I have recently been implementing “Battlefield" Acupuncture with great effect for severe pain as a compliment to my more thorough treatment protocol.  This is the most effective short-term analgesic I have found in over a decade.  The effects are stunning and the implications many. 

"This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence — the pain can be gone in five minutes," said Col. Richard Niemtzow, a physician, acupuncturist, senior adviser to the Air Force surgeon general, and founder of the approach.

The technique takes five minutes to perform.  I use ASP gold, semi-permanent needles to specific points in the ear that stay in for 3-4 days until pushed out by the previously flattened epidermis.  They are small enough to wear under a helmet on the battlefield or the football field.  You can sleep on them and even gain “street cred” with your new gold bling. 

A new investigation concludes that Battlefield Acupuncture is effective in relieving pain and can be implemented in the aeromedical evacuation system for wounded warriors. It is equally useful before the next big game, race, an important event, trip, or when a migraine hits.  This is a great option whenever you need significant relief for a 3-4 day period.

It has been reported that only approximately 15 percent of patients do not respond to this acupuncture procedure, but of those who do, their pain reduction averages about 75 percent.  I have found similar results in the 3-4 months I have been implementing this in my practice. This is useful for all types of pain including headaches, menstrual pain, visceral pain, athletic injury and exacerbations of joint, muscle and nerve pain.

How does it work? In a sense, I am countering hyperactive pain control centers of the brain with alternate stimulation.  fMRI research studies from Dr. Z.H. Cho suggest the involvement of modulation of pain in the central nervous system involving the hypothalamus, thalamus, cingulate gyrus, and cerebral cortex.

Consider this tool for a severe state of pain that requires immediate relief to improve your quality of life for 3-4 days significantly.  As a responsible practitioner, I normally pair this with a more thorough treatment approach for long-term relief that combines nervous system attenuation, postural balance through motor point acupuncture, stretching and postural exercises as well as herbal prescriptions for internal balance.


Stephen Burns, Alexandra York, Richard C. Niemtzow, Betty K. Garner, Nancy Steele, and Joan A.G. Walter. Medical Acupuncture. February 2013, 25(1): 48-54. doi:10.1089/acu.2012.0933.

Niemtzow, R. Battlefield Acupuncture. Med Acu. 2007


About this article:

This article was re-posted by Dr. Josh Eha, DAOM, L.Ac, C.SMA from his blog on Midwest Specialty Acupuncture, during his time as an educator on TrailheadHealth.com. We thank him for his participation and expertize.