but for treating large amounts of people, and giving them powerful relief from PTSD, NADA protocol stands on its own very well.