After reading “Battlefield Acupuncture for the Clinical Practitioner” by Dr. John Amaro, I just had to learn more about this technique. A little research led me to this great article by Dr. Richard Niemtzow himself. Dr. Niemtzow developed this new auricular therapy protocol in 2001. His article gives very specific step by step instructions, diagrams and photos for needle placement to achieve almost immediate pain relief.
I decided to try the technique on several of my patients who had been suffering from chronic pain. I have one patient in particular that I have been seeing for several months for severe back pain. Having been in an auto accident ten years previously, and having fractured several vertebrae, he had been making progress with some of my other acupuncture protocols for back pain. When I first met him his pain level was 8 on a scale of 10 most of the time. With weekly treatments, we were able to give him several days of complete pain relief after the treatment and when the pain returned, it rarely exceeded a 5 on a scale of 10. He had tried other therapies over the years with little relief and was very happy with this improvement. I, on the other hand, am always looking for new ways to relieve pain.
With Dr. Niemtzow’s instructions in front of me, I inserted an ASP gold needle into the cingulate gyrus point on his left ear and told him to walk up and down the hallway for a few minutes. When he returned, I asked if he noticed a change in his pain level. With disappointment showing on his face, he said “no, not really”. As the instructions stated, I put a needle in the same point on the other ear. He stood to start down the hallway again and turned to me with a big smile on his face. “That’s the ear! This is amazing!” he said. When he returned from his hallway stroll, his pain had decreased 60%. I inserted the other four points in that dominant ear and let him rest on the table for a half hour.
When he left the office, he was pain free, as he usually was after an acupuncture treatment. The difference with the battlefield acupuncture approach was that the small gold needles were left in place for several days at home and his pain level remained low for much longer than a traditional treatment.
I am excited about this new tool to help with pain management for my patients. It is extremely easy to perform. The same five points are used for any pain in the body, which differs from the usual auricular points chosen. Dr. Niemtzow’s article shows statistics for treating sciatic pain, fibromyalgia, shoulder pain, low back pain, TMJ, carpal tunnel, hip and elbow pain.
Additionally, Dr. Niemtzow has found that quick bilateral insertion into points omega 2, shenmen and point zero with regular acupuncture needles, without walking the patient, will resolve most migraine headaches. Practitioners, give it a try!
About the Author:
Joyce Marley is a licensed acupuncturist that provides acupuncture therapy in New Hartford, NY. She writes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) health articles about acupuncture and Oriental medicine.