Acupuncture Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Acupuncture Treatment for

Post Traumatic Stress

Disorder

August, 2008

Alaine D. Duncan, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

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The views expressed in this presentation

are those of the author's and do

not reflect the official policy of the

Department of the Army, Department of

Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs

or the U.S. Government.

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Qi is the energy behind:

our muscle movements

our thoughts

our prayers.

Qi helps us cope, find

comfort, heal.

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Qi Helps Us Maintain Health

Qi provides power necessary for

•Growth

•Development •Movement

•Maintenance of body temperature •Protection against illness

•Overall regulation of the body

Our health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of our qi.

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Acupuncture Maximizes Our Healing Capacities

Patients look to acupuncture for help to find:

• Quiet for jangled nerves • Clarity for navigating the

obstacles in their process • Compassion for themselves

and others

• Support for digesting the gristle that remains from difficult life memories

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Assessing Acupuncturist – Dr. Engel’s Acupuncture and PTSD Study, Deployment

Health Clinical Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Staff Acupuncturist –

War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center, Washington, DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Executive Director –

Crossings HealingWorks

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Crossings’ HealingWorks

To bring ancient healing

traditions that restore

and renew the body

mind spirit of people

touched by trauma –

creating peace for one

family, one community,

one world –

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Our Restore & Renew

Wellness Clinic has

treated over 1,000 WRAMC staff with

complementary medicine, helping them cope with compassion fatigue. We offer reduced fee, sliding scale services to members of the military, their families and

caregivers in our private practices.

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Acupuncture nourishes,

soothes transforms,

unwinds, and supports

the body’s qi by

stimulating discrete

points on the surface of

the skin with needles.

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Qi Moves With Rhythm, Inside A Boundary

Re st a nd di ge st sym path etic p ar as ym p ath etic Aw ake and aler t

YANG

YIN

Day , su mm er Ni gh t, w in ter

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sym path etic Aw ake and aler t Day , su mm er Ni gh t, w in ter

Trauma Releases A Shock Wave

Stuck “On” R es t a nd dig es t Stuck “Off”

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Every aspect of our body,

mind, and spirit is affected:

Our organs, our

tissues, our cells

Our thinking, cognition

and mental focus

Our fundamental

experience of God

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Acupuncture Restores Balance

Our Qi can remain disturbed even after our minds have fully evaluated a traumatic

experience.

Disturbed Qi will:

• engage in re-enactment behaviors • get triggered by remotely similar circumstances

• wreck havoc with sleep, digestion, auto-immune function and pain patterns

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Our response has nothing to do with valor, honor, dignity or choice – it’s the Qi we’ve been given.

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Acupuncture

accesses the

primitive impulses

that inform our fight,

flight, and freeze

responses –

functions modern

neuro-science would

put in the brain stem.

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Acupuncture helps restore balance, creating a

foundation for the body’s own healing capacity to flourish.

Acupuncture tends our whole body, mind and spirit.

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Acupuncturists Play Well With Others

Acupuncture often improves cognition, helping psychotherapy clients to integrate and embody their insights.

Acupuncture brings Qi to physical injuries and can support the work of physical therapists.

Acupuncture may help mitigate side effects of necessary medications. Some patients are able to reduce or eliminate medications – for sleep or pain for example.

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Principles for Acupuncture Treatment of PTSD

1. The acupuncturist’s presence and relationship are critical elements to

healing PTSD.

It is not enough to choose the right points; a

relationship needs to be created, the right points need to be offered, and they need to be offered at

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2. Acupuncture can help

reconnect broken or disturbed pathways.

It works below the level of cognition and helps people feel more embodied, and become more present and self-aware.

It is a helpful adjunct to other therapies.

Principles For Acupuncture Treatment Of PTSD

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Principles For Acupuncture Treatment Of PTSD

3.

3. PTSD creates a

massive disorganization in a person.

Naming people’s symptoms as disorganization and

affirming their body’s

capacity to restore order creates a foundation

they can build healing on.

The increased order, balance, and coherency that acupuncture brings transforms trauma symptoms.

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Principles For Acupuncture Treatment Of PTSD

4. PTSD is a vibrational illness. Acupuncture is vibrational

medicine.

Acupuncture speaks the same language as PTSD -- it brings ordered Qi to disordered Qi. Helping individuals with trauma symptoms brings a healing

vibration to their families and

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Presence and Relationship Are Key

1. The acupuncturist’s presence and relationship are critical elements to

healing PTSD.

