Battlefield acupuncture, a form of ear acupuncture, is well-known in military medicine. It’s now making its way to the civilian population due to ease of use, minimal risk involved, and effectiveness in relieving pain.
John Howard, a clinician and academic, is a leading authority on this revolutionary technique. Upon earning his degree in acupuncture, he completed a five-year fellowship with the father of battlefield acupuncture himself, Dr. Richard Niemtzow. John joins Back Talk Doc host, Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia, to discuss battlefield acupuncture’s history, how it works, as well as some of the programs he runs to help fellow clinicians learn and implement the technique.
Battlefield focuses on inserting needles into specific points in the ear to relieve pain. And with the low risk involved combined with high pain reduction rates, it’s a safe alternative to opioid use. “There's no contraindication with the medicine. You can’t say well, since you’re on this medication, I can’t give you this needle.” John says. “You don’t have to contact the pharmacy to see if there are any problems with this. It’s that simple.”
John and Dr. Lakhia also share examples of how the technique has relieved pain with their own patients, as well as discussing John’s upcoming book to help other clinicians implement battlefield and bring their patients a better quality of life.
Name: John Howard, LAc., Dipl. Ac
What he does: John is a clinician and academician, providing international lectures in acupuncture and auriculotherapy. He has authored five books and 21 articles on the subject.
Company: Battlefield Acupuncture Seminars
Words of wisdom: “It's really embryology at its finest. Have one of your members look at someone’s ear, or even look at their own ear in the mirror. It kind of looks like an inverted fetus in the womb. And you can go back to physics where the part contains the whole, where the specific parts on the ear contain specific parts of the body. And with the interaction of the cranial nerves, that's how the body balances out the pain and its processes. And that's the question everybody always asks. They always say, Well, how does battlefield work? And I say, Very well, thank you, and just go along with that.”
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Welcome. You are listening to Back Talk Doc, where you'll find answers to some of the most common questions about back pain and spine health. Brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, where cutting edge nationally recognized care is delivered through a compassionate approach. This podcast is for informational purposes only and not intended to be used as personalized medical advice. And now, it's time to understand the cause of back pain and learn about options to get you back on track. Here's your Back Talk Doc, Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
One of the things I love about running a podcast on back pain is that I get to talk to individuals who are doing pioneering work across the country, when it comes to pain, health, and vitality. Many of you know me, I've been performing acupuncture in my clinic since 2004. And one of the things that I offer in my clinic is a form of ear acupuncture, otherwise known as auricular acupuncture. What's exciting about this is that this type of acupuncture, referred to as battlefield acupuncture, can oftentimes shut down the acute pain response almost instantaneously. It's something that I love to perform and have really been researching it, and wanting to have a conversation with one of the world's authorities on it. And today, I'm delighted to be interviewing John Howard to talk about battlefield acupuncture. So John, welcome to the show.John Howard (:
Oh, thank you for having me, Doc.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
All right. Let me introduce you to everyone. John completed his degree in acupuncture from the Maryland Institute of Traditional Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland in 2004. Upon completion of his acupuncture degree, Professor Howard entered a five-year fellowship with the US military under the direction of Richard Niemtzow, MD PhD, who is essentially the father of battlefield acupuncture.(:
Professor Howard is both a clinician and an academician, and I've had the privilege of taking his course several years ago here in North Carolina and just loved his teachings. He's provided consultations at Andrews Air Force Base, Walter Reed Army Hospital, and has worked with wounded warriors and taught hundreds of practitioners this technique. John's bio and experience goes on and on. Let me just say, he's a leading authority on this revolutionary technique for pain, and I'm ready to dive into helping the listeners learn more about it, gain some more exposure, and just have a good conversation today. So let's go ahead and get started.(:
Why don't we start here, John. Go ahead and define, what is battlefield acupuncture, for those who are not familiar.John Howard (:
