Acupuncture for Gulf War Illness

by Mark Whalen

I am pleased to announce that I am partaking in a research study entitled: The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Treating Gulf War Illness.

This study is being conducted by the New England School of Acupuncture and is funded by the Department of Defense.

I am excited to be part of this research study.  The men and women who serve our country, and the families they leave behind, sacrifice so much for us that I’m honored to be able to help in this way.

Gulf War Illness

Gulf War Illness is a chronic, multi-symptom condition that affects approximately 700,000 US military personal that served in the Gulf War from 1990-91.  The symptoms of Gulf War Illness usually cluster into 3 categories:

  • Fatigue that persists 24 hours or more after exertion
  • Pain in muscles and joints with or without known injuries
  • Mood and cognition problems including: feeling depressed, anxious, irritable, sleep problems, difficulty with memories and finding words when speaking

Many patients have also been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety and Depression.

Currently, there is no specific treatment that has proven to be effective for Gulf War Illness.   Acupuncture is being investigated in this study because it usually does well in conditions that cannot be explained by conventional medicine:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/226866.php

 

The gold standard for research is the double-blind placebo study, which is not a match for acupuncture.   Many of the research studies conducted on acupuncture use pre-arranged point prescriptions and ‘sham’ acupuncture as a control.

Acupuncture is an individualized medicine so pre-arranged point prescriptions are not as effective as real-world acupuncture.

As an acupuncturist this an exciting study to be a part of because of the way the study is being conducted.  The acupuncturists taking part in this study are able to diagnose and treat the veterans using individual treatment protocols according to the tenets of Chinese Medicine and not according some pre-ordained point prescription.

In this study, there is no ‘sham’ acupuncture because all veterans who partake will receive Acupuncture- there is no control group who doesn’t receive treatment.

Another aspect of this study is the treatment length.  The veterans will receive care for either 4 or 6 months, which is longer than the treatment length of many studies.

Since the acupuncturists partaking in this study are spread out across Massachusetts, there are many convenient locations for the veterans to receive their treatment.

Summary of benefits of the study:

  1. Acupuncture is successful at treating conditions with no known cause and has been successful treating the symptoms of GWI.
  2. No control group- All veterans receive treatment
  3. Study length  - 4 or 6 months of treatment
  4. Individualized acupuncture- the most effectively ‘real-world’ way to receive acupuncture
  5. Various locations throughout the state to ease the travel time of participants

It is my hope and belief that the veterans in this study will find acupuncture to be helpful in the treatment of their condition and it can help ease their suffering of the last 20 years.

IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO SERVED IN THE FIRST GULF WAR AND MAY BE INTERESTED IN PARTAKING IN THIS STUDY,  PLEASE HAVE THEM CONTACT THE NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL OF ACUPUCNTURE AT 617-558-1788 EXT 269

Thank you.

 

Mark Whalen

 

Mark Whalen is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist and the founder of Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness in Reading, MA.

Mark Whalen – who has written posts on Acupuncture Reading MA - Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness.


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Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107, Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944-3000
 

 

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