• Providing Access

    According to the World Health Organization, Nepal's healthcare system ranks 150th in the world with less than one doctor per 6000 people.
  • Primary Care

    Since 2008, Acupuncture Relief Project volunteers have delivered over 300,000 primary care visits in rural Nepal.
  • Effective Treatment

    Frequent, focused treatments allow us to see positive changes in a patient's condition quickly.
  • Research Focused

    Conducting research studies and documenting patient cases helps us analyze the efficacy of our clinic and contribute to the body of evidence that supports our project model.
  • objective outcomes

    Our volunteers hone their clinical skills by properly assessing their patient's condition and setting achievable outcome goals.
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Our Mission

Our unique model provides effective, efficient, primary care in rural Nepal. Read More
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Our Clinics

Since 2008, our clinics have provided over 350,000 primary care visits. Read More
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Our Partners

Influencing government policy and achieving educational goals. Read More
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Volunteer With Us

We need your help. Serve others while learning new skills. Read More
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Our Evidence

Case studies and field research helps us analyze our efficacy. Read More
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VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY CARE CLINICS IN NEPAL

Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world and has been plagued with political unrest and military conflict for the past decade. In 2015, a pair of major earthquakes devastated this small and fragile country. 

Since 2008, the Acupuncture Relief Project has provided over 300,000 treatments to patients living in rural villages outside of Kathmandu Nepal. Our efforts include the treatment of patients living without access to modern medical care as well as people suffering from extreme poverty, substance abuse and social disfranchisement.

Common conditions include musculoskeletal pain, digestive pain, hypertension, diabetes, stroke rehabilitation, uterine prolapse, asthma, and recovery from tuberculosis treatment, typhoid fever, and surgery.

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Featured Case Studies

  • Lumbar Stenosis due to Osteoartritis +

    36-year-old female with lumbar spinal stenosis presents with severe low back pain with referred pain down the posterior Read More
  • Atrophic Vaginitis with Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections +

    57-year-old post-menopausal female presents with constant burning uterine and bladder pain for 3 years. Allopathic care has been Read More
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis +

    25-year-old male presents with low back and sacroiliac pain, beginning approximately 15 months prior to consultation at this Read More
  • Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy +

    Severely malnourished and non-ambulatory 11-year-old female presents with increased tone and spasticity in all extremities, frequent seizures, and Read More
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Compassion Connect : Documentary Series

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    In the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, this episode explores the challenges of providing basic medical access for people living in rural areas.

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    Episode 1: Rural Primary Care

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    Acupuncture Relief Project tackles complicated medical cases through accurate assessment and the cooperation of both governmental and non-governmental agencies.

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    EPISODE 2: INTEGRATED MEDICINE

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    Cooperation with the local government yields a unique opportunities to establish a new integrated medicine outpost in Bajra Barahi, Makawanpur, Nepal.

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    EPISODE 3: WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT

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    Complicated medical cases require extraordinary effort. This episode follows 4-year-old Sushmita in her battle with tuberculosis.

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    EPISODE 4: CASE MANAGEMENT

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    Drug and alcohol abuse is a constant issue in both rural and urban areas of Nepal. Local customs and few treatment facilities prove difficult obstacles.

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    EPISODE 5: SOBER RECOVERY

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    Interpreters help make a critical connection between patients and practitioners. This episode explores the people that make our medicine possible and what it takes to do the job.

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    EPISODE 6: THE INTERPRETERS

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    This episode looks at the people and the process of creating a new generation of Nepali rural health providers.

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    EPISODE 7: FUTURE DOCTORS OF NEPAL

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    In this 2011, documentary, Film-maker Tristan Stoch successfully illustrates many of the complexities of providing primary medical care in a third world environment.

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    COMPASSION CONNECTS: 2012 PILOT EPISODE

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From Our Blog

 

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

Now that I have been in clinic for a couple weeks, I am able to observe the effectiveness of the community style of acupuncture that I am giving. Treating multiple people in the day turns out not to be as hard as I thought it would be, but rather I have found I have a limit to how many people I can see, at this point in my life, without losing quality of care. Going beyond my magic number creates a fast food assembly line aspect that requires a very similar treatment each time. Some practitioners, such as Miriam Lee, swear by using the same few points over and over again. I, on the other hand, do not find that to be specifically helpful to the various patterns of disease I am seeing. So what to do?

