Acupuncture and meditation for military veterans: first steps of quality management and future program development

Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 Jul;3(4):27-31. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.050.


Veterans of all war eras have a high rate of chronic disease, mental health disorders, and chronic multi-symptom illnesses (CMI).(1-3) Many veterans report symptoms that affect multiple biological systems as opposed to isolated disease states. Standard medical treatments often target isolated disease states such as headaches, insomnia, or back pain and at times may miss the more complex, multisystem dysfunction that has been documented in the veteran population. Research has shown that veterans have complex symptomatology involving physical, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral disturbances, such as difficult to diagnose pain patterns, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, or neurocognitive dysfunction.(2-4) Meditation and acupuncture are each broad-spectrum treatments designed to target multiple biological systems simultaneously, and thus, may be well suited for these complex chronic illnesses. The emerging literature indicates that complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) approaches augment standard medical treatments to enhance positive outcomes for those with chronic disease, mental health disorders, and CMI.(5-12.)

Keywords: acupuncture; chronic multisymptom illness (CMI); complementary and integrative medicine (CIM); iRest Yoga Nidra; military; veterans.