Acupuncture and Veterans – Post Traumatic Stress

Acupuncture & Nutrition Clinic Treats Soldiers and Veterans on Donation Basis

Contact Us Now About Acupuncture for VeteransWe now offer treatment on a donation basis to active soldiers and retired war veterans at her clinic suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which includes symptoms such as insomnia, balance problems, headaches, and pain from injuries sustained while in military service. As the number of soldiers increases, we will be looking for a location where she can treat more soldiers at one time with the help of additional acupuncturists. “This is my way of giving back to the community to those who risk their lives every day to ensure our freedom and safety,” remarks Propis.

Reports are indicating that the War in Iraq is producing record numbers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst veterans. This is due largely to the fact that there are no combat free zones in Iraq and soldiers are on high alert every moment of every day. The Iraqi War is unique in this aspect and it takes a terrible toll on the soldiers, contractors, medical community and others who are working hard there. Large numbers of soldiers are not seeking treatment due to stigma of mental health disorders within the military. Additionally, soldiers must manage the often severe physical pain of injuries sustained in combat.

Stress is now identified with failures in the body, in other words, our ability or inability to handle stress manifests in the body. Much of the work of Dr. Mehmet Oz, Oprahs’ now famous TV doc who also went to Harvard, Wharton and University of Pennsylvania, focuses on this very idea. Chronic stress produces excess cortisol and adrenalin in the body, which has a negative physical effect. Cortisol creates worry or fear and vigilance, which produces anxiety. Adrenalin or the fight-or-flight hormone physically prepares the body to react to a threat. Overproduction of these hormones will often interfere with the body’s ability to react to stress.

Retired Iraqi War Veteran, Scott, was active in both Desert Shield / Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007). He was a platoon/patrol medic who had completed more than 250 missions during his service there. In March and August of 2007, after his armored vehicle was hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), Scott was twice rendered unconscious. He suffers from PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which left him with balance problems, vision impairment, constant headaches and anxiety.

After seeking conventional medical and rehabilitative treatment, two fellow soldiers treated by the Acupuncture and Nutrition Clinic, whose conditions drastically improved with acupuncture, recommended it to Scott. For the first time in months, he noticed an immediate reduction in the headaches and sense of relaxation and well-being. “The acupuncture is the first real relief of the constant headaches I’ve had in months. Many brothers know that something remains wrong with their bodies, but often problems go undiagnosed and symptoms persist. Acupuncture is such a simple and effective treatment for so many issues in the body,” remarks Scott.

Chuck, an Iraqi War Veteran, served in the US Army in Afghanistan in 2006. While on patrol with his platoon, their truck was ambushed and hit by three RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades), one of which hit nearly two feet above his head and threw him 30 feet into a wall. He sustained shrapnel to the face and hands knocking him unconscious. Since then, Chuck has suffered from migraines, sleep disorder, PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). For the last two years, he has not slept more than 2 to 3 hours per night.

After Chuck’s first treatment with acupuncture, he took a four-hour nap, was also able to sleep seven hours that evening and was migraine free for nearly three weeks. His dependence on prescription medication to sleep and self-medication with alcohol was not necessary either. Admits Chuck, “In the Army, it’s a matter of pride and most don’t want to admit anything is wrong.” Because of this, many soldiers are living with serious pain and immobility. To only take donations from us shows where their heart is,” adds Chuck.

Scott and Chuck participated in Project Victory, a privately funded, free program that works with military personnel and veterans of recent military service, who have screened positively for or have been diagnosed with mild to severe traumatic brain injury or post concussive symptoms while in combat or stateside. Propis is working with Project Victory to provide nutrition counseling and acupuncture as part of an aggressive treatment, which also includes cognitive, physical and behavioral rehabilitation.

Pain is the body’s way of saying that something is not right and needs attention, which is invaluable. Conversely, pain can diminish mobility, productivity and the ability to freely enjoy life. Pain is a subjective and complex condition that eludes few people.

Pain is typically addressed or managed in several ways: Interventional procedures and surgery; medication; physical therapy or chiropractics; psychological counseling; and alternative therapies and acupuncture. Pain often comes in the forms of acute and chronic. Acute pain is typically a result of disease, inflammation or damage to tissue and is stimulated by trauma or surgery. It can also be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress.

Chronic pain is long-term and can be exasperated by environmental and psychological factors. It is often resistant to many forms of medical treatment. It is this type of pain that diminishes our quality of life over time. Chronic pain is often referred to as the disease itself. Periods of both physical pain and stress can also produce depression.

“Acupuncture is an effective way to bring the body back into balance”. It is a more than 2000 year-old Chinese system of healing that places very fine needles in strategic areas of the body to promote healing of its unhealthy parts. The flow of Qi (chee) and blood through established channels or meridians in the body is stimulated by placing a small needle in a specific area to bring more Qi and blood to the painful area. Qi is not definable in western medical terminology. It signifies movement or energy. The reason for most ailments is some kind of blockage in the body; the system is gridlocked. Stimulating the Qi and blood opens avenues to allow the body to heal itself.

Both pain and stress are often treated with prescription drugs and while largely effective in providing relief, side effects can often prove to be a downside.

“Patients should get a firm western diagnosis and then seek treatment options. I am often referred patients by physicians and always defer to them when it comes to medication.” Acupuncture has been a proven method for stimulating the production of neurotransmitters in the brain such as monoamines and endorphins. Monoamines are commonly referred to as serotonin and norepinephrine. Double blind studies have confirmed that acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy treatments, and often used in combined treatments plans. Acupuncture in conjunction with herbology (herbal medicine) can also help wean patients off of medication.

“I met the folks at the Acupuncture and Nutrition Clinic in the Acupuncture without Borders Program where they providing services to military personnel and veterans who have experienced trauma while defending our country. My program, Vets Journey Home, has hosted several soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. Most of these soldiers are their patients. These soldiers talked about the great benefits of her treatment, “more calm, relaxed, better sleep with overall sense of wellbeing”.However the greatest benefit for these soldiers has been pain management. They are all amazed at their generosity at providing this service for free. One soldier got me to sign up with the Acupuncture and Nutrition Clinic for help with my Viet Nam trauma. The experience has been incredible. I now know exactly what my soldiers meant. I am very grateful to them, thank them for them service to our military and highly recommend them.”
Sam Luna, Vietnam Veteran
Director at Vet’s Journey Home

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For more information on acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine or general nutritional health, please call 713-721-7755 or fill out the form below to arrange an appointment.

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