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PTSD; You’re not alone.

Today is National PTSD Awareness Day. Roughly 8 million Americans suffer from this disorder in a given year. Did you know that Acupuncture is very effective at helping those suffering with PTSD symptoms?

When we are in danger, our body signals us with fear. Fear is actually a very normal healthy stress response as it triggers the body to prepare for battle against whatever it is facing. Our bodies are flooded with hormones that have us ready to spring into action. People who experience PTSD symptoms are consistently in this “fight or flight state” that is carried over from previous trauma. PTSD is often presents in veterans, first responders, abuse survivors, car accident survivors, and any others that have experienced and/or witnessed something traumatic for them. No one is immune from these events that can happen suddenly and can leave a lasting imprint on our psyche.

The typical signs and symptoms of PTSD are as follows:

  • Flashbacks or intrusive thoughts of what happened during the event

  • Avoidance of things related to the event or similar situations

  • Nightmares

  • Phobias

  • Extreme feelings of guilt

  • Hypervigilance

  • Distrust that sometimes can grow into paranoia

  • Exaggerated startle response (jumping or reacting very strongly to movements or sounds), Feelings of anger, depression,or a numbing of reaction or feelings to other things in life, etc.

The typical acupuncture treatment used for acute PTSD is the five needle Auricular (Ear) NADA (National Acudetox) protocol. This protocol is used in Veteran Hospitals and Drug Rehabilitation Centers all over the country due to its effectiveness in calming the nervous system. The treatment should take place as soon as possible to the event, but can be very helpful for those still dealing with the after effects of trauma. This treatment is especially useful for those who experience hyper-vigilance as a symptom because the person will maintain full mobility as the needles are only in the ears. In Chinese Medicine we also have other ways of addressing the last imprint of PTSD by addressing the bodily networks that are affected from the initial trauma.

As a former Rape Crisis Counselor and a Victim Advocate for victims of traumatic crimes at the 19th Circuit State Attorney's Office, I have sat with hundreds of victims through their experience of PTSD symptoms. Now, as an Acupuncturist, I am fortunate that I can gently assist a person transition from this “fight or flight” state to a more calm and relaxed parasympathetic state, aptly named the “rest and digest” state with just a few needles.

If you or someone you know suffers with PTSD, please know that you are not alone and there is hope.

Health & Happiness, Heather Koerner, AP