(CBS) — As thousands of service men and women are returning home, some after multiple tours, many are doing so with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other injuries that rob them of their quality of life.
But in the western suburbs there is a clinic that treats the veterans’ pain naturally and even helps those ex-service members treat themselves and their fellow war heroes.
CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.
With 22 veterans dying by their own hand each day, acupuncturist Frank Yurasek is on a mission. As he puts it: “To murder veteran suicide.”
The head of acupuncture at National University in Lombard is so serious about this, once a week – on Tuesdays — the facility is open only to veterans. Staff treats more than 30 vets a day who are seeking alternatives to drugs and other treatments they are receiving for their pain.
At the At-Ease Clinic, it’s all about needles. The treatment program emphasizes acupuncture, instead of the usual cocktail of drugs.
“We’re taking a needle, which is stimulating the natural pain-killing, resonant chemicals in the body,” Yurasek explains.
One of the doctor’s biggest fans is Vietnam-era veteran Raymond Everett, who says he was paralyzed from the neck down in 2009 due to side effects from Agent Orange all of those years ago. Now, he can move his hands and feet a little.
Another true believer is retired Army sergeant Tim Kathol, who came home from battle with PTSD, TBI and needed a cane to walk and prescription drugs.
The idea that he could be treated without prescriptions was intriguing. Tim decided he wanted to treat himself and other veterans.
Dr. Yurasek taught him Korean hand therapy, or acupressure — essentially targeting pressure points in the hand that correspond to pain in other parts of the body. The Healer Warrior initiative was born.
“I am helping other veterans heal from the wounds of war. I’m not sticking needles in anyone. All I’m doing is showing them where to treat themselves to help them fight their own issues,” Kathol says.
To learn more about At-Ease Clinic, click here.