| One-Minute Clinician

Lessons from the Military—Acupuncture + Microcurrent

Battlefield acupuncture protocol is an auricular protocol where 5 acupuncture points in the ear are stimulated for the purposes of calming the nervous system, pain management, and decreasing stress. The protocol itself was created for soldiers who were having traumas while they were on the battlefield. It’s a quick and easy treatment that can be done in 4 to 5 minutes without special equipment in any setting. The ears are usually accessible; you don’t need tables and physicians and clinics to do it, and it’s very effective for calming the nervous system so that the body can heal. When the protocol points are used with direct current microcurrent, it really gives the body a big impact to deregulate and to recover. The microcurrent is a low-intensity electrical form of stimulation that’s used in some pain management devices, but because it is microcurrent, it resonates or stimulates the parasympathetic portion of our nervous system. It shifts that sympathetic stress or fight/flight survival mode into recovery and healing mode. We have measured how effective it is at balancing the nervous system. We have used autonomic nervous system tests to measure the before and after treatment effects. Not only does this protocol provide stress relief and pain reduction, but it also increases heart rate variability, increases muscle oxygenation, and decreases stress, so these autonomic markers are changing not only to produce a physical functional effect on the body but also a wellness effect and impact to the nervous system alone.

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