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The Root Of Battlefield Acupuncture, An Energetic Explanation

By John Howard, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.

Ever since I’ve been using the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol (BAP) and teaching it, one question would always come up:  “How does it work?”  Another common question that I would be asked is, “Is this just a symptomatic treatment?”meaning only treating the pain/symptom, not the root cause of the pain. I would explain that I have observed over time that BAP worked just like regular (body) acupuncture.  That over time the patients conditions and symptoms would get better – a step down effect.  Where each time the pain would decrease and become lower and lower over time and eventually they would be healed, just like body acupuncture.  So, no this is not just a symptomatic treatment because it also works on the root of the problem at the same time.  I have seen this thousands of times.

Well then how does it work?  To be honest with you, I didn’t have a good answer to give them at the time. I asked Dr. Richard Niemtzow, the inventor of the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol how did it work.  He told me that we were using the ear like a dial to turn down the pain at the level of the nervous system.  But he too even said he really wasn’t sure how it worked.  This was a question that came up over and over again.  And over time I would say I don’t know how the mechanics and functions work, I just know it works (I’m sure that answer went over really well and satisfied their questions – Not!)

Then one day as I was treating a patient of mine with the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol I got a clue.  I had treated this patient before with BAP with good success but this time for some reason it didn’t work.  I asked myself why.  Did I do something wrong or maybe did the protocol just stop working?  Even my patient looked at me and said, “Why is this not working now?”  She was upset and said to me, “Just make this work again.” I looked at the points to make sure they were correct and they were all correct.  At this point in the treatment I had a total of 6 needles in (1 in the Cingulate Gyrus, 1 in the Thalamus, and 1 in Omega 2 in both ears). Normally by this time into the protocol, my patient’s pain would have gone down to a 1 or 0.  But her pain level was still the level at which we started, a 7 out of 10, no movement.   The only thing I did different this time was use a different type of semi-permanent needle, not the ASPs® from Sedatelec; they were made by a different company.  Could this, the needle, be the problem?  If so, why?  They are the same style of gold needles as the ones from Sedatelec.

Currently besides the ASPs® from Sedatelec, there are 3 other companies that I know of that make semi-permanent needles for auricular acupuncture.  I don’t know if the needle was the problem but I knew there was one way to find out – take them out and replace them with Sedatelec gold ASPs®.  If any of you have used these types of needles before then you know that removing the needles so soon after insertion was going to be a bit painful for the patient. I told my patient what my theory was and asked her if she would let me take them out and replace them.  She said, “Yes, just get rid of this pain.”

I took all 6 needles out and waited a few minutes and then replaced them with Sedatelec ASPs.  By the second needle, her pain was down to a level of 2 out of 10 and by the fourth needle she was pain free.   Over the next few months I had this happen to me again when using needles other than Sedatelec (This is not an advertisement for Sedatelec needles or their company.  I do not receive any financial compensation from them.  I just use the best products I can find to treat my patients.  By all means feel free to make the same mistakes I did or you can take my advice.)  Any time this happened without using the ASP® needles, I told the patient my theory and what I’ve done in the past (take them out and replace them). All my patients allowed me to replace the needles with Sedatelec’s ASPs® and the protocol worked again.

This really perplexed me.  Why did this happen and is there something different about the Sedatelec ASPs® than ones from other companies?  That is the question I was faced with and wanted to know the answer to.  Little did I know that the answer was right in front of me and it was the last and biggest clue that led me to why the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol worked from an energetic standpoint.

Yes, not all needles are created equally. What is the difference from the Sedatelec ASPs® and the others? Like I said before, it’s right in front of you.


Here’s how the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol treats the root and energetically works.  To give you a hint, it’s all one big mathematical formula, a Fibonacci sequence to be exact.  Before I explain this to you, let me explain what the Fibonacci sequence is.

The Fibonacci sequence is named for Leonardo Pisano also known as Fibonacci (for filius Bonacci, meaning son of Bonacci). He was an Italian mathematician that lived from 1170 – 1250. Many consider him to be the greatest European mathematician of the Middle Ages. The Fibonacci numbers were originally defined to model the growth of rabbit populations but have been found to occur many times in the natural world.  For example flowers tend to have a Fibonacci number of petals; plants tend to have a Fibonacci number of leaves, spiral shells exhibit patterns related to the Fibonacci sequence.  The Fibonacci sequence is the infinite sequence of numbers in which each number equals the sum of the previous two numbers:  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.

The last clue was there were 8 needles per pack in Sedatelec’s ASPs®.  When I was in Lyon, France this past November, I had the opportunity to meet and ask three people who might know why ASP® needles come in packs of 8.  Think about it, how many needles do you know that come in packs of 8?  I don’t know of any.  The first person I asked was Thierry Garaboux, the President of Sedatelec.  When I was Lyon I was given a tour of Sedatelec factory.  I asked him, why are ASPs in blister packs of 8, why not 5 or 10 like most other needles?  He looked at the second person who might know, Christophe Suffissais, Business Developer (International Marketing Manager) and he didn’t know either.  The last person I asked was Dr. Raphael Nogier.  He too could not answer that question either.

Putting it all together.  Here is my theory on how the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol works energetically.

You have 1 ear on the right side of your head and 1 ear on the left side of your head.  1 + 1 = 2

You have 3 cranial nerves that run through the ear – Trigeminal, Cervical Plexus and Vagus Nerve,

Number of Battlefield Acupuncture points – 5

Sedatelec ASPs® have 8 needles per pack

The Vagus Nerve has 13 branches that connect to most of the visceral organs.  There is your root treatment to how the Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol works.   It works on an organ level (root) not just a symptomatic level because of the Vagus Nerve connection.

So you have your Fibonacci sequence:

  • 1 ear right side
  • 1 ear left side
  • 2 ears (total)
  • 3 cranial nerves
  • 5 battlefield acupuncture points
  • 8 needles in a pack
  • 13 branches of the Vagus Nerve

Lastly we use Gold Needles, which relates to the Golden Ratio.