Army doctors have been told by the top brass to rethink their “pill for every ill” approach to treating pain. For the 47,000 troops who’ve been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of the new options include less tried and true methods, like massage and chiropractic treatments. The military hopes to win over skeptics, many of them in uniform.
In recent years, military doctors have turned to acupuncture in special pain clinics and for troops in battle zones. Last year, the Army surgeon general began making the alternative treatments more widely available.
New academic studies from places like Duke University back up acupuncture as an alternative to medication.
But Harriet Hall, a former Air Force flight surgeon, shares the skepticism found in many corners of the medical community.
“We call that ‘quack-ademic’ medicine when it gets into medical schools,” she says.
The way she reads the science, acupuncture does no more than a sugar pill. To offer a placebo, she says, is unethical.
This is an uncritical piece that fails to emphasize poor evidence for acupuncture. As typical, they make skeptics who are unsatisfied with the evidence look like the closed-minded minority. Proponents use the same old reasons for acupuncture. The bit that caught me was this: “you’re not really working on what the genesis of the pain is”. Maybe the genesis is not medical AT ALL. So why use acupuncture? Find a better way of serving our soldiers with attention and compassion instead of pills or useless alt med procedures.
For a reason why the military can only embrace this SO far, check out this Wulffmorgenthaler comic strip from earlier in the week.