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Needles for the battlefield

The Air Force training, run in conjunction with the Helms Medical Institute of Berkeley, Calif., teaches military physicians a variety of acupuncture techniques, from traditional Chinese to Korean hand acupuncture. Clinicians also are learning a type of acupuncture developed in 2001 by an Air Force doctor that’s being used in frontline hospitals and could be applied, Air Force officials say, right on the battlefield.

“The whole idea of the battlefield concept was trying to develop an acupuncture technique that would be generic for all pain and that would be very rapid in terms of its effectiveness,” said Dr. Richard Niemtzow, a retired Air Force colonel who modified the method from French auricular acupuncture needles and the results of MRI studies on pain.

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