Using Acupuncture to Treat Trauma

The mind/body connection is truly undeniable. When one isn’t working properly, you can bet the other isn’t either. This is perhaps nowhere more complicated than in individuals dealing with trauma.


Trauma is a multifaceted word that embodies so much. Pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, memory issues, terror, difficulties adjusting to post-trauma life — it’s almost endless. But if you work to heal the mind, you can often heal the body. And you can use the body to heal the mind, too.


But with what, you might ask? Acupuncture, of course. In fact, it’s a proven way to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep, which naturally lends itself to improved mental health. In dealing with something as serious as trauma, the smallest improvement can mean a world of difference.


As reported on Rfi News, acupuncturist Elise Boghossian packed up her acuneedles and headed to Iraq, leaving her lie behind in Paris and setting out to bring healing to kidnapped and enslaved women in northern Iraq.  


She told the site, ““The first time I went to Iraq I was completely alone. I didn’t have colleagues or work with a specific organization. I just had my acupuncture needles to offer people pain relief.”


Through her experiences, she eventually founded NGO EliseCare, an organization with six sites throughout Iraq that offer free medical consultations, continuous psychological care to patients, and medical training in acupuncture, emergency medical care, gynecology, radiology and biology.


You can watch her story, here.

Acupuncturists Without Borders

You may have heard of Doctors Without Borders, but what about Acupuncturists Without Borders? 

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) was founded by Diana Fried  immediately after Hurricanes Rita and Katrin in 2005. According to this Valley Advocate article the AWB, "provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers."


Most recently, AWB has now been helping Puerto Rican evacuees help to manage and treat their trauma. 

After the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, many individuals lost everything, and have had to flee the country for safety. 

AWB member Verena Smith, an Amherst based acupuncturist, explained, “people who were directly hit by hurricanes – and their families and friends from Western Mass – surely are experiencing serious acute traumatic stress.  Folks may be having flashbacks, panic, insomnia, suicidal ideation, or any number of symptoms that can be relieved with simple treatments.“

Since acupuncture has been shown to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression and other symptoms, acupuncturists and AWB members Nancy Edwards and Dede King brought their services to a Springfield clinic to offer treatment to stressed evacuees within a shared treatment setting. The results?

The report explained, "people seemed a bit more jovial, perhaps the result of a positive shared experience or perhaps a result of the treatment. Regardless, the general mood seemed lighter; smiles spread across faces for the first time that evening."

It has been long known that acupuncture treatment, specifically targeted for trauma, can help to heal both physical and emotional pain, while balancing qi.