December 28, 2012

Acupuncture Offers Hope to PTSD Sufferers.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe type of anxiety disorder.

PTSD results from a person witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror, such as a natural disaster, rape, childhood abuse, a tragic accident or war.

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder typically begin within three months of a traumatic event but can, in some instances, occur years after the event.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder include:

1. Intrusive memories—flashbacks and nightmares of events.

2. Avoidance and numbing—feeling emotionally numb, hopelessness about the future, avoiding anything that is a reminder of the precipitating event.

3. Hyperarousal—increased anxiety, irritability or anger, self-destructive behavior (such as excessive drinking), and an exaggerated startle response (jumping at sounds).

Acupuncture as Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In the last couple of years, acupuncture has been getting more attention as a treatment for PTSD, particularly from military and veterans since soldiers post combat are at a high risk for suffering from PTSD. The results from acupuncture are hopeful. Time and again, acupuncture has proven to be an effective modality for treating the symptoms of PTSD.

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB), a group that previously provided relief to the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti and hurricane in New Orleans, launched The Military Stress Recovery Project. This organization provides free acupuncture treatments for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their families. Treated military personnel have reported improved mental clarity, less anxiety, and a reduction in stress.

There are good precedents for the use of acupuncture to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Walter Reed Medical Center, a military hospital, has begun to investigate acupuncture as a viable treatment for returning veterans.

Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Medicine conducted a clinical trial examining the effects of acupuncture on the symptoms of PTSD. They analyzed depression, anxiety, and impairment in 73 people who had been diagnosed with PTSD and found that acupuncture provided treatment effects similar to group cognitive-behavioral therapy. Both acupuncture and cognitive-behavioral therapy were superior to the control group. Additionally, treatment effects of acupuncture and group therapy were maintained for three months after the end of treatment.

Why does acupuncture help the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder? Correctly placed needles help the body re-regulate itself from the effects of stress, PTSD, depression and anxiety. In turn, this allows the individual to focus on their activities and enable them to deal with daily events.

The Effects of PTSD:

The effects of PTSD can be just as devastating as the symptoms themselves since this disorder not only affects the person experiencing the disorder, but their friends and family as well. Those suffering from PTSD often have trouble experiencing emotions, which in turn may cause alienation among friends and family. Family members may feel hurt when their loved one is unable to move beyond the trauma which may then alienate the loved one even more.

In the end, PTSD has a negative effect on everyone that it touches and can quickly lead into a downward spiral. It is important to seek professional help as well as social support when dealing with this traumatic disorder.


Source: Hollifield, M., Sinclair-Lian, N., Warner, T., and Hammerschlag, R. “Acupuncture for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, June, 2007 V195(6):504-13.

Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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ken smith Dec 10, 2013 10:50pm

Thanks so much for content. PTSD is a very real issue. Although homeopathy can perform amazing things by itself, the mixture of homeopathy, relaxation, and knowing from those near to the person, can perform amazing things. May everyone who encounters this kind of stress find serenity within themselves…

BarbC Oct 20, 2013 2:28pm

PTSD symptoms also can include an inability to shut off the adrenalin/cortisol response to ‘threat’ – in other words when we hear a loud bang, everybody “startles” – heart races for a second. Normally the “it’s OK, no threat” neurochemicals then kick in. For PTSD sufferers, this is broken… thr sense of terror that your rational mind says is silly just won’t stop.

I tried every drug and EMDR with zero success. My acupuncturist had nevervtried it for this but I beleive he saved my life

Daisy Anne Sep 2, 2013 12:30pm

LMAO.. oh, my! That's actually crazy since I am an acupuncturist and a yoga exercises trainer. I may need to integrate Acu-Goddess into my motto. Well, I'm definitely going to think about this one :).. Really like It!

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Leona Harter, L.Ac.

Leona Harter, M.Ac., L.Ac., LMT, loves to heal things through the power of Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Qigong, Yoga and Herbs in her private practice at Vibrant Living Wellness Center in Southeast Georgia. She guides her patients on their path of self-discovery while offering natural healing techniques that can be incorporated into any daily routine. She can be connected with via Facebook or via email at [email protected]