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Addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with Integrative Chinese Medicine

by Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac.


PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, presents as one of the most serious and challenging disorders in the United States today. This anxiety disorder develops after a person experiences a traumatic event involving the threat of injury or death.

PTSD is widely seen in military veterans and soldiers returning from war. According to the PTSD Foundation of America, one in three returning troops are diagnosed with serious Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms. Out of these, less than 40% will seek help. In 2009, a record-breaking year for suicide in the armed forces, 245 soldiers killed themselves. On average, five active-duty troops attempt suicide each day.

Marital strife is also apparent amongst troops suffering from combat trauma. Two out of three military marriages are failing, and 200,000 have already broken with more than 27,000 cases in 2009 alone. Veteran homelessness is also on the rise with one-third of our nation’s homeless being veterans. Channel 6 News in Wichita Falls indicated that eight out of 100 men (8%) and 20 out of 100 women (20%) serving in the U.S. military in have PTSD. This disorder affects both men and women alike.


Feelings of Anxiety, Depression and Other Emotional Disorders

So why is PTSD a challenge to treat? This is because PTSD is not just an illness isolated to one part of the body or organ, but it’s a disorder that affects the entire body including the emotions. Aside from anxiety, typical emotional responses exhibited from PTSD sufferers include incident recall, avoidance, depression, anger and hopelessness.

With incident recall, the individual frequently relives the traumatic event, and that experience is often so real that it can severely disrupt daily activity. Flashback episodes also take place on a frequent basis––recurrent distressing memories or repeated dreams of the events. Because of this, the person never really “left” the event, but lives in that trauma every day. The individual suffers from chronic depression and sometimes can even exhibit signs of bipolar disorder. Depression can be an instigator and a pathological factor in many chronic diseases such as cancer and stroke if not mitigated.  

With avoidance, the individual suffering from PTSD experiences emotional numbness, along with a lack of interest in normal activities. The person closes up and shies away from social events, worsening the conditions of depression and anxiety. Often, frustration and anger build up as well. Friends and families are the ones who are mostly affected by this increased introversion and negative emotional state.


Chinese Medicine Presents as an Excellent Natural Alternative for PTSD

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes Chinese Medicine as an effective form of traditional medicine. WHO defines traditional medicine as “the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, used in the maintenance of health and in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.”

Chinese Medicine is over 3,000 years old and utilizes a natural approach to maintain the human body in a healthy balance to maximize its potential to address ailments and other health disorders. From case studies compiled over thousands of years, a system of medical diagnosis and treatments was formed that looked at the body as a whole, and tied ailments and diseases to energetic disruptions, emotional disorders, human actions and daily habits. Signs and symptoms were used as a diagnostic tool to determine the cause of the issues, so that both the causative factors and the symptoms were simultaneously addressed.

A board-certified and licensed Acupuncturist can help the patient suffering from PTSD. Armed with a comprehensive education in Chinese Medicine (not just Acupuncture), pathology, anatomy and total wellness, the Acupuncturist can help to diagnose the primary areas of disharmony the PTSD patient is suffering from. Based on this, correct blend of Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and more. is prescribed to address not only emotional distress reported by the patient, but also the ailments and other health issues that are associated that may or may not be directly related to the PTSD.

Furthermore, the patient will be advised on lifestyle, exercise and nutrition to help bring harmony and health back into the picture. A restful night’s sleep and peace of mind are some of the first signs of relief experienced by a PTSD patient who is treated by Chinese Medicine.


Rene Ng, AP, L.Ac., is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. Depression, cancer care, Multiple Sclerosis, trauma, insomnia, thyroid issues and pain management are among the health challenges he helps patients address on a daily basis at his clinic near Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Ng is also a four-time winner of Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” award. For more information, call 941-773-5156, email or visit

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