Saturday, July 8, 2017

Acupuncture for Veterans: Treating the Internal Wounds of War

Studies say that 1 in 5 soldiers comes back from combat suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Many times they are not initially aware that there is anything wrong, it is their family members who notice first. Maybe they are depressed or anxious. Maybe they are having nightmares or trouble sleeping. Maybe they are self medicating with alcohol, drugs or even getting frequent speeding tickets. Maybe they are struggling to "fit back in" to their pre-combat lives. PTSD doesn't always show up in overtly recognizable ways, sometimes it is more subtle, something only a husband or wife would notice; their military spouse just seems "off" and "not themselves." Acupuncture is a treatment that helps reset the nervous system, getting you out of "fight or flight" and back to feeling calm and centered again.

At Veterans Acupuncture Care (VAC) Metrowest, we see veterans who have fought in every war or conflict ranging from WWII to the present and have varying degrees of emotional pain and scarring. We also treat family members because PTSD doesn't only affect the person in trauma, but everyone they interact with as well. Stress and anxiety are human emotions and can affect everyone, no matter how strong they are.

The men and women who come to our clinic often enter a bit agitated and chatty, then within minutes all the talk settles down and there is just quiet. Their eyes close, they lean back into the wing chairs and many fall asleep. You can see the release of all of the worries, turmoil and internal unrest as ease takes over their bodies. You can feel the deep relaxation in the room and see the peaceful expressions take over their faces. I am grateful that I possess the ability to give this gift to those who have given so much to our country in the name of freedom.

When we opened in 2008, our idea was to help the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan get back to their regular lives. The VA hospitals at the time (and now) were inundated with people looking for help but finding they would have to wait weeks, sometimes months, to see a mental health professional. As acupuncturists we had an effective treatment to offer right now. In 2010 we decided to open our doors to First Responders too (Police, Fire, EMT), both active and retired, because they are our local soldiers, fighting daily battles, not knowing what they are walking into each time they get a call.

Auricular Acupuncture is a simple way to treat internal wounds without the client needing to talk about or relive their experience. The acupuncturist places 5 needles in each ear for the purpose of balancing the nervous system and creating a deep sense of well being. All the client needs to do is receive the treatment. Initially the effects are short lived, maybe a few hours up to a few days, but with continued treatment the effects last longer and longer. Many people report an improvement in mood and an increased ability to cope better with daily life. Clients experience improved sleep, less teeth grinding, and much less anxiety through the week.

Our clinic is located at 3 Maple Street in Framingham, MA and is open every Saturday (excluding holidays) from 10am-12pm. All treatments are free, no appointments are necessary, just walk in. For more information about this clinic, go to To find other clinics around the country, go to

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