The American Veterans Health Administration (VHA) launched a national initiative to train providers in Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) treatment as a non-pharmacological approach to pain management, and performed a research project over a 2 year period (2016-2018) to evaluate its effectiveness on immediate pain relief. This project took place at 57 VHA medical centers in the United States. A total of 11,406 veterans were treated with BFA at least once, in some cases 3 times.
More than 75% experienced some decrease in pain immediately following the treatment, with 43% experiencing a substantial improvement. The average decrease in pain intensity, on a 0-10 point self-reported pain scale, was 2.5 points at first treatment, and 2.2 at subsequent treatments. This research only recorded reporting on immediate pain relief, with no information on the reduction of long term pain. There was no placebo group.
At the Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine (CIAM) we understand that auricular acupuncture can decrease pain, and that applied within the assessment and treatment approach of Auricular Medicine it can also support patients in the relief from pain (even chronic pain) in the long term. For anyone practicing beyond ear point protocols (e.g. applying auriculotherapy or Auricular Medicine) it is clear that these initial results offer the potential for dramatic improvement when this research uses palpation of the Vascular Autonomic Signal (VAS) to guide treatment of active points.