It is not enough to choose the right points; a

relationship needs to be created, the right points need to be offered, and they need to be offered at

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Finding Safety Soothes Stuck Fight Responses

The Liver and Gall Bladder Meridians mediate the fight

response and help us see new possibilities.

1. Gall Bladder

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Rage and Terror Are Always Present

The Kidney and Bladder Meridians mediate the freeze response and our sense of safety.

1. Bladder Meridian Kidney Meridian

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The Heart Spirit Shines Through The Eyes

1.

Peace in our hearts brings peace to our minds.

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Acupuncture Helps Connect What’s Disconnected

2.

2. Acupuncture can help

reconnect broken or disturbed pathways.

It works below the level of

cognition and helps people feel more embodied, and become more present and self-aware. It is a helpful adjunct to other

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The Gift of Dissociation

Acupuncturists

appreciate Qi’s gift of dissociation.

It stops energy from coming through when there is a risk of

burning our mind to the ground.

2.

Heart Meridian Governor Vessel Meridian

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Healing Is A Mystery

Did acupuncture help with the trauma symptoms associated with his head injury?

Did acupuncture help with the organic injury to his brain

tissue?

Did acupuncture simply bring order to his Qi, making the other therapies he was using more

effective?

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Healing Is Built On Education And Hope

3.

3. PTSD creates a

massive disorganization in a person.

Naming people’s symptoms as disorganization and

affirming their body’s

capacity to restore order creates a foundation

they can build healing on.

The increased order, balance, and coherency that acupuncture brings transforms trauma symptoms.

(30)

3. sym path etic Aw ake and aler t Day , su mm er Ni gh t, w in ter Stuck “On” Stuck “Off”

Naming Internal Chaos As Disorganized Qi

Re st an d d ig est p a ras y m p a th e tic

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3. sym path etic Aw ake and aler t Day , su mm er Ni gh t, w in ter Stuck “On” Stuck “Off”

Clients Can Work With Their Qi Between Sessions

Re st an d Di ge st

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3.

There’s A More Solid Person Navigating Now

Re st a nd di ge st sym path etic p ar as ym p ath etic Aw ake and aler t

YANG

YIN

Day , su mm er Ni gh t, w in ter

My states come and go, I’m more aware of them. I can slow myself down and pull

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PTSD Is Vibrational Illness

4. PTSD is a vibrational illness. Acupuncture is vibrational

medicine.

Acupuncture speaks the same language as PTSD -- it brings ordered Qi to disordered Qi. Helping individuals with trauma symptoms brings a healing

vibration to their families and

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Acupuncture Brings Ordered Qi To Disordered Qi

Ear-acupuncture:

• helps people sleep and think more clearly

• increases energy and ability to focus

• helps people tap into their own

reserves for balance and rejuvenation • initiates a soothing process that

helps people find quiet and comfort

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Sympathetic - for balance in the

autonomic nervous system

Shen Men - for settling and

bringing comfort to the heart and to the mind

Kidney - to warm a freeze

response and help people find a sense of safety in themselves

Liver - to soften anger, help the eyes see new possibilities, to unwind

the fight response

Hippocampus - to ease the mind’s grip on traumatic memory – to

bring relief to over-charged sensate memories that manifest as nightmares and flashbacks complete with odors and images.

Group Ear Acupuncture

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Acupuncture Is Vibrational Medicine

4.

What is better than:

• helping a 16-year-old girl

have a meaningful relationship with her Dad

• keeping a veteran out of jail • helping a transient community on a subway car get where they want to go in peace

• keeping a veteran off the front pages of the newspaper?

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Acupuncture, by balancing and tending Qi, helps:

• the mind find a place to rest • the body release trauma’s imprint

• the spirit come back home. We help Soldiers get home safe

.

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Robert Duggan, M.Ac., L.Ac., and the faculty of the TAI Sophia Institute who taught me how to be an acupuncturist.

Kathy Kain, RMT, and the faculty of the Foundation for Human

Enrichment who taught me basic neurophysiology and trauma healing. Bonnie Benetato, Ph.D., Associate Director, War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center, Washington, DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center who directs their Complementary and Alternative Medicine program.

Gail Chinoy, MSN, RNC, Program Director, and all my colleagues of the

Restore & Renew Wellness Clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

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Contact Information

Alaine D. Duncan, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. Executive Director, Crossings HealingWorks

www.crossingshealingworks.org

301 565 4924 x 101

8505 Fenton Street, Suite 202 Silver Spring, MD 20910

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