It's a form of auricular acupuncture or ear acupuncture that uses up to five needles in each ear to reduce one's pain. It's been around since 2001 and it really has its inception in the military, and then over time it trickled into the civilian population. So it's pretty new in the civilian population, probably in the last 10 years or so. It's really starting to pick up, but prior to that it was all focused on the military and military medicine.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Give me a sense for the chronology of how this was discovered, and who were some of the major players involved nationally with it?John Howard (:
Sure. So to understand battlefield, you have to understand the inventor. That's Richard Niemtzow. Dr. Niemtzow, as you said, he started his acupuncture training in 1995, and by 2001, he really honed his skills on using the specific points to help people in his clinic. For instance, he loved three points in particular, and those three points were called Omega Two, Shen Men, and Point Zero. You got those no matter what kind of condition you had. You could have a broken foot or broken heart, you got out those three points.(:
Right around 2000 or 2001 sometime, he went to France because that's where he went to medical school, to go to a conference. And while he was there, he came across these things called ASP needles. And the ASP needles are the needles we use for battlefield. They stand for auricular and semi-permanent. That's what ASP stands for. He came back to the US and he decided to speak to one of the authorities on auriculotherapy, a guy named Terry Oleson, and Terry Oleson at the time was working at the University of California Irvine, with a guy named Z. H. Shu.(:
Z. H. Shu is the man who invented the PET scan machine. They were doing some research and trying to figure out how the brain works and how it processes this whole auricular thing. When he went to ask Oleson about these needles, Oleson said, "Look, I would love to speak to you, but we just got some new FRMI research that just came off the play here. We want to take a look at it." And Niemtzow said, "Well, I have a PhD and MPH, can I come and take a look?" He said, "Sure." And in this process they, found two points specifically, the Cingulate Gyrus and the Thalamus. They found out that the Cingulate Gyrus not only deals with the pain of the person, but it deals with the emotions associated with it. And that was a really key to them. The other thing with the Thalamus was, they found that the first place that the stimuli reaches the brain, the pain sensor, it goes into the Thalamus.(:
So Niemtzow asked him, "Well, what happens if you put a point or a needle in these points? What is the outcome?" And they said, "We don't know. We just got this information back. They were clinicians too also, so they haven't had a chance to do it." So Niemtzow went back to his clinic that day in San Diego, where he was practicing at the military hospital in Balboa. And he said that he had this patient, I believe she had fibromyalgia, I think. And he goes, "You know what? I can treat this patient for 45 minutes and use all different types of modalities of medicine." And he goes, "I really would get great results, maybe her pain from an eight to a four." He said, "But when I use these needles and I used those two points, the Cingulate Gyrus and the Thalamus," he goes, "It was almost instantaneously, this woman's pain went away."(:
And I thought, it's interesting that it worked so quick for him, and that's how that evolved. And in saying his name, Niemtzow, most people can't pronounce it or spell it. So this is right around 2000, 2001. So when the terrorist attacks happened here in the US, he was very patriotic and he said, "What would be a really good place for this medicine to go?" And he said, "On the battlefield, this is where I think would have the best impact." Because at that time, no civilian acupuncturists or MDs were doing this type of acupuncture. So we called it the battlefield acupuncture, with the intent, that's where it was going to go. It was going to go right on the battlefield, and that's where it went.(:
And to be honest with you, to step back a bit, 10, 12 years prior to that, when I was on the battlefield, we had two drugs. We called them M and Ms, morphine and Motrin. And if you had a head wound, we had somebody with a respiratory issue, you're out of luck, you're getting Motrin. But this battlefield revolutionized how we can practice on the battlefield. Now, granted, through all the wars we've been through since 2001, we have a lot more different type of narcotics and better things than we had back in the nineties when I was on the field. So it kind of stick. And from there, it started getting a lot of popularity.(:
