Battlefield acupuncture comes to Britain

A new acupuncture technique for fast pain relief known as 'battlefield acupuncture' is being introduced to British acupuncturists by Colonel Heather Pickett, a doctor in the US Air Force.


Battlefield acupuncture is in fact auricular acupuncture, which involves placing needles into the ear to provide fast pain relief. The easy access to acupuncture points means that treatment can be administered quickly and without the need for the patient to lie down on a couch, making it ideal for   fast paced environments such as A&E departments, minor injuries units and of course war zones.


Col Pickett will be introducing the technique to members of the British Acupuncture Council at the third annual British Conference of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, held at Royal Holloway University, London on 11th and 12th September.


Col Pickett has used the technique to great effect to administer treatment both to the Armed Forces in Iraq and in her own practice on the Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas. She says:  'In my own practice I have seen amazing results.  Firstly, it allows me to achieve rapid pain relief, secondly, I can see twice as many patients for initial visits, and thirdly, by monitoring how patients react to their initial treatment, I can use battlefield acupuncture as a tool to determine what future treatments may be required.

'I always carry needles on me when out and about for anyone with headaches, back/neck aches or acute trauma. I've had good results with fibromyalgia as well as nausea due to pregnancy and have had some great feedback from my patients.'


Auricular acupuncture is just one type of traditional acupuncture, a tried and tested system of traditional medicine, which has been used in China and other eastern cultures for thousands of years to restore, promote and maintain good health.  Traditional acupuncture, as practised by BAcC members looks at the mind and body as one, taking a holistic approach to health, and can be effective for many conditions including lower back pain, stress, insomnia, migraine, fertility, anxiety and depression.

Research has shown that acupuncture provides pain relief by stimulating nerves which leads to the release of pain killing endorphins and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord. Acupuncture is also thought to reduce inflammation and promote healing. In recognition of the benefits of acupuncture for providing pain relief, NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) issued guidelines in May 2009 recommending that acupuncture is available on the NHS for chronic lower back pain.

Col Pickett, along with her colleague Dr Terri Ruitcel will be sharing her insight at the British Conference of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Royal Holloway University, Surrey on 11th & 12th September 2010. Registration starts from £79.  Those interested in attending should visit for more details.



About battlefield acupuncture:

The term 'Battlefield Acupuncture' was developed by Col Richard Niemtzow in 2001 for the purpose of providing quick access points in a fast-paced environment.  He had been working with auriculoptherapy for years but wanted to streamline the points to make it more efficient for rapid pain relief.  Col Niemtzow retired from the US Air Force in 2010 and now works full time as the acupuncture consultant to the Air Force surgeon general as well as the president of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.


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