Most people, even if they have never experienced a treatment, have at least some understanding of acupuncture. They know, for example, that acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, sterilized needles into various points around the body for the treatment of pain and other conditions. Fewer people are aware that there are additional forms of acupuncture that utilize a specific body region to treat similar conditions that the various systems of body acupuncture treat. This form of acupuncture (known as Microsystem acupuncture) primarily utilizes a single area of the body, such as the scalp or hand for treatment.
Auriculotherapy is a specialized form of acupuncture, developed by a French physician, Dr. Paul Nogier, over 50 years ago, that utilizes the ear as the primary therapeutic intervention point. Auriculotherapy can be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety, depression, dry mouth, and many more. It can also be an effective adjunct treatment for smoking cessation, addiction and weight loss.
In recent years, a specialized form of auriculotherapy has emerged called Battlefield acupuncture. Also known as Rapid acupuncture, Battlefield acupuncture was developed by Dr. Richard Niemtzow, a former military doctor and radiation oncologist by training. Dr. Niemtzow currently advises the Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force on complementary and alternative medicine as well as continuing his research into Battlefield acupuncture and maintaining a clinical practice.
Though not actually used on the battlefield, Dr. Niemtzow developed Battlefield acupuncture to be a quick, effective therapy for the treatment of pain in wounded military personnel. Initially, it was designed to be used by physicians and medics in military field hospitals to rapidly treat pain in wounded soldiers when conventional pain medications were not available or not indicated.
Battlefield acupuncture is a unique system of acupuncture that utilizes specialized needles called ASP needles (for auricular semi-permanent) for treatment. ASP needles are extremely small (about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen) and made from gold. The needles are inserted at specified points on the outside of the ear and are kept in place for two to three days.
Because the ear is highly sensitive and innervated, ASP needles are highly effective at treating pain and other conditions. While the needles are in place the patient can sleep with them in, bathe, and use the telephone. He or she must examine his or her ears twice daily for signs of irritation or infection and remove the needles if these are apparent.
Battlefield acupuncture is extremely safe and efficient. Needles can be inserted within a ten to fifteen minute office visit. The main side effects are soreness of the ears. There is a risk of infection but it is very low.
ASP Original needles remain the most widely used and most effective way of long lasting stimulating auricular acupuncture points.
The ASP Original needle is composed of a small stainless steel needle housed in a plastic injector. This injector allows the practitioner to easily and precisely implant the needle into the patient’s ear. Inserting the needle in this way avoids any risk of contamination. After placement, the needle can be protected by an adhesive plaster. The needle ensures a permanent action for as long as it remains in place. In most cases, the patient experiences a dramatic reduction in pain. The needles are then left in for two to three days and the process is repeated additional times if needed until pain is gone or significantly improved.