Matter of fact, just last year, the Air Force trained 10,000 personnel to do battlefield acupuncture, and they've been doing that now for a couple years in a row. And that's just the Air force. So you have more people doing battlefield that are in the military, than in the civilian sector. So that's how, that's a little bit of background about the battlefield, how it came about, its inception and the inventor.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Okay, let's back up, 30,000 foot view, because I have a lot of people who follow my podcast who are simply laypeople who are looking for answers, and I do have clinicians as well. So an obvious question, and I get this in the office a lot, is how on earth does putting a needle in an ear affect another part of the body? Now when I try to explain it, I know there's concepts regarding simulation of different cranial nerve innovation in the ear, there's embryologic correlations. What would be your way to explain this to someone new to auricular acupuncture?John Howard (:
It's embryology. It's really embryology on its finest. Have one of your members look at somebody else's ear, or even look at their own ear in the mirror. It kind of looks like an inverted fetus in the womb. And you can go back to physics where the part contains the hole, where specific parts on the ear contains specific parts of the body, and went to interaction of the cranial nerves. That's how the body balances out the pain and its processes. And that's a question everybody always asks. They always say, "Well, how does battlefield work?" And I say, "Very well, thank you." And just go on with that. That's what I like to say, because we can get into all these theories on how it works.(:
And that was one of the interesting things about Niemtzow, was that he was an oncologist. And he'd say to me, "John, whenever I'd give my patients more time to live, they were thankful. They went and just enjoyed their life." He goes, "When an acupuncture sees and that works, they want to question everything. They want to know why, who, what, and how, instead of going enjoying it." He goes, "I don't care if this is an energetic aspirin, the fact that my patients are getting better, that's all I care about." So we can get into these philosophical debates. And I have people say, "Well, John, I don't believe in acupuncture." I said, "Well, neither do I. it's not a religion. It's not something you have to believe in." But then they want to just kind of, "Well, what about this? What about this theory, the gate theory and all these other theories?" And I said, "Your guest is as good as mine."(:
For many years, we didn't know how morphine worked, but it still worked. It took us some time to figure that one out. And I understood where he was coming from. He didn't really care, as long as the results were there. And he said, "Eventually, time will catch up with technology and we'll figure this out." So from the perspective of the inventor of a auriculotherapy, Paul Nogier, he was a physician, also a neurologist, and who studied physics. And his whole concept was the inverted fetus in ear through cranial interactions of the different organ systems. That's how we tell people it works. Now, is that how it works? I believe how it works, but I could be wrong in years to come.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Right. And when I look at any intervention, particularly with my background in physiatry and integrative medicine, my litmus tests are, does it have clinical evidence of effectiveness? Is it reasonably safe, and or is the cost burden reasonable as well? So to me, battlefield acupuncture, and I've been doing it now since, in small scale, probably since 2015, but much more since I took your course in 2019. I feel like it checks all those boxes. Definitely comparative to some of the other interventions we offer for pain.(:
So moving forward with this, you mentioned something very striking. You talked about how many military members have been trained in the technique. Where are they applying this? Is this being done in the clinic setting? Where else are they using this?John Howard (:
So battlefield acupuncture is a form of standard care in the hospitals. So even back in 2010, '11, when I was at Bethesda Walter Reed, or it was called Naval Hospital Bethesda at the time. Now it's where those two hospitals conglomerates mixed together. They were using it as a form of standard care, inpatient hospital. So the Air Force uses it at all 77 of its clinics and hospitals worldwide. So it's being used everywhere. It's used in the VA. And since probably 2016 or '17, I had the opportunity to go out to Park, Arizona and train the Native American and the Hualapai reservation, how to do auriculotherapy, battlefield acupuncture. So it's now growing in size.(:
And like I said, still the majority of people who practice this are on the inside, on the military process. It's because the reason why to do battlefield acupuncture in a state, I live in Maryland, you basically have to have eight years of education. You need to have a bachelor's degree and four years of education of acupuncture, where in the military you get four hours of training and you're good to go. So because the military's like that, you can't sue.(:
