Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body through a variety of techniques, including the insertion of thin filiform metal needles through the skin.
Nurses at Naval Hospital Pensacola (NHP) provide auricular acupuncture, which involves the treatment of the ear with very fine needles to treat conditions such as migraines, general pain, nausea, vomiting, post-operative pain, and excess weight.
“Acupuncture is a good alternative to traditional pain therapies such as narcotics,” said Mary Pugh-Farrow, acupuncture nurse at NHP. “It is a good holistic alternative that is noninvasive with minimal chance of complications, unlike other types of medications. Also, it works quickly.”
A typical appointment will last 15-20 minutes. “Some medications can take four to six weeks before the patient feels any relief; however, acupuncture can offer relief for most patients almost instantly,” said Ashley Blake, an acupuncture nurse at NHP. NHP offers four types of auricular acupuncture, the most common of which is battlefield acupuncture (BFA), which addresses areas of chronic pain. BFA consists of inserting five sterile 2mm needles into specific points of the ear where they can remain for up to three days before naturally falling out.
The thought of needles being inserted into the ear may be frightening for some, but the initial pain is mild and quick. Plus, the benefits are proven and effective for most patients.
This article is based on an original story by Petty Officer 1st Class Brannon Deugan.
IMAGE: Acupuncture nurse Ashley Blake treats a patient. Image by Petty Officer 1st Class Brannon Deugan. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) visual information does not imply or constitute DOD endorsement.