Complementary and alternative medicine Humor Medicine Quackery

Battlefield acupuncture (and more quackery) dramatized: Medic!

I’ve written about the infiltration of quackery into military medicine, beginning well over three years ago when I first noticed battlefield acupuncture and noticing how it’s infiltrating the military, thanks primarily to one Col. (Dr.) Richard Niemtzow. Today, I found someone who put it into a video form. Be forewarned, though, that the video contains things that might not be safe for work, such as blood and guts and swearing. But, hey, it is the military:

This video reminds me way too much of my little fictional interlude that I used to introduce my original post about battlefield acupuncture. The only difference was that the ending of my little fictional interlude turned out better than it did in this video.

Col. Niemtzow would be proud.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

24 replies on “Battlefield acupuncture (and more quackery) dramatized: Medic!”

Excellent instructional video! As I’ve said before, if all the people who tried “alternative” medicine before seeking real medical attention were laid out end-to-end, it would surprise nobody.

A sort of off-topic thought – there used to be a flechette round for the 40mm grenade launcher (M79 and M203) that fired 115 two-inch long darts. Could this be used as a sort of dual-purpose munition, to both kill and (via acupuncture) “cure”? We have seen often enough that needle placement does not affect the outcome of acupuncture, so the random distribution of puncture sites should not detract from the healing effect.

Any thoughts?


If the patient is a jarhead (Marine) as in this video, the call would be “Corpsman up!” not “Medic!” The former is a Navy hospital corpsman, the latter the demonstrably inferior Army version, or so this ex-grunt corpsman believes.

I was a paramedic in San Francisco, Monterey and Sonoma/Mendocino counties and responded to calls that were 2 or more hours away from the nearest base station hospital.

Sadly, the cases of woo that I had then were children that were beyond help. This was in the 80’s.

I was a paramedic in San Francisco, Monterey and Sonoma/Mendocino counties and responded to calls that were 2 or more hours away from the nearest base station hospital.

Sadly, the cases of woo that I had then were children that were beyond help. This was in the 80’s.

I think that prehospital care will never deal with woo.

Funny but derivative of that Mitchell and Webb homeopathic emergency room skit.

…which makes me really want a homeopathic beer right now.

@ #3 Matthew Cline:

Sadly, TF2’s Medic is more competent than most alt med practitioners.

Seeing as many of my coworkers are ex-military, I figured this would be safe for *my* workplace. 😉 It’s hilarious! Like the Mitchell & Webb Homeopathic AE bit, it’s a bit of a strawman, since even the most die-hard alties understand that waving a crystal over a person’s bloody stump ain’t gonna do a damn thing. But it’s important to point it out, because if they think *this* is ridiculous, why don’t they think the actual alt-med is ridiculous? The actual stuff makes no more sense. It’s just less blindingly obvious. Acupuncture won’t cure asthma any more than it’ll cure a severed limb.

Battlefield ACUPUNCTURE????? As in, to treat battlefield injuries? I don’t believe it. You really really really just could not make this stuff up. What next, battlefield reiki? Maybe we need “energy therapy” on the battlefield to prevent soldiers from being hit by enemy bullets. Better yet, maybe we can use Reiki Masters to assassinate enemy leaders. (The intense stupidity is so great it will suffocate any rational human being in their presence.)

I’ve just heard recently that, at one of the very many addiction clinics in Finland (one where my pal’s wife works, actually), they use ear acupuncture for addiction clients… even though there are many studies stating that – not only is acupuncture useless for addictions – it is useless for bloody anything!!!!!

Finland is a country that claims a very high standard of scientific literacy. Personally, I think they talk bollocks.

Shared this with my son and his best friend, who loved it (between their love of war-type video games and its obvious spoof-type quality). I consider it a bit of an “inoculation” against the more fantastic claims of alternative medicine (or at least hope it is).

Prometheus : Well, you could have a point. I could think of some test subjects . . . .

oh, and… you can practice your woo on me just as long as I get to practice my acupuncture on you. I use #7 needles and I tend to use a drift mallet to insert them.


I was thinking more along the lines of a dual-purpose personal weapon for medics/corpsmen – they could use the M203 (which medics/corpsmen are currently not allowed to carry under the Geneva Convention) to protect themselves and as a handy treatment modality for mass-casualty situations.

On a more serious note, the idea that some fool (COL Richard Niemtzow) is advocating that wounded soldiers be treated with a useless quack “treatment” fills me with disgust.


well this takes acupuncture back to it’s battlefield discovery in China,or something like that.

I’m hoping you will comment on this study:
Acupuncture Safe for Kids
Here’s an interesting line:

Risks of acupuncture are important because evidence of efficacy is “still being developed” in pediatrics, as the group pointed out.

E² Acupuncture Science
Any skeletal muscle pain can be easily cured by Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture.

For 4,610 years (2600BC), Yellow Explorer’s time. Until now acupuncturist continues this ancient TCM practice to eliminating all diseases (trying). All the main hospitals of China use this to treat most patients as busy as KFC fast food.

Acupuncture treatment will has needling sensation effect for first few days. This called “DE Qi/Chi” (Arrival of Oxy’Blood—needling sensation). it must be achieved so that Yin & Yang(Negative and Positive energy) can be balanced and body’s immune system has strengthens, else diseases can’t be eliminated. The fundamental manipulating techniques are Lifting and thrusting & Twirling or rotating. TCM Acupuncture therapeutic works and easily cures muscular pain if apply correctly.

Beside sciatica(more trials needed), all others skeletal muscle pains are not recorded in TCM text therefore no “Acupoints(???)” can be provided to any acupuncturist as that they need to advancing the practice and pick the right AcuPoints.

Be respectful, Acupuncture is not a device or voodoo magic, it does not release any things (certainly not endorphins, inflammation, etc, ..) or anti-inflammatory agents. Please do not mislead. It is a marvelous 4,610+ years old, micro surgical tool, etc, .

“An acupuncture is bad science”. not much can be expected in 4,610 years ago, good science & resources only available from 1850AD such great scientists: Heinrich Hertz (1887) & Albert Einstein (1905).
Since 2005 E² Acupuncture has added a new chapter of modem acupuncture science. which has scientific proven, formulated, verified and even dispelling the amount of excessive Yins/-Toxin can be calculated. Treatment uses single new save disposal and painless micro-needle insertion to proper “Acupoints(??)” and has no side effects, least risk mainly due to accident same as any treatments. No Lifting and thrusting & Twirling or rotating manipulating needed so that patient cans comfortably having a cup of tea/coffee.

Acupuncturist must fully understood the Five Elements(五行), Five Changes(五变) and Five Shu/Transports(五输/通) Yin & Yang balance principles. if any one treated by 5 X 30 minutes in 2 weeks and has no relief by 4 weeks, please discontinues and shop around.

I have my Plantar fasciitis cured twice by my own EE Acupuncture, last cured was on march/2011 since then pain remains free and no sign of coming back. (EE: Eliminates Excessive Yins/-Toxin/Electrons)

check/click on my site below

or more help below sites

Sciatica update (loc: buttock & 5 inches down, 2 spots).
treated on 30th/10/2011.
12 days after and feedback:

“Been feeling the slight tenderness in the area where the needle were inserted. Felt my legs is tired but not the numbness.” (50% pain relief, 100% no numbness)

5 weeks Later (email on 4th/11/2011):
“Seems to be fine, slight tenderness but definitely better than before” (now 90% cure)

why pain relief if it can be so easily cured.
and the cost of curing it is so much less then a pair of PF shoes and not to mention others, .


Comments are closed.


Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading