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Ear acupuncture 'changing lives' of those affected by PTSD

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Allison Ronayne and Tom Whitt suffer from the same disorder but for different reasons. Both tried counseling, physical therapy, and medication for their post traumatic stress but the treatments didn't work. As a last resort, they turned to ear acupuncture and it changed their lives.

"I used to have, on a nightly basis, night terrors," says Whitt.

The 26-year Navy veteran worked on nuclear submarines before retiring to Goose Creek.

"In the middle of the night start screaming at the top of my lungs," says Whitt, who would never remember the episodes.

Ronayne suffers from PTSD because of a bad car accident. She describes her car becoming 'an accordion' after behind hit from  behind and being pushed into another vehicle.

Both went searching for help and found Summerville Community Acupuncture different ways. Now both of their lives have significantly changed for the better.

The PTSD treatment is very simple.

Applied be either co-owner, Mary Margaret Dobson or Allison Davis, the treatment consists of 12 needles spilt between two ears. The placement of each needle focuses on something different.

"It's just provided some really great results," says Dobson, who does nearly 30 treatments a week for her PTSD patients.

Whitt says the relief he gets physically and mentally in Summerville can't be duplicated elsewhere, by any alternative treatment. 

"I basically just thought, for the rest of my life, I would have to live with this pain that I have," he said. "Since I've been coming here it has helped because my night terrors are significantly reduced if not gone."

Acupuncture was first used by the Chinese thousands of years ago but ear acupuncture is only one hundred years old according to Dobson.

The treatment the acupuncturist uses was developed by the military for the military but Dobson re-purposes it for all her PTSD patients.

Of the six needles inserted into a person's ear, three on the upper ear deal with calming the person down and reducing the flight or fight tendency.

The other three deal with anxiety and depression and are located on the lower part of the ear.

"It has definitely been a life changing procedure," says Ronayne. "The fact that I'm smiling right now is just something that I wasn't able to do for awhile."

Ronayne is approaching her 100th treatment and Whitt is well on his way. Both clients say they've finally found relief for their pain through acupuncture.

"I believed," says Whitt. "I think that's a big part of the therapy, just believing that it will help."

Summerville Community Acupuncture treats veterans dealing with PTSD for five dollars and walk-in's makes for most of their business. A regular visited is charged on a sliding scale between $15-$35.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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