Monday, August 15, 2011

An excerpt from an article on the Army's increasing use of Acupuncture in the field and in their hospitals

I knew that all the branches of the military had embraced acupuncture, but here's the latest news. The Army is adding it to Special Forces medica training, and planning to increase its use in both their forward field hospitals as well as their hospitals here in the States. I am not surprised, as acupuncture was originally battlefield medicine (the great physician-sages were also the fighting elite (think martial artists) They were Doctor-Warriors! I can't wait to show them what Daoist medicine can do! Someday . . .

If you’re in pain, some Army doctors might stick a needle in your ear.

Auricular acupuncture focuses on points in the ear, and some Army doctors who have practiced this form of pain management are looking to introduce formal training for some medics and increase its use across the Army.

“Acupuncture has been used in the Army for over a decade,” said Maj. (Dr.) David Jamison, chief of the pain clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “Since I was a resident in 2004, people were using it already, but it’s become much more mainstream. We’re using it a lot more in training more people, and we’re trying to have it be included more in our algorithms for treating pain, certainly here at Walter Reed.”

Jamison and his colleagues are developing a plan that would add auricular acupuncture training to Special Forces medic training.

“This past fall, I attended the Special Operations Medical Association annual conference and talked about several types of acupuncture,” Jamison said. “We’re trying to push out some of these methods to the field environment, and we’re trying to push it out so it can be used farther forward.”

Right now, there’s no formal training or requirement for Army medical personnel to be trained in acupuncture, auricular or otherwise. Instead, those who have the training will use it in addition to regular treatments.

“I’d say it’s not a standard of care,” Jamison said. “I use it in my practice, but it’s mainly as an adjunct to our other therapies. When I was deployed, I was at a combat support hospital, but I brought acupuncture supplies with me and lots of people loved it there.”

Auricular acupuncture would be an ideal way to introduce acupuncture to the battlefield because its basic form is easier to teach and simpler to practice than regular acupuncture, Jamison said.

“We think it can be used more in the field than it is,” he said.

You can teach someone a few basic auricular acupuncture techniques over a weekend, Jamison said. You can use traditional acupuncture needles for 20 to 30 minutes at a time or insert a small needle that’s attached to what looks like a small gold stud into the ear and the patient can leave it in for a couple of days, he said. Typically, an acupuncturist will put four or more needles in each ear.

Auricular acupuncture works, Jamison said. And with increasing acceptance of alternative therapies, he hopes this practice will become more common across the Army.

“I would say most people thought it sounded pretty strange to them maybe five years ago, but you hear a lot more about acupuncture now and there are enough people who have had it and had a good experience with it. Now people request it when they come in.”

Here's the full article if you're interested in reading further: Army On Brink of New Ways to Fight Pain, an article on

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A profound new tool for healing discovered

I’ve been spending my meditation time, morning and evening, learning to switch my brain from focusing on problem solving (what I don’t want) to focusing on what I want to create. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. I am shocked by how pervasive the negative frame of mind is. I get my brain into a positive frame, and within minutes another negative frame pops up inside that, and again I move the frame around until it’s positive. Repeat ad nauseam. It's rather exhausting.

But I am movitated by knowing just how important it is for me to learn this skill. When I have mastered it, I will be able to teach my patients how to do it, and then they will be unstoppable. With this skill in hand, a person becomes able not only to make lifestyle changes (necessary for optimal health) with relative ease, they will be able to achieve any other goal that comes from their heart.

I love it when answers come from unexpected places! Who knew I was going to find one of the keys to life by becoming a health coach? I went into it to help build up my acupuncture private practice, and to give me a tool to help people who are morbidly obese.

I had read Robert Fritz's The Path of Least Resistance about two decades ago. It was fascinating, but I didn't truly get it. It wasn't until I was studying to become a health coach that I read Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen's The Habits of Health (which applies Fritz's concept of structural tension charting to the process of making the lifestyle changes necessary for health) that I finally not only got it, but truly GOT IT: a light went on, bells rang, my very soul vibrated. Here was a piece of the healthcare puzzle that had always been missing, one that addresses one of the most profound challenges in the life of pretty much every human being: how to bring into being the many lifestyle changes necessary to become and remain healthy. That is HUGE.

Here is a method that is entirely teachable that I can now pass on to my clients so that they will have the ability to make the many lifestyle changes that they have always longed to make but had been firmly out of their reach. We have all experienced the deep frustration of not being able to follow through in acting on the goals we want so badly it almost hurts. Do you know that feeling?

They didn't teach us how to do this in school, and I hadn't found the answer anywhere else in the past 40 or so years of my search for the path to health and happiness in my own life. While Daoist medicine is very powerful and effective, there has always been the issue of how to help patients make the lifestyle changes necessary for health and balance. Therein lies the rub. People can't truly heal without making those changes, so how to help them? I finally found that missing piece.

I have a method that provides a clear and even pleasurable (yes, pleasurable!) way to reach one's goals, and I am specifically trained to apply it to making lifestyle changes that lead to health. The newest arrow in my quiver of healing tools is going to make a huge difference not only in my patients' lives, but in my own life as well. I'm not going to pretend that learning it is easy. It's not hard either, it's just that it is so entirely new. Our brains are in the habit of operating a different way, but the effort involved is not hard, it just requires repeating until it becomes second nature, and the process itself is pleasurable. And the results are nothing less than life altering.

I can't wait to do this meditation again. It's a beautiful thing, and I am so grateful to have stumbled upon it. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!)