Acupuncture and complementary medicine therapies have been getting more attention as treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.

A growing number of military personnel and veterans are using acupuncture to compliment current methods of treating PTSD and to treat individual symptoms including migraines, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

As Social Work Today explains, acupuncture may be useful in meeting the needs of some veterans who’ve experienced trauma. Current treatment guidelines point to three primary types of therapies for PTSD. However, health care providers are recognizing that these methods, standing alone, may not be adequate. The needs of individual veterans vary and one model type doesn’t fit all. This is one reason why the Department of Defense and the VA have embraced a wide range of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques in the treatment of veterans with PTSD.

Current evidence indicates that CAM techniques can help co-treat PTSD and bring relief, reduce dependency on medication, and can lead those in treatment towards success with more compliance.

With their rise in popularity for treating PTSD, research on CAM therapies will be ongoing. For the time being, there has been a small amount of research examining these treatments as primary interventions for PTSD. One study in this area said that acupuncture “was effective and comparably effective to group cognitive-behavioral therapy.”

Currently, we see patients who seek acupuncture to treat isolated symptoms of PTSD. We tailor your treatments to your specific needs and address your health as a whole. Patients often report reduced pain, stress, anxiety, and depression, and improved sleep.

“Chronic emotions can manifest as pain, tension and inflammation in the body,” says Aligned Modern Health Director of Acupuncture, Dr. Lamya Kamel, DAOM. “This encourages the body to release this tension, often with an immediate result.”

Dr. Kamel, who has been working with Military Veterans and trauma victims throughout the Chicago area, says that acupuncture is “a safe way to feel better without the unwanted side effects of certain medications.”

While acupuncture has a long history of use for pain addiction, its use in trauma and for PTSD is relatively new. Thanks to programs like Acupuncturists Without Borders, acupuncture has been made more accessible to both veterans and their families. Groups like this have found that medication alone is not effective and may have troubling side effects. Active military are using acupuncture as an alternative that helps soldiers fight pain and stress without diminishing ability to carry out duties.

In addition to acupuncture, other CAM techniques being used with success include, yoga, meditation, tai chi, massage, hypnosis, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and guided imagery.

The expanded use of CAM in the treatment of PTSD is giving veterans access to the whole range of treatments that can positively influence their lives. If you have questions about CAM treatments, such as acupuncture and massage therapy, contact us for complimentary consultation at a Chicagoland clinic near you.

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