And when I was on the battlefield at the age of 20, they gave me a big bag of drugs. You wouldn't do that to a 21-year-old these days. But that's how it is when you're on the battlefield. Situations call for different circumstances. There's no scope of practice in the military, because federal law trumps state law. So that's why they can get it through and do a lot of that. So that's what you're seeing. That's why it's being mostly predominantly used in the military, because they can get anybody.(:
And I'll be honest with you, some years ago I went to Fort Riley, Kansas and there was a gentleman there, he called himself as secretary, but they referred to him as admin. And he knew nothing about medical except how to type it up. And they said, "We want you to train him because you see a lot of people come from distance." Kansas, it was out in the middle of nowhere. "Just in case all our clinicians go home, he'll be here to know how to do it, so we don't have to send them off." I said, "Okay, no problem." And of everybody I trained, MDs, PAs, MPs, everybody on, he was the best. He was amazing. He's like, "I don't know what I'm doing." I'm like, "Well, you're doing fine." It was almost like he was a plant. That's how good it was. So I find people who don't really understand a lot can get it. So it's not something really hard.(:
It can be complex because you can turn to symptom mathematics if you really want to, or you can make it just five points. You can call 0.135 or you can give them names based on the nomenclature that Niemtzow came up with. You can make it easy or hard. So that's where it's being mostly provided, for services in the US military and VA service. Matter of fact, also NATO forces, just last week, the Air Force has told me. Well, Niemtzow has told me that they just got an agreement to train 1200 physicians at NATO forces, battlefield acupuncture. So now NATO is going to be training the US military on how to do this. How to do the NATO forces, I should say.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
And again, for people who are trying to conceptualize what we're talking about, these needles are very small. They come in a sleeve that you literally can fit in your shirt pocket or in your coat pocket. And I think that's what makes it one of the reasons why it's so desirable of a tool that can be applied in almost any setting. And outside of maybe rare bleeding disorders, or hypertrophic skin reactions that people may have, thickening, there's very few, if any, real contraindications or concerns, at least on a broad scale. So this is why I felt like it's worthwhile having a conversation to spread the word about it.(:
Now you mentioned the five points in the protocol. Am I correct in understanding that we said earlier, that there is some thought process behind the order of those points and how they're inserted?John Howard (:
The interesting thing is that, when you took the course, you learned it from me. You learned it the way that was taught to me by the inventor, and how you would learn it if you were going to become a physician acupuncturist. When they train the military personnel, no matter who the personnel, if it's a physician or the admin person, they train him as a technician. So they say, "Okay, if the pain is left-sided, then you treat it T-lateral." And in some places we'll say, "You treat all five points bilaterally," so you're basically becoming a good technician. So when you use it from the civilian sector, you would put up to five needles in, so you would stop when the pain is at the proper titrated level. So that's what it would be that you would see. You would see maybe it might take one needle, it might take five or 10, but you would always keep reassessing the pain, after you insert one of these needles.(:
After you insert one of these little ASP needles, you'd have a patient walk for about 30 to 40 seconds. When they came back, you would say, "Okay, we started, your pain was an eight out of 10. I inserted that needle. What's your pain level now from zero to 10?" And you kind of go that way. And if you need to go further, then you would just do the same point on the other side. So you go, same back and forth. Where in the military it's just like, "Okay, I have right shoulder pain, right-hand pain," you're going to get all five needles in the right ear and everything is T-lateral, because they're training them to be just technicians. So it all depends on how you practice this. It can be practiced as a technician or it could be even more than that processes. That's two ways you can practice it.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Interesting thing about it that I've observed, let me just share with you a couple of cases that I've had and just kind of get your instant feedback. I had a patient who had a recent radial head fracture, so an arm fracture and was in a sling and trying to work through that in obvious discomfort. And we put in one needle on, I actually did the contralateral side. And if I remember the reason I did that was, because she likes to sleep on the other side. And she said, "Really the first needle, the pain went 50% down," so that was a Cingulate Gyrus. The second needle, Thalamus point, she said, "It felt like I shot lidocaine in her arm," and she was just unbelievably shocked, surprised and happy and was able to get through her work week much better while her bone fracture was healing. So that was a real kind of, my staff referred to it as wizardry because there's really, there's almost nothing else I can offer a patient that has that dramatic effect, that I can at least do in a clinic setting versus a hospitalized setting. So that's one.(:
