AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s a common phrase among corrections officers: The stress behind the fence.
“You do not know what you’re going to get into every day and also the stress of us being the academy. We have five hours of the academy and then eight hours of work after that every day,” said Travis County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Officer Katelyn Faulkner.
Now one day a week, it’s needles in, stress out.
“Having this to relieve some of that stress is really helpful,” Faulkner said.
Every Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office gym briefly transforms into an acupuncture clinic, thanks to a partnership with the Texas Health and Science University. County Commissioners approved the deal in May. It’s all free of charge, as students and interns use the opportunity to learn. The university requires students to treat more than 300 patients before they can graduate.
“In their waist they have a gun, they have a whole bunch of equipment… if you put about 10 pounds every day on your waist, how much stress you have in their back and body,” said Lisa Ping-Hui Tsao Lin, president of Texas Health and Sience University.
Lin says acupuncture can treat issues such as chronic pain, PTSD, depression and anxiety—many of which, deputies experience on the job.
“Particularly when we can go from being very static to running down a hallway very quickly to an incident, anything that can help us recover from that I think will be helpful,” said Lt. Ian Driscoll. “It could help relieve stress constructively, whether it’s PT, physical training or something like this, I think it’s helpful and paramount to us.”
Taking a stab at physical and mental health needle by needle.
“After one treatment, after a few hours later they can go back and say, ‘Ahh I feel so great,'” Lin said.
For now, the partnership with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Health and Science University will be in place for one year.
On KXAN News Today, Alicia Inns shows you how deputies are benefiting from acupuncture.