Using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are helpful modalities in the treatment of veterans who have served our country and suffer from injuries and the aftermath of trauma.

But, treating veterans is not as simple as treating what we see in the clinical setting. There are aspects of military life that are invisible to the average civilian. And while acupuncture increasingly is being used by the military and the veteran’s administration, it has its own flavor and protocols.

In this episode we speak with an acupuncturist, who is also a veteran. We get a look not only at the current opportunities for how acupuncture is used to treat the soldiers and veterans of our nation, but also glimpse into the challenges involved in working within the military.

Listen in as we explore how acupuncture and Chinese medicine are used in the treatment of military personnel and veterans. And learn about the various credentials and certifications that will allow you to work within the system and help those who have served our country.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why Chinese medicine is scientific
  • How our soldiers would be benefited by more attention to diet and nutrition
  • What Jennifer has learned as a faculty member at Walter Reed, teaching pain management skills
  • Current state of use of acupuncture in the military
  • Some thoughts on research and protocols
  • The role of glial cells in chronic pain
  • Why issues with fluids, blood and phlegm are a useful place to start when treating neurological and pain conditions
  • Various resources that can help you to help veterans
  • Some things to be aware when treating veterans
  • Treatment considerations for people who go to work by jumping out of airplanes
  • Use of moxa for treating pain
Clinical Tip:  To improve outcomes for complex chronic pain patients, consider the classics and modern therapeutic approaches.  For example, the Shang Han Lun (Discussion of Cold Damage) underscores many levels of comorbid fluid insufficiency with concurrent rheum pathology, that we see in most chronic disease, while overlaying the internal and external dynamics of bi syndromes.  Dr. Suzanne Robidoux, DOM, L.Ac has some helpful perspectives on Jing Fang and neurological presentations.

The guest of this show 

Dr. Jennifer M. Williams is a licensed acupuncturist who focuses on complicated presentations.  As a former Army Soldier, Federal Program Manager, Civil Service Army Acupuncturist, and Veteran Affairs Fee Basis Acupuncture provider, she is working towards higher acupuncture standards of care and expanded scope of Chinese medical services for veterans, within the military, and integrated medical settings.

Dr. Williams completed her Ph.D. in Counseling Studies at Capella University and completed her doctorate in Acupuncture Chinese Medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

She teaches for the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Doctoral program and is on faculty at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  She has published articles, contributed to books, and participated in research.  As a national and international NCCAOM professional development activity partner, she is committed to providing quality continuing education.

Jennifer has a small Chinese medical practice north of Asheville, North Carolina where she specializes in complex presentations and difficult diseases.  In her North Carolina and Tennessee mountain properties, she raises chickens, and grows herbs, mushrooms, and tea.

Links and Resources

Slides to help you understand military culture, and the traumas that veterans have experienced.
Online course for Military Culture: Core Competencies for Healthcare Professionals.
Toolkit for community providers.
If you are interested in working for the VA, this is the website that will show you the available jobs and allow you to apply.
Here is the document that discusses the differences between the NADA and Battlefield Acupuncture protocols.


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