And then another case that I've been working on for a patient, is that middle-aged female who has really severe disc based loss, almost bone-on-bone m-plate disease. And insurance is denying her procedure and it's in appeal for surgery. And she's actually been coming in about every couple of weeks and we end up putting in three to five needles, just depending. I let her kind of tell me where she wants them, which side and what color. Sure. And it's been about a 60% pain reduction, and it lasts even beyond when the needles fall out. So I feel like there's been some chronic pain modulation with this as well. Love to hear your thoughts on the use of BFA for acute versus chronic pain.John Howard (:
Well again, a lot of people will say, "Oh, BFA only works for acute pain." And then you'll have another class of people, and this is in the military will say, "Oh, I only use it for chronic pain." So you have this back and forth. I find that if a patient comes in, they're in pain, I'll try it. There's no harm in that. You can't go wrong. I find it works on acute pain, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, all sorts of pain.(:
What I sent you some time ago was this blood typing, to see about works with battlefield better. My goal was to find out if I can find a specific type of patient that this protocol works with or doesn't work with. That was the goal. Why does it work on some and not on others? It's not perfect, it's not magic. It's one of those things. And if I can kind of streamline that, it'd be very interesting.(:
I was never able to find out that, what patients it worked better on than others, or it did or did not. But I was able to find some clues by your blood type. So for me, I do it on my patients that have both acute pain and chronic pain and even neuropathic pain now. There's a couple points that I use now inside the ear, just two points. The real Thalamus inside the ear, inside the concha, you just put them in and you let them walk and they're like, "What? I can feel my feet now." So I mean I'm finding that, complex regional pain syndrome, I'm finding patients respond really well to that because it's a distal, because it's not, unless they have ear, unless there are problems in their ear, usually it's one in the limbs, it's a really good advantage to treat them. And they're the ones that have this broken pain sensory as I would say, it's kind of stuck up all the time, stuck on.(:
So I find it works on a whole bunch of different types of pains. It doesn't matter if it's acute or chronic, both. I've seen some patients who had old injuries flare up, so they're acute and chronic at the same time. So it works on them. So it's really interesting. When you had your case and the woman said that it felt like you shot lidocaine. If you can just think in your head what her face probably looked like, she was probably shocked. A lot of patients will walk around, they'll be looking at you, they're looking down and you can see there's something going on, there's something ticking. And they're looking at you and they're looking down, they're looking around.(:
They think it's a placebo, like, "Is this in my head?" And I'll look and I'll be like, "No, it's in your ear. I didn't mess it up." I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no." You know what I mean? No, that's a strong placebo. I'm not going to lie that, there's placebo on a lot of things we do. Sure, and Niemtzow will be the first person to tell you that. But when you see how fast and how well this works and for how long, you start to think well be beyond placebo, "What's going on here? Why does this patient has this incredible results and maybe this patient over here doesn't?" That's where I wanted to find that, I guess you can say that information that would give me the full picture on how to treat better with any condition. And I couldn't, because it works on any different types of pain, not a hundred percent on either or, but it has really good results.(:
