Areas Of Specialty / Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA)

The Functional Osteopath

Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA)

This is s form of auricular acupuncture that has been successful in treating many types of both acute and chronic pain. John Amaro states in his article for Contemporary Asian Healing when referring to an account of a pain specialist’s treatments, “within minutes of the needles being inserted, many said their pain had been reduced by up to 75 percent. A 25 percent reduction would be considered a success with traditional pain medications.”

BFA was derived form Eastern medicine by Colonel Richard Neimtzow who was seeking an adequate solution for treating soldiers suffering from chronic pain mainly because pain medications, including opioids, have limited efficacy with chronic pain and adverse side effects. The auricle is somatotopically organised in the auricle and this is how BFA influences central nervous system pain processing, specifically through releasing B-endorphins which are chemicals that help elicit short-term pain reduction and anti-inflammatory cytokines for long-term effects.

What to Expect with BFA

Gold, dart-shaped needles are inserted in a specific order up to 5 points in the surface of one or both ears. There may be some mild soreness where the needles are inserted. In between needle insertions, you will be asked to walk or move and your response to treatment will be noted. The needles will stay in the ear for 3 days, then must be removed. Most patients have immediate pain relief which may last several days.

What Should You Do After BFA

  • Relax for 24 hours no heavy exercise
  • Don’t drink alcohol for at least 6 hours
  • You can return to normal activity after 24 hours
  • You can bathe or shower with them in but be careful not to pull the needles when cleaning or drying the ears.
  • Record notes on how you feel, sleep and pain level.
  • After 3 days, you can remove needles yourself or return to have the removed.
  • There can be blood at the needle site when removed. Grab the needles with your fingernails or tweezer and rock it back and forth to remove it.

Possible Side Effects for all Acupuncture.

  • Bleeding, bruising or fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Euphoria drowsiness or lightheadedness
  • Symptoms may get worse after treatment but then better after 24-48 hours

Contraindications for All Acupuncture.

  • First trimester of pregnancy
  • Needle treatment for Haemophiliacs
  • Broken skin on ears or body such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Intoxication
  • Confusion

Cautions for All Acupuncture

  • Epilepsy
  • Anti-coagulent medication use
  • Diabetes