Acupuncturists Without Borders Gives Free Treatments to Vets

I checked out the Acupuncturists Without Borders website
yesterday and I noticed that they are starting to focus more on giving free
treatments to veterans.There is a local
chapter in the Boston area (in Arlington) that I contacted to see if I could
do my part.I feel that this is
particularly relevant now because of a story I heard on NPR this morning where
an administrator VA hospital in Texas
sent out an email to her staff asking them to stop diagnosing PTSD, presumably
because of the cost of treating it.I am
convinced that Acupuncture is an effective, low cost solution to this problem. I am looking forward to getting involved and blogging about it!

There was something I was holding back about in my last blog
entry.There is a book I have read
recently that has inspired me called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.Since reading this book I have started to
focus more on what I want in a situation and I have been endeavoring to avoid
complaining at all costs.She also talks
about the power of gratitude so these days I make mental lists of things that I
am grateful for daily.

With regard to my clinic here are some of the things I am
grateful for:I have a volunteer that
contacted me out of the blue several weeks ago and she comes and plays live acoustic
guitar for my patients (relaxing, healing type music), I have a doctor that has
been referring so many patients to me that I went to his office and met him,
gave him some business cards, and he assured me that he would keep them
coming!I have another volunteer who comes
weekly and has helped me in so many ways such as hanging pictures, answering
the phones, and showing me where some Dr. Tung extra points are.

I am also grateful for my former business partner, her
industriousness and organizational abilities inspire me, I learned quite a lot
from her about how this whole community acupuncture thing works.

Yesterday I was driving around putting up flyers at health
food stores and I got pulled over for speeding.While the cop was back at his car writing out the ticket I said to
myself “I am not going to complain or worry about this” so I just put on the
radio and waited for him to get back.When he returned he said “I’m just going to give you a warning this
time.”It is hard for me to prove but I
think my attitude might have helped prevent me from getting a ticket. Whew!

After looking at a few used recliners that were unacceptable
because they either where moldy or didn’t recline properly I decided to buy
some Zero Gravity chairs but no one will sit in them “because they look like
lawn chairs”!I guess I am going to get return them and keep
looking for recliners on craigslist.

I am very much looking forward to the Boston CAN conference
next month!

Author: thomasriordan

<p> Tom Riordan has been involved with Eastern philosophy and healing arts since 1990. After earning a B.A. in History at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, he spent four years working at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. In addition to daily hatha yoga and meditation practice there, Tom completed the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training the Kripalu Bodywork Training. </p> <p> Tom is a graduate of The New England School of Acupuncture, in Newton, MA, the oldest accredited acupuncture school in the United States. He maintained a private practice for several years in Columbia, Missouri. He was the first person to be licensed to practice acupuncture in that city. He became very active in the State acupuncture association by serving as secretary for two years and treasurer for one year. Tom is certified by the National Council for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and he is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. </p> <p> He currently practices in Medford, MA where he has maintained a community acupuncture clinic since 2007. </p>

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The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


  1. Cover your zero gravity chairs

    with fitted single bed flannel sheets.  In the winter I also add a fleece blanket on top of the flannel as people complain that they have cold backs.  I have some dedicated zero gravity chair lovers among my patients!

  2. My patients really like

    My patients really like them!  People just have to give them a shot.  I can’t have anything permanent in my space so they work out well.  I do have the solid black Lafumas so look they less lawn chair like.  I want to speak up for the lafumas because for some practitioners they may be the difference between having a CA option or not, and they are a workable option.  I present them as special “zero gravity” relaxing chairs, that helps. 

  3. Zero Gravity Chairs

    On Saturday someone sat in one of them and seemed to like it and with a little coaxing I was able to get a patient to try the other one so I have decided to keep them!


  4. I really enjoy being in my

    I really enjoy being in my space.  It’s been a long difficult journey to get a practice going.  

    Back on the topic, I am going to have my dad, who is an involved vet look into a way for me to help out.  It’s shocking that medical professionals could be told not to diagnose something that causes people such great pain.  The worst thing that can be done is deny the extreme stress and trauma vets experience. 

  5. All depends on how you view the situation


     Great vignettes from your daily life. Learning to stop the complaining mind and focus on trying to change situations via healthy motivated action is also a major focus of my daily life practice.

     I just returned from a three day meditation retreat and realized how much garbage I was carrying in my mind – all the anger and frustration that arises from constructing the world view around ME, I, MINE, and this one brief life, as opposed to infinite future lives which even Buddhists rarely think about, let alone non-Buddhists.

    Regarding the AWB free clinics for Vets, CommuniChi signed on to that also.  On the one hand, there are obviously issues around the sustainability of doing free treatments. On the other hand, there are people dying and suffering deeply from the psychological effects of combat trauma.

    Actually, from a Buddhist perspective, we spend way too much time worrying about our retirement funds and our money in general, neglecting to consider that the inevitable karmic  result of caring for other living beings and relieving their suffering will bring us great happiness now and in the future. It’s a delicate balance – caring for ourselves in order that we may care for others.




    “Consciously restrain your mind from recollecting the past or anticipating, fearing, or hoping about the future. Simply focus on the present moment and do not allow your mind to chase after external objects or events. Do not objectify things, but rat

  6. Like Wandering Ghosts


    I’ve been thinking a lot about treating veterans too.

    I read this really amazing interview, with Edward Tick, a counselor, writer, healer, etc. who works with veterans, and others to help heal some of the wounds of war.  Read it in this month’s Sun (magazine) or on line here: 

    Unlike the VA hospital administrator in Texas, Tick says he believes that all soldiers have PTSD it’s just a matter to what degree.

    Tick has a website with lots of resources for supporting veterans and their families Check out 

     Some of the first group-treatments came from efforts to treat returning WWII vets– in the way of talk therapy groups.