And like you said, it's cheap and it's effective, and it's fast and it's easy. And there's really little side effects. The worst side effect I can think of is if one of these years, one of these needles causes of infection, there's not a lot of blood flow to the ear. So that can cause an outer ear infection if possible. But if you take the precautions, it's minimal like everything else. So for me, I use that on all different types of pain. I can't say that it works better on acute or chronic, but I can tell you that it just works based on the patient's pathology.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Yeah, one of the things that you, and then also my mentor, Dr. Helms, who when I did my training with Joe Helms, had kind of cautioned on was over-treating. And I have had a few cases where I've, you almost as a practitioner get too excited when you see a response and the pain drops from a nine down to a two, and then you try and go for the one or zero and you over-treat. So I've had, I kind of tell the patient, "I dorfed you up, too much endorphin release." They get a little lightheaded and you have to sit them down, lay them down. So that is a caution. So my typical goal is if I can get them to around a three, I let the body kind of take it from there.John Howard (:
Yeah, you go from looking cool to like a fool. I've had that experience many of times. What I've done in the past when I've done that, I just retreated. They dropped down on, "Oh, we're at a half a point, let me see if I get it to a zero." You know what I'm saying? And then the patients spike back up where they have these symptoms, and I would just start pulling the needles out in the order that the last one went in and the symptoms would disappear. I've done that a few times.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
For me though, it's been, as a practitioner, it's an amazing tool to have in the toolbox when people come in with pain, and being able to deliver something in the moment. Briefly touch on a little more if you're comfortable with the needles. The ASP needles you talked about earlier, gold, classic, titanium. And there was some discussion in our course about some importance regarding the actual material, the metal itself and its role in the therapeutic process.John Howard (:
When I was with the Air Force, they would all get gold and I had asked Niemtzow, I said, "Why do you give gold?" And he would say, "Well, patients perform or they prefer gold," or something like that. And I'm like, "Oh, that makes sense." And then I didn't, at that time I didn't know there was other types. There was the classic needle, which is the stainless steel, and then there's another needle that just came out in, I think '95. It's called a titanium needle. So there's three different types of metals you can use. So when I was doing my own practice, I have a different demographics than the military does. I would start putting needles in, and one time this patient said, "Oh, you have gold. Do you have anything other than gold? I prefer silver. I prefer silver jewelry." That's really interesting. So I would always ask the patients after, before I treat, I said, "If you're going to wear jewelry, what type of jewelry would you prefer to wear? Gold or silver?" I also say, "White gold or platinum," or so, you get those things.(:
But most patients will tell you, because if you put gold in somebody who doesn't want gold in their ears, it's going to affect how long that needle stays in. It might affect their overall outcome. And after a while, you can start to tell who wants gold and who wants silver. I mean, an easy way of saying this is if your patient shops at Hot Topic in the mall, they look like vampires, they're probably going to want silver. They're just probably, the gold's a little too flashy.(:
Some of my patients who are immune compromised, I'll use the titanium needles or if I'm doing something like a presurgical treatment, I'll do titanium needles, because they're designed to go inside the OR where there's no arc from the scalpel, where you can run through an MRI. They were designed to go through MRI machines. These, they're not magnetic. So getting the proper needle and the proper patient is all about titration. About, that's the start of it. So you got to have, just ask them, say, "What do you prefer?" Let them tell you. If you try to guess, you're probably going to be 50% right.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
It's just fascinating. There's a lot of rabbit holes you can go down. Now, you do a ton of teaching. It's obvious to me you're passionate about educating other clinicians on this technique. Share a little bit with people listening, some of the programs that you run.John Howard (:
Well, like I said, I do, I teach to both the military and the VA, and the Native Americans and civilian population, here in the US and in Europe. So we usually get people to come in and the class will start with the morning. It was a didactic. Well, you'll learn the basic points, how to learn to put the needles in, a little bit about the precautions, what you should and should not do. And you get those general housekeeping things out of the way.(:
The afternoon is now, you got to take what you learned in the morning and put it into real practical use, which I really liked. So you get to didactic in the morning, you to clinical, hands on in the afternoon. That's how our classes usually run. And there are two days. So the first day would be the basic battlefield where you get to learn how to use the basic points and understand the concepts of it. And the advanced techniques there where you can start adding more than one needle on one specific point. Where let's say, you're using battlefield and the results are either going slow or not getting what you want. What you can also do is add in specific pathology and specific needles that will address the pathology of symptomology. So you can do an advanced technique. And then if you find one point works really well, you can take a second needle and put it right next to it and have a little galvanic current, and you'll see that the results even dropping further.(:
