A few years ago my Dad was diagnosed with PTSD; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; from serving in the Vietnam War. Since then I’ve gotten to see a side of my dad that I never knew existed, one that surely shed some light on the actualities of war, and who the real victims are. For one thing it’s taught me a lot about my family, human relationships, the real effects of trauma and for another, it’s one of the bigger reasons that I am studying the medicine that I am today (Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).
Currently my Dad is being treated by an angel of an Acupuncturist as well as seeing a therapist who practices EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing); which is a type of therapy that basically retrains your physiologic and neurological pathways. Or better put;
“It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health”
Both modalities have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of PTSD for any kind of trauma but in this case particularly for Veterans. Currently the Department of Veterans Affairs is utilizing EMDR as a treatment modality and praises its effectiveness. Organizations are starting to pop up throughout the country that are specifically designed for the treatment of veterans as well as those who are currently active. One of these is Acupuncturists Without Borders, an organization originally put together to help the victims New Orleans in 2005. Since their induction they have been gaining ground helping the victims of traumatic events. For more information about Acupuncturists Without Borders and their mission you can check out their website HERE and/or my Blog post from January 8th, 2009.
The Veterans Project, which was instated in 2005 in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Acupuncturists Without Borders is also gaining ground across the country. It offers free group treatments to vets, active duty and their family members in dealing with the effects of war.
“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 veterans currently returning from war, 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 program has great potential to help thousands, but since it’s a service to these vets and their families they need all the help they can get, they rely on your help for funding towards facilities and supplies (namely just needles). Please show your support and give what you can, we have the tools to help so many people and all it takes is just a little. You can enroll as a member, buy t-shirts etc., or just donate whatever is in your pocket at the moment. The woman who is currently treating my Dad is working on setting up a facility in my hometown of Ketchum, Idaho and she has been working hard donating her own time and money to get the ball rolling, but she and many others still need your help, and every penny counts!
For more information on donating or becoming a member of Acupuncturists Without Borders, please CLICK HERE
In other news, I just attended a research poster session, showcasing current research projects from my school; Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, as well as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and there were a few projects currently underway regarding Veterans and PTSD. It was exciting to see just how effective Alternative modes of treatment such as Acupuncture, QiGong and other relaxation methods are in decreasing anxiety, stress, depression and other symptoms affiliated with PTSD! So, please help in whatever way you can, it will mean the world to somebody!