Wow, times really are changing: the military is going to be using battlefield acupuncture to control pain:

[T]he Air Force, which runs the military’s only acupuncture clinic, is training doctors to take acupuncture to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. A pilot program starting in March will prepare 44 Air Force, Navy and Army doctors to use acupuncture as part of emergency care in combat and in frontline hospitals, not just on bases back home.

They will learn “battlefield acupuncture,” a method Niemtzow developed in 2001 that’s derived from traditional ear acupuncture but uses the short needles to better fit under combat helmets so soldiers can continue their missions with the needles inserted to relieve pain. The needles are applied to five points on the outer ear. Niemtzow says most of his patients say their pain decreases within minutes.

(Thanks, Cindy)

I used to be an acupuncture sceptic until the Director of a local alternative health care university literally marched into my house one day in 1997, said ‘Lie down’, and stuck me with needles. I fell asleep. I’m an insomniac, but I fell asleep. And then I couldn’t persuade myself to get out of bed for about an hour. (Usually, you can’t persuade me to stay in bed for an hour–except, y’know, if… Ah, never mind.)

If I have a religion, it’s science. I don’t believe in god, or crystals, or reiki. (Yep, I had reiki once, to please… Again, never mind.) But acupuncture works (that is, it does something). I don’t know why. Does anyone know of any research that explains (to biology-loving people, not believers in ley lines and past lives) how?

[Sidenote: my presence here has been a little erratic this week, and might continue to be so. But please don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere; I’m not deathly sick. Just very tired, and very busy with many deadline-related things I should have done weeks ago.]