So there's a lot of things you can do with this battlefield. Like I said, it could be either really hard, you can make it complex. Or either way, it's really fun to learn because it works so well on these patients and they're excited about it. A lot of my patients either don't want medicine for some reason or they can't be on medicine, because they're on a lot of medicines for some reason. But the battlefield, there's no contra-indication with medicine. You can't say, "Well, since you're on this medication, I can't give you this needle." There's none of that. There's no thinking in that process. You don't have to contact a pharmacy and see if there's any problems with this. It's that simple. And it's all about just learning how to put those needles in and helping your patients, and you'd be surprised how well it works. Something so simple can be so good.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Yeah, it's just fascinating. Do you also want to share a little bit, I just ordered hot off the press, your new Auricular Atlas that you co-authored? Do you want to talk a little bit about that?John Howard (:
Yeah, so during the pandemic, I had to find something to do, because I was kind of bored and kind of going crazy. Here in Maryland, we weren't considered essential employees in the beginning. So in March they said, "Okay," because I work at a physician's office in Kensington, Maryland. She said, "Look for a phone call from me around September." And I said, "Oh, that gives me a whole bunch of time." So I was looking through my notes and I was just kind of going through things and I thought, "You know what? I really want to write a book about something, about auriculotherapy." And I got a call from a girl, a friend of mine from Germany and she was trying to put together a book that was published many years ago, that I published here in the US.(:
And we were talking about, how can we get this book in from English into German? And she goes, "Why don't we work on something together that will combine what you want to do, combined with the information that's been out there." And I said, "That's a great idea." So she wrote half and I wrote the other half of the book, and she's an incredible illustration personnel. And she's the one who did the printing of it, or I should say the printing of the European. And she was great on that. Alls I provided her with was my transcripts, and did everything, wrote much as I could. And she did everything. And it basically, it goes into all of the works that it's really hard to find. Because when you buy a book on auricular therapy, unfortunately, here's what happens. You have the guy who invented, which is a guy named Paul Nogier, and he's considered the father by the Chinese government.(:
Mao Zedong's government in 1959 gave him full credit. They said, "This is something that we're going to incorporate. We're going to call this auriculotherapy acupuncture, and now you're the father of it." Over time, the Chinese have this tendency to be like, "Oh, no, no, this has been our text for 10,000 years, and look at these rocks and look at the cave drawings." And so then you have other people coming up and saying, "Oh no, it's over here." So you have these different schools now, fractions out, fractioned off. So if you buy a book, you're not going to get the whole story of the inventor of how his stuff was. You're going to get some of his stuff, but you're going to get a lot of the Chinese stuff, because most people practice on the outside are acupuncturists. So that resonates well with them.(:
So what we wanted to do is give them a full history and a full story from the beginning, because some of the books that I have it's really hard to find. They're expensive. If I had to get them from Spain, they had to be flown in, I mean some crazy stuff. And I said, "It's ridiculous." I don't know what the copyrights are on a lot of this stuff. So I said, "Why don't we work together and put together something that's not easily accessible, but it will be once we get this knowledge together." So that was the whole concept of this book, was to put together all of the theories and schools from the original inventor that haven't been out there in many years. And that's what this book's about. Matter of fact, your book was just mailed out the other day. I saw it come through it. It's on its way.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Awesome.John Howard (:
