Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook
    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Battlefield Acupuncture Introduced at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi

    Battlefield Acupuncture Introduced at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi

    Photo By William Love | CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Jan. 27, 2017) Colonel Dean Hommer, U.S. Army, Brooke Army...... read more read more



    Story by William Love 

    Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi, Texas

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Eleven doctors and nurses learned how to reduce pain with semi-permanent needles during the first Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) training at Naval Health Clinic (NHC) Corpus Christi Jan. 27.

    Developed in 2001 by Colonel Richard Niemtzow, U.S. Air Force, and also called Auricular Acupuncture, BFA consists of inserting five tiny, sterile 2-mm needles into specific points of each ear, where they can remain for up to three days.

    According to an article co-written by Niemtzow and published in Medical Acupuncture in October 2015, “BFA produces rapid pain relief in a few minutes with almost no side-effects. This is an ideal technique to use when pain has not responded to narcotics or when habit-forming drugs are not desired, especially during critical military missions.”

    NHC Corpus Christi is located at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi which has been home to Naval pilot training since 1941. Today, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and foreign student pilots earn their wings training in the four squadrons of Training Air Wing FOUR.

    For many pilots and student naval aviators, pain is an accepted consequence of military service.

    Lt. Rachelle F. Wilbur, a Navy nurse at NHC Corpus Christi, says that BFA is a valuable asset for flight training because aviators can avoid being grounded due to the side-effects of pain medication.

    “We want to treat their pain, and hopefully treat the conditions that have persisted for long periods of time where no other treatments have been effective,” said Wilbur. “Treatments like this may be their shining glimmer of hope out of a situation of pain and multiple drugs.”

    Wilbur arrived in Corpus Christi in June 2016 and has served in the Navy for nearly six years. She is currently the manager for clinic support services and is responsible for researching and introducing the two, four-hour BFA classes here.

    The idea began after a visiting physical therapist who was credentialed in Auricular Acupuncture performed BFA on several patients at NHC Corpus Christi. One of those patients requested a follow-up because it was so effective.

    Initially Wilbur reached out to Niemtzow whose secretary put her in touch some course providers who contacted her.

    But Colonel Dean Hommer, U.S. Army, Brooke Army Medical Center, chief, Department of Pain Management, who has trained over 100 personnel in this methodology, was Wilbur’s top choice because of proximity and cost-savings to the Command.

    “When I reached out to Colonel Hommer I was first interested in sending our new physical therapist to San Antonio. But then the idea arose to bring the colonel here because it would cost the same and we could get more providers credentialed,” said Wilbur, adding that “when I say credentialed, I mean credentialed in the clinic – the class really only provides the certification. So we are thinking about a month until they get their initial evaluations completed so that they can be credentialed to provide this service.”

    After laying the groundwork for Hommer to teach at NHC Corpus Christi, Wilbur collaborated with clinic leadership ensuring that it was going to be safe for patients and the facility would be ready.

    “The whole clinic really came together to pull this class together,” said Wilbur.

    Wilbur says that BFA, open to all patients, is not a one-time fix all, and that some patients will require extra treatments until whatever is causing their pain is resolved. In the physical therapy (PT) world Wilbur says that is an advantage; the treatment blocks the pain so that therapy can be completed to treat the cause.

    “If we can treat somebody that is having pain while they are in PT we are able to help them move, help them with their mobility and muscle strength without them doing their exercises in pain,” she said.

    Wilbur was a civilian emergency room nurse before she joined the Navy in 2011, and she’s been deployed to Afghanistan for eight months where BFA is regularly performed. She says that she has high hopes for this new modality.

    “I just really wanted to help people. I want it to get right out across the whole Navy because I really believe in the initiative,” she said. “I’ve seen it work for people! Our providers will eventually transfer and they can take it with them wherever they go, even across the Area of Responsibility (AOR). And my hope is to have at least one person at each branch clinic, as well as all of the providers here who will be certified to do it for people. The fact that we can have such a close relationship with the education center in San Antonio is wonderful!”

    NHC Corpus Christi and its Naval Branch Health Clinics located in Kingsville and Fort Worth provide ambulatory care services to over 13,000 enrolled patients comprised of military active duty, their family members, retirees and their family members in South Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth. In addition, the command's detachment in San Antonio provides primary care services to Navy students at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Fort Sam Houston, and case management services and medical board management to Navy and Marine Corps Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors (WII) at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC).



    Date Taken: 02.03.2017
    Date Posted: 02.03.2017 12:14
    Story ID: 222438
    Location: CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, US 

    Web Views: 989
    Downloads: 0