US Air Force doctors deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan next year will have a new medical weapon in their arsenal: acupuncture. Military physicians, pleased with the success of treating wounded troops at home, will begin teaching battlefield medics how to fight severe or chronic pain by inserting tiny needles under soldiers’ skin, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence,” a surgeon said, adding that relief lasts for days. Doctors tap five points on the ear, interrupting signals headed for the brain. The ancient Chinese technique cannot replace morphine in combat, but it will help some patients avoid it and other psychotropic drugs known to cause side effects, allergies, and addiction. (Read more acupuncture stories.)