My magic number does tend to fluctuate depending on the day of the week (for example later in the week I have begun to tax my energy reserves), how many new patients I am seeing, which clinic I am working in, how complicated the cases are, do I need to constantly reassess in great detail or is it a repeat treatment case, am I adding in more than needles, and so on. Plus, treating nearly 20 patients a day, six days a week is a new phenomenon for me. So far I have seen more patients in 2 weeks than I had in one quarter at OCOM (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)! I am humbled and amazed at the skills I seemed to have acquired along the way in order to treat in such a fashion (and make people happy with my care)!

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer NepalSomething else I have noticed is the patients expectations are more realistic here than in the west. Back home people want miraculous results after one treatment and do not want to come back multiple times in a week. Sometimes this is due to cost, other times it is due to time availability. Here they come multiple times a week, walking great distances, and get results very quickly, even though they have limited opportunities to change their daily habits, or take herbal medicines long term. I am yet again astonished by the dedication the Nepali people have to their own, and their families, healthcare. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the story of trying other forms of medicine and pills, but not getting results, it being too expensive or difficult to understand, then coming for acupuncture and end up feeling heard and healed! My heart swells to know they have found one part of the puzzle, and that I have the honor to help!

I have also witnessed the community style offering a chance for social healing. People from different castes, age groups, and language dialects  all sit around together, talking, making jokes, helping the doctors or each other’s children, all the while with needles sticking out of various parts of their body. This type of medicine is invaluable to care! However with any great thing there will be difficulties.

Earlier this week, a man came in to the clinic to get help for his family. There were a few things going on and while I consulted with him it became clear that he was looking for acupuncture to help his mother come back from Alzheimer’s. While I have been in many end stage situations, including suicide, I have never had to tell a patient (in this case the son of someone) that acupuncture could not make them better. I explained that acupuncture could offer relief of some symptoms and medication side effects, but not reverse this particular condition. The man looked lost and turned to one of my colleagues for a different answer or confirmation to my words. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes delivering the news , while also feeling frustrated I could not follow through with the conversation. I had to leave him in the care of another due to the three patients I had upstairs with needles in for Bells Palsy. Thankfully, my fellow colleague, Jessica Maynard, had the afternoon off and was able to visit the family and explain the situation with greater care.

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

It was in this moment that I suddenly felt the weight of being a doctor and primary care physician. People come to us with their health and trust that we can help them, or at the very least inform them of what is happening and offer some suggestions. Back home this responsibility is neither required of us or given to us, and when opportunity presents itself we rarely take it on due to liability, or scope of practice. Yet, we pierce their skin with needles, manipulate muscles, joints, qi and blood with massage, cupping, or gua sha, and give them internal medicines with light, severe, or no side-effects, all which should be followed up with adequate care. On top of this, they get miraculous results for diseases they were told had little to no cure! It is because of my trip here that I feel very strongly that we Chinese medicine practitioners should be considered doctors and primary care physicians throughout the world. Not just because our medicine deserves this respect and recognition, but because our patients deserve the same respect, trust and care they give us with their permission to treat.

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer NepalWhile I had come to this decision living in the United States, it is here in Nepal, where my knowledge, wisdom, skills, and compassion has been tested, and what we do reveals just how effective these intricate (and yet simple) techniques can create a better quality of life. Being depended on as the go-to care because other avenues have failed to provide adequate solutions, or cost-effective medicines with minimal side-effects, is not a burden, rather a great honor. It is not that Chinese medicine is just cheap, therefore making it effective (although that does contribute to the answer), but rather it works with the individual body to create homeostasis and health for that person. While some people may present with the same pathology, they do not necessarily share the same symptoms 100% due to underlying conditions or constitutions. Treating here has taught me these skills more than 4 years of education; however the chance to study the medicine in the first place, and pass it on, leaves me with an extreme sense of gratitude.

On a lighter note, the same day I was met with the reality of having to deliver bad news from time to time, a woman patient of mine came back to tell me with glowing, shen filled eyes that she was healed and could now travel back to her village. She bowed several times, saying “Namaste” over and over, and then handed me a bag of fresh fruit as a parting thank you gift. Nothing could have pleased me more. She felt remarkably better, and completely empowered, to tell me she felt our healing sessions had come to an end. That simple exchange reminded me why I became a “doctor”, and instilled in me a profound thankfulness for all that I learn from my patients. As one patient said to me “you do what you do, I do what I do, but we both make the world go round”. Truth to that! --- Seven Crow

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