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.


  1. #1 Prometheus
    November 16, 2011

    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?


  2. #2 herr doktor bimler
    November 16, 2011

    Can I interest anyone in my bullet-resistant Ghost Shirts, made with a homeopathic preparation of rifle rounds?

  3. #3 Matthew Cline
    November 16, 2011

    Darn, I was hoping that it would involve Medic from the game Team Fortress 2.

  4. #4 JakeR
    November 16, 2011

    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.

  5. #5 Black-cat
    November 17, 2011

    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.

  6. #6 Black-cat
    November 17, 2011

    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.

  7. #7 Greg
    November 17, 2011

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

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

  8. #8 Mattand
    November 17, 2011

    @ #3 Matthew Cline:

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

  9. #9 Alise
    November 17, 2011

    stupid and inaccurate!

  10. #10 Orac
    November 17, 2011

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

    …which in turn was derivative of at least two earlier sketches, one called “Homeopathic e.r.,” which was a direct parody of e.r.:


    And another sketch from the 1990s called “Holistic E.R.”:


    Being derivative doesn’t bother me when the sketch is funny.

  11. #11 Calli Arcale
    November 17, 2011

    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.

  12. #12 Mutant Dragon
    November 17, 2011

    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.)

  13. #13 In-triaged
    November 17, 2011

    It reminds me of the logical fallacies rife throughout this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmPJKO2Gxsg&feature=related

  14. #14 Pinkamena, Panic Pony
    November 17, 2011

    “Zat was not medicine!”

  15. #15 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    November 17, 2011

    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.

  16. #16 Mrs. Woo
    November 17, 2011

    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).

  17. #17 DLC
    November 17, 2011

    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.

  18. #18 Dr. K.
    November 17, 2011

    Reminds me of a classic skit by Britain’s Mitchell and Webb.

  19. #19 Prometheus
    November 17, 2011


    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.


  20. #21 Pinkamena, Panic Pony
    November 18, 2011

    Prometheus @#1/#19: Maybe they can carry one of these.

  21. #22 scidogs
    November 18, 2011

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

  22. #23 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    November 21, 2011

    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.

  23. #24 James Chong
    December 13, 2011

    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, .


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