skip to Main Content

VA interested in acupuncture for pain management, offers options

A New England School of Acupuncture health researcher has a $1.2 million grant to study the uses of acupuncture on military who took part in the first Gulf War. There is room for 100 more participants. The military has been looking at complementary medicine for pain management, including yoga, acupuncture, and massage. And in the UK, the results of recent studies provide additional evidence for continued VA work with acupuncture in Boston and Buffalo.  

In the Boston study, enrollment began a year ago. To be eligible, veterans who qualify are screened for symptoms by a VA doctor, and then receive four months of one or two treatments a week, all at no charge. Lisa Conboy, who wrote and received the grant, was quoted as saying that the first participants are responding well.

In Buffalo, the VA Western New York Healthcare System offers acupuncture for veterans, not only in the Buffalo area, but also in Canandaigua and Syracuse. The Buffalo area phone number to access acupuncture services is 716-862-7950.

The search for effective symptom relief is not just a United States effort. In Great Britain, using acupuncture has been shown to be cost-effective. Managing symptoms that are not explainable has been estimated at twice the cost of those with a condition that can be diagnosed.

The Institute of Health Services Research at Peninsula Medical School at the University of Exeter conducted its first trial of five-element traditional acupuncture for patients with symptoms that could not be explained. Published in the British Journal of General Practice, the results demonstrated that there was a “significant and sustained benefit” to these patients.

The patients suffered from chronic pain, as well as other symptoms like fatigue. The interactive, holistic aspects of therapy were useful to them, they became more self-aware about dealing with stress, and they took positive actions to improve their diet, exercise, and socialization.