Poking out stress

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Stress is something that can affect anyone at anytime.

Two members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group visited the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing to give an idea of one way to manage stress: acupuncture.

"Acupuncture, in Western medicine, is considered an alternative or complimentary medicine," said Col. Christian Hanley, a 386th Expeditionary Medical Group medical acupuncturist. "Acupuncture uses a single or series of needles to stimulate points along energy flow channels or meridians."

Hanely explained that the needles can be used with or without stimulation. The stimulation can be in the form of manipulation, electrical stimulation, heat or cold.

Hanley placed acupuncture needles in the hands, feet and scalp of all the attendees of the class.

Acupuncture can treat both acute and chronic pain, obesity through appetite suppression, tobacco addiction, anxiety disorders, hormonal disorders such as menopausal symptoms, allergy and sinus problems, rashes and can promote overall well-being, Hanley said.

"There are multiple types of acupuncture," Hanley said. "In addition to the meridian system that most people think of with points all over the body, there is also Chinese scalp acupuncture were needles are threaded just under the surface of the scalp to stimulate regions or stripes to effect pain, motor function, hearing, vision, balance and any number of issues.

"The Koreans have developed a hand acupuncture system and there are a few variations of ear acupuncture," continued Hanley. "Acupuncture points can also be stimulated with beads that are held in place with adhesive strips similar to tape or Band-Aids and with lasers."

Afterward, Master Sgt. Yvette Arce, from the 386th EMDG, talked about stress while members of the class felt the benefits of acupuncture.

"When you start to feel stressed think of it on a scale of  zero through 10," Arce said. "It all depends on what you make of it."

Arce said some of the signs of stress include appetite changes, increased heart rate, tightness in the neck and shoulders and sweating.

"Understand that you do have control under any circumstance to be able to deal with issues," Arce said,.

Each of the participants also left the class with something extra; a few semi-permanent needles in their ear that will fall out on their own within a week.

"Ear acupuncture, or auriculotherapy, is useful for the same types of things that other systems of acupuncture are," Hanley said. "It can also be used for appetite suppression, tobacco cessation, pain, lung problems, kidney and liver disease, headaches, dizziness and almost anything you can think of."