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Veterans, Post Traumatic Stress, and Acupuncture

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

There are considered three treasures in Oriental Medicine, Jing, Qi, & Shen. Jing is your essence or the source of life, health, & longevity. Qi is your vital energy giving you the ability to move your body. Shen is your spirit & is the most subtle of the Three Treasures. Conscious beauty as we have been talking about has to do with nurturing all of these aspects to maintain health & wellness. Developing a healthy Shen is dependent on cultivating healthy Jing & Qi. The development of a balanced body allows the Shen to shine. 

This month I am supporting the Earned Innocence Project, a fundraiser to empower our veterans & bring them home to themselves. PTS is a significant problem & issue for many that have been in the military or lived through a traumatic event. Trauma & shock have profound physiological effects on us.  Whether physical or emotional, trauma causes the circulation of Qi & blood to diminish. Trauma causes a shock to the heart & affects the circulation of blood to the body. 

According to the RAND Corporation study titled The Invisible Wounds of War, approximately 300,000 of the 1.5 million deployed since 2001 to Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from PTS or major depression. And about 320,000 may have experienced at least a mild concussion or brain injury in combat. PTS can cause symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, as well as pain originating from psychosomatic disorders. More & more studies are showing that acupuncture helps to ameliorate or resolve symptoms associated with PTS. And unlike many conventional therapies that require patients to reconstruct the traumatic event to heal, this is not necessary with acupuncture related treatments. Because acupuncture does not require the sufferer to reveal the traumatic experience, people are more willing to engage in this treatment. According to studies coming out of the Pentagon & other areas studying PTS recovery, acupuncture has been found to be a highly successful treatment when compared to other alternative therapies & conventional therapy.

Trauma affects the Shen & one’s inner vitality. Practitioners often evaluate the Shen when formulating a treatment protocol. The Shen is the make up of the mental & spiritual aspects, our inner vitality or our mind as you will, of each of us. And is just as important as any of their physical complaints. If Jing is the wick of the candle & Qi the flame, Shen is the radiance given off by the flame. Our Shen allows us to think, discriminate, & shape our personality but it is reliant on cultivating healthy Jing & Qi. The Shen is a person’s inner light & according to Oriental Medicine it is housed in the heart. It is observed through the brightness of the eyes. When the Shen is disturbed it refers to mental disorders such as those we see after shock or trauma.

PTS is not unique to soldiers & can occur after any traumatic event. A pioneer in this area is Sensei Takahiro Funemizu from Japan. Sensei Takahiro Funemizu is well known for applying Japanese Meridian Therapy (JMT) for a wide range of mental-health conditions, including depression, PTS, anxiety, & shock. Attention to his work emerged after the 2011 earthquake & tsunami in Japan. He reinforces the tenants of gentle, shallow needling that is a hallmark of JMT. He is known to use facial acupuncture to help resolve depression & other issues associated with PTS. And he stresses treating the whole body when stabilizing the emotions & the heart.  

My work with both Japanese Meridian Therapy & Facial Renewal has allowed me to participate in the recovery of many people suffering from trauma-related issues. Working with the heart & the Shen is a gentle, non-invasive way to address many heart-related issues without re-traumatizing the individual. It is deeply satisfying to hear the stories of people go on to live more fulfilling lives, in touch with themselves & those around them. 

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