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  • “While these stories can be heartwarming, it is important to realize that, without evidence, there is no basis for suggesting that the same experience will be true of others who seek out these same experiences.” I say the same is true with evidence-based modalities and with medications. Prazosin, for example, has worked well for nightmares in the majority of patients I see. Yet, a recent study reported it was not effective! Plus, I’ve had to hospitalize Soldiers going through some types of therapy, especially PET.

    So why doesn’t the military study some alternative modalities? In behavioral health a great number of patients complain about physical problems and the lack of effective care. In addition to PT, where Soldiers wear black uniforms, run in the dark, on pavement, and at the worst time of the day for physical exercise, why not also train them in Tai Chi, which tends to help both physical and mental conditions. It’s the only thing that keeps me going as a behavioral health provider.

    At one point I veered off the usual pathway and studied Chinese medicine philosophy, Tai chi, Qigong, and even became a Zen Shiatsu instructor. One of my best patients was my wife, who has fibromyalgia. I worked on her regularly and she earned a 3rd degree black belt in Hapkido, right alongside me.

    At the Asian acupuncture school where I taught Zen Shiatsu I was able to receive free acupuncture from students when they had openings. Admittedly it never did much for me except relax me. However, I developed a case of bilateral tendonitis in my elbows and suffered for a year. My ortho doc had nothing left to do but surgery and she didn’t think that would do much. One of the students at the school was a family-trained acupuncturist from Korea who was training in the states in order to obtain certification and work here. His needling knocked out the pain in one elbow in one treatment and the other with the second treatment. I have never had a problem since.

    I went even further off the recognized path and trained as a shamanic practitioner with a psychologist/medical anthropologist. I was shocked at the number of physicians and psychotherapists who were there with me. Most said they were there because they finally wanted to be able to help others. One therapist swore off talk therapy. A psychiatrist told me he wanted to help his peers who were committing suicide.

    My own PTSD decided it didn’t want to reside in me any longer, after a rough all-nighter in the Amazon jungle where I fought every demon I ever had. The only residual effects that remain are an aversion to loud noises and being aware of what happens around me. I’ll settle for that!

    So when will the military step up and get it’s own evidence?

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