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Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles in order to stimulate certain points on the body.
According to The Washington Times, the U.S. Military's first encounter with acupuncture occurred during the Vietnam War, when an Army surgeon wrote in the 1967 edition of Military Medicine magazine about local physicians who were allowed to practice at a U.S. Army surgical hospital and administered acupuncture to Vietnamese patients.
In 1995, Dr. Richard Niemtzow, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who had earlier practiced medicine as a radiation oncologist, began offering acupuncture to military personnel stationed at the McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. A few years later, Niemtzow became the first full-time military medical acupuncturist for the U.S. Navy.
In 2009, the U.S. Air Force set up the Air Force Acupuncture Center at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to practice and teach "battlefield acupuncture" to physicians and other medical personal. That year, the Naval Medical Center San Diego reported that its pain management clinic had provided acupuncture to more than 2,600 beneficiaries. As of 2012, over a hundred medical professionals in the U.S. Air Force have been trained to use acupuncture techniques.
While the practice of acupuncture was mostly limited to the U.S. Air Force, it soon spread to other departments of the U.S. Military including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. In late 2012, the Office of the Secretary of Defense officially approved a visit by U.S. military physicians to the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in order to strengthen Sino-American military relations and to "exchange acupuncture information".
Other military forces
- "File: 120216-N-PB383-282.jpg". United States Navy. Retrieved 26 May 2013. "Description: Cmdr. Yevsey Goldberg conducts an acupuncture procedure on a patient aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18)."
- "Acupuncture moving to war zones". The Washington Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Pellerin, Cheryl (Dec. 10, 2010). "Doctors Use Acupuncture as Newest Battlefield Tool". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- Buzanowski, J.G. (2012-04-06). "Deployed doc has Airmen on pins and needles". United States Air Force. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "NMCSD Provides an Alternative Medicine". United States Navy. Retrieved 26 May 2013. "In 2009 NMCSD’s pain management clinic provided acupuncture to more than 2,600 beneficiaries. The clinic provides therapeutic and non-invasive pain management therapy to patients of all ages with chronic illness."
- "Deployed doc has Airmen on pins and needles". United States Air Force. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Air Force Medical Acupuncture Physicians Visit China". United States Air Force. Retrieved 26 May 2013. "The visit was approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Air Force/International Affairs Global Strategy. The purpose of the tour was to promote good will between our civilian and military Chinese colleague physicians and to exchange acupuncture information."
- "Chinesische Medizin bei der Bundeswehr" (in German). Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service. Retrieved 26 May 2013. "An den ausgewiesenen Akupunkturpunkten wurden Ansammlungen von feinen Nervenenden oder sonstigen Rezeptoren gefunden – diese Korrelate konnte man nachweisen. Dies bestätigt, dass sich die Akupunktur frei von jeder Einbildung auf den menschlichen Körper auswirkt – und nicht über den Placebo-Effekt."
- "平衡针灸军训伤防治基地在内蒙某部建立" (in Chinese). Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China. Retrieved 26 May 2013.