search   RSS Feeds
Click to search

Living Healthy

Doctors turn to alternative medicine to treat wounded vets

BOSTON (WHDH) -- Healing the emotional and physical scars from war.

Many military practitioners are now using alternative medicines to treat wounded warriors.

"I want you to keep your eyes focused on a spot in your line of sight," a hypnotist tells a group of students.

The group of students at the uniformed services university was learning how to hypnotize people.

The hope?

That it can be used to treat members of the military dealing with the wounds of battle, both physically and mentally.

"A lot of times our patient population is different than the civilian populations. So we're dealing with often, traumatic injuries a lot of times when you're overseas. So we're always thinking, what's the best way to help this guy out," said 2nd Lt. John Trentino of the U.S. Air Force.

The hypnosis class is part of a broader movement at the military medical school that's teaching students alternative medicine - techniques that can be used to both treat their patients and for self care.

"A lot of the tools and techniques that they're learning here are aimed at they themselves as practitioners about to launch a career in military medicine, where they are going to be challenged in ways that they can't anticipate," said Ret. Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker.

U.S. Army Retired Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker is a professor of emergency medicine.

He says part of the challenge is to treat the growing number of wounded warriors left injured during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many of those veterans are dealing with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, even addiction - all conditions where alternative or complimentary medicine has proven successful.

"12 years into armed conflict and the unprecedented challenges facing both the force and those caring for that force means they ought to have exposure to widest range of effective therapies they can," said Ret. Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker.

Another techniques showing a lot of success is yoga.

"It was very relaxing. They were difficult but they felt good. You were lengthening your body and you were stretching and you felt very at peace," said Ensign Christine Soohoo of Public Health Service.

Also in the school's curriculum are chiropractic care, acupuncture and meditation.