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Published on August 26, 2019

Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital offers complementary treatment options for those with PTSD

Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics offers acupuncture as a complementary or standalone treatment option. Acupuncture is an effective complementary treatment option for people with acute and chronic conditions.

Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles inserted at specific points in the body to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities, relieve pain and promote physical and emotional well-being. It can provide relief for a large array of conditions including muscular-skeletal conditions as well as psychological or mental ailments such as anxiety, headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Katherine O'Rourke, DO

PTSD is a mental health condition that develops after experiencing a life-threatening event, such as combat, a natural disaster, accident or personal trauma. According to United States Department of Veterans Affairs, one in five veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Desert Storm suffer with PTSD yearly and as many as 30% of Vietnam Veterans experience PTSD in their lifetime. It affects 7-8% of general population. That's 1 in 14.

Katherine O'Rourke, DO, an Air National Guard veteran, has been a family practice doctor at Gundersen St. Joseph's Elroy Clinic for over four years and performs acupuncture at the hospital in Hillsboro. Dr. O'Rourke is also the vice chief medical officer at Gundersen St. Joseph's. She served as a Flight Medic from 1994-2000 but says that she has seen the effects of personal trauma in her patients for 20+ years.

"Acupuncture is about supporting a patient's natural self-healing process by stimulating specific points in the body – called acupoints," says Dr. O'Rourke. "Acupuncture has a history dating back over 8,000 years as part of eastern medicine and is now becoming more prominent in the west for its positive effects on a number of conditions."

There is a growing body of research regarding the physical and mental ailments that acupuncture may successfully treat. "There are more and more scientific studies being conducted that show the benefits of acupuncture," says Dr. O'Rourke. "I could spend the rest of my life learning more ways to apply it."

For more information about acupuncture options, contact Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital at (608) 489-8000 or visit gundersenhealth.org/st-josephs.

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