Your tracking information.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Well, thank you for putting the effort in for that so people like me can benefit, trying to help and take care of patients. This was a great discussion. It's not a new technique, but it is new to a lot of people. So I really appreciate you taking the time from a busy schedule. And as you know, as a licensed acupuncturist, you're always working towards helping people maintain energetic balance in their life. So before I let you go, do you want to share a few tips that you have found helpful for your own personal health and fitness, that keep you vibrant, energetic, and part of the group of clinicians helping people feel better?John Howard (:
Well, I find that for me personally, I do use battlefield on myself, and it's kind of hard to do it on yourself. It's not the most pleasant thing, but it seems to work really well. Whenever I feel like I'm starting to get a cold, or I feel like maybe I feel run down or I just mentally, because I've been working at the clinic all the time, I use battlefield myself and it works great. I mean, I remember the first time I had it, I thought it worked well on other people, but it works on you. It's kind of like, "Whoa, this is interesting." Because we have this concept that what works on them, not me. But I'm the type of person who believes in the medicine and uses the medicine. I'm not the one just believing it and pushing it. I'm really using it. So for me, proper rest, sleep, exercise, and battlefield, it goes a long way.(:
I mean, I'm sure you're really busy being a physiatrist and seeing a lot of patients, and after a while you just get run down, and you're tired and you don't eat really well, and then all those things kind of add up over time. With the battlefield, I'm amazed how well it works. It kind of gives me a little oomph, a little more bump to it and it works great. I mean it's from that perspective, also using just keto, just general techniques I learned in acupuncture school. I'll give you an example. So everybody talks about diet. Everybody says, "Oh, diet and here's the best diet, here's the other diet." And the Chinese diet was really simple. They said, "Look outside, what's the weather?" "Well, it's hot and dry." "Eat something cold and wet."(:
Yeah, do the opposite. It's cold. Well, you eat something hot and dry. It was a yin yang thing. I thought, "Oh, isn't that amazing?" So something simple, it doesn't matter what you eat, just do the opposite of weather. So if you want to try this out on a cold, snowy day, eat a Caesar's salad with extra dressing, and see if you don't feel really sluggish. They'd say, "Grill something like salmon on a grill or use cinnamon." So these little concepts, it's the little thing that, just look outside. What's the weather? Do the opposite of your diet. Doesn't matter what you eat. It was incredible.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
I love the simplicity.John Howard (:
Yeah, I mean it's like battlefield, and it's like don't make it too complex. The other thing that I think will help patients is that when I worked with Niemtzow, one of the things with him was, you always view the glass as half full, not half empty. And I'm sure you asked the patient the question I'm going to tell you today. You always ask them, demograph, what's your name? How old you are? What are you here for? Well, when he would ask those questions, he'd ask her name. And when he asked them their age, he would say, "Ma'am, can you tell me how young you are?" Not how old you were, but how young you were. And you would see them look at you because they never had anybody ask them how young they were. It's always how old you were. And you would see something just flip the switch. Maybe it was a placebo or not, but it's how you approach it, how you approach the treatment.(:
I always found those little tips to help me and help my longevity of doing this. So that are some of the tips I have. One is, I use battlefield, and two, simple diet. Look outside, whatever the weather is, do the opposite. It's hot, eat something cold. If it's cold, eat something hot. It's that simple.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
That's amazing. They talk about that a little bit in Ayurvedic medicine as well, about kind of balancing your doshas. But we intuitively will do that. If it's cold, you're looking for some hot warm chicken soup or a cup of ginger tea. So it's good to keep it simple and not get too complicated with macro diets and food plans. Well, listen, John, I really enjoyed this conversation and I appreciate your time. Hopefully I can catch up with you soon, next time you're running some courses in North Carolina, and look forward to, hopefully we can stay in touch.John Howard (:
All right, Doc, you have a good day.Sanjiv Lakhia (:
Okay. Thank you. Take Care.John Howard (:
Take care.Voiceover (:
Thank you for listening to this episode of Back Talk Doc, brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back issues, go to backtalkdoc.com. We look forward to having you join us for more insights about back pain and spine health on the next episode of Back Talk Doc. Additional information is also available at carolinaneurosurgery.com.