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Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) provided hurricane relief servicesScreen Shot 2013-03-05 at 7.38.46 PM to approximately 8000 people in the New Orleans area starting in October 2005. The free community acupuncture brought hope, promise, and peace of mind to the people of New Orleans. With the experience and expertise of bringing community style acupuncture to the people of Louisiana, AWB is now bringing this service to military individuals and their families. The Military Stress Recovery Project (MSRP) provides free acupuncture treatments for those returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, but also welcomes veterans from all other past conflicts or wars as well as family members.

The MSRP began in 2006 with a pilot clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Other locally run clinics are now operating nationwide in locations such as the Boston area (several clinics), Chicago, Miami, FL and Eugene, Oregon, among others. There are currently about thirty clinics in operation and many others in areas such as Phoenix, AZ and Honolulu, HI are in the process of opening.

As in Louisiana, treatments are based on the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) ear protocol, which has proven to be extremely powerful in alleviating symptoms of stress and trauma. During treatment, people sit fully clothed in a circle of chairs, and the licensed acupuncturist places 5 tiny needles on each ear. The recipients are invited to close their eyes and rest for 30-45 minutes, as acupuncture does its work.

Military people who have attended these clinics are experiencing benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Acupuncture is currently being investigated by the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. as a viable treatment modality for PTSD in returning veterans and the military has started using acupuncture in the battlefield to help with pain.

The potential of this program is enormous. History has shown that the long-term impact of war takes a tremendous toll for decades. By providing free acupuncture treatments to soldiers currently returning from war and their families, we can play a part in preventing history from repeating itself, and by providing treatments to veterans from past wars and conflicts, we can take part in helping mend the psychological wounds of the past.

The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a simple, low-cost modality offering immediate, effective, and easily accessible treatment for large numbers of people. Acupuncture is a tool that can work harmoniously with other more conventional treatment modalities such as counseling and medication.

“I served two tours of combat in Vietnam. I’m 100% disabled because of PTSD. When I first started coming to the AWB clinic in Albuquerque, I had spent years suffering from high anxiety. I believe that because of the acupuncture I have become calmer and my anxiety has drastically come down. I don’t want the new vets to suffer for years like I did. Acupuncture is helping me get my life back.”Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 7.39.01 PM

~ Raul Rojas


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