• confidence

    Our volunteers acquire the confidence to serve as primary care providers, treating 15 to 25 patients per day in our community style clinic.
  • more than acupuncture

    Our volunteers include massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, naturopaths, as well as nurses, nurse practitioners and allopathic physicians.
  • community supported

    The care we provide is deeply appreciated and the communities we serve trust our commitment, knowledge and expertise.
  • training & mentorship

    Acupuncture Relief Project offers meaningful training opportunities and employment to interpreters and local healthcare workers.
  • Professional Development

    Acupuncture Relief Project offers opportunities for volunteers to gain valuable field experience and earn continuing education credits.
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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

  • Febrile-Induced Cerebellar Ataxia +

    58-year-old male patient presents with ataxia, severe dizziness, vertigo and slurred speech. Symptoms started after a severe febrile Read More
  • Hemiplegia (Stroke Sequelae) with Acute Lung Consolidation +

    81-year-old female presents with complete left-sided hemiplegia following ischemic stroke 2 months ago. Over the course of 7 Read More
  • Psoriasis with Neck and Shoulder Pain +

    45-year-old male presents with psoriasis for 5 years, possible psoriatic arthritis for 2 years, and idiopathic neck pain Read More
  • Ischemic Cerebrovascular Incident +

    60-year-old male presents with sudden onset of motor deficit of right hand, tingling and weakness of right foot, 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.

    Watch Episode

    COMPASSION CONNECTS: 2012 PILOT EPISODE

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From Our Blog

 

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Has anyone ever seen the movie, or read the book The Hunger Games? I know it is a teen drama but I am not sorry to say I have done both, and rather liked them.  The story of the Hunger Games itself is definitely fantasy, but one scene does tend to pop into my head from time to time while I am here in Nepal.  The scene when the two poor kids from district 12, get taken to the capitol to have a feast.  The kids are in awe that people have so much money, and spend their money on things like fashion, waxing, elaborate and ornate everything.  While they are at the feast there is more food than they could possibly imagine, never before have they seen so much food, and people who can eat so much.  Then a small vial of liquid comes around, and a citizen of the capital tells them that this liquid is to make them throw up, so that they can continue to eat more. That scene is basically the epitome of indulgence.  The reason this scene tends to come to mind while I am in Nepal, is not because that movie poses any semblance of reality at all, but it serves as a stark juxtaposition of extreme poverty, and extreme overindulgence.  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

These are two realities that actually do occur in real life, and even my modest life in Portland Oregon seems very excessive as I spend time here in Nepal.  I drive a car. I don’t have to walk 4 hours to get to my doctor. I shop at New Seasons, Portland’s boutique food market, and I love it.  People here basically grow all of their own food.  Not only do they grow their own food but also as subsistence farmers with no big machinery, they carry incredibly heavy loads on their heads and backs, around 50 to 90 Kilograms to be exact.  There are 2.2 pounds in one Kilogram, which would make that load 110- 198 pounds.  When was the last time you saw an American carry a load like that who was not some sort of extreme body builder?  In Nepal the houses are generally built so that the goats, chickens, water buffalo and cows live on the first floor of the dwelling, and the family lives above that.  Eventually they slaughter these animals for food, a perfect example of rural farming, and certainly much healthier than factory farming, but it is hard for my American sensibilities to wrap my head around. My pets live in my house, and my pets are treated like my family, the idea of living in close quarters with a living creature, nurturing and caring for it, then killing it is very foreign to me.  Logically I know this is the best kind of meat to eat, I know that it’s healthier than how we raise and kill animals in the states, but I suppose I have attachment issues.  I wonder to myself, would we eat as much meat as we do in America if we were forced to live with life and death in this manner?  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Then there are the dogs.  We call them mans best friend back home.  American dogs drive in the front seats of cars, eat gourmet pet food, and probably have better health care than the average American.  In America we have a humane society that keeps our streets relatively free of unwanted suffering animals, and we also have state animal control agencies that do the same.  If one finds a sick or injured animal in Portland, there are 24-hour pet emergency centers that you can drop the animal off at and feel like you were a Good Samaritan.  Here in Nepal there are none of those things.  Hungry and injured dogs roam the streets with gashes in their sides, ribs sticking out, and mange affecting their coat.  Even the youngest dogs that are most successfully able to forage food look as if a strong wind could blow the over.  The other day a group of us was out walking and found a puppy running down the road, orphaned and afraid.  We picked her up, I named her Lapsi, and if everything goes well she will be making the journey with me back to America.  The Nepali people are inundated with dogs, they have to protect their other animals from dog attacks, and they don’t eat that much themselves, so feeding dogs is out of the question.  I imagine that when you see dogs suffering everyday, you have to steel yourself to the plight, because if you tried to feed one dog then more would inevitably show up, and you can’t possibly feed them all.  So the people here are not dog lovers, they throw rocks and bricks at them, which to a western onlooker seems cruel, but it is simply that the people have a different relationship to life, death and suffering than we do in the west.  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

The people of Nepal are a God fearing group.  God is everywhere; there are shrines to Gods all over the place.  At the watering hole you have a shrine to the water God.  In the field you have a shrine to Shiva, the creator.  In every home there seems to be a little puja, a shrine to Shiva, or Ganesh- the remover of obstacles.  The gods adorn their jewelry; you can pick up a pendant or ring with Ganesh, carved into coral or jade. When they slaughter their animals they take them down to the temple, adorn them with blessing, and have a shaman ritualistically kill them before they eat the meat. They are a hard working people, who care about family and look after each other like they are all one big extended family.  It is not unusual to be called sister or aunty by the people you know, even if technically you have no blood relation.  In the clinic they are often sitting next to each other carrying on conversations and dispensing their own advise and when you ask them if they know each other they say, “No, we just met”.  It seems that the biggest concern that an elderly person with body pain has is that they are able to get back to work.  An unproductive person is a drain on the family’s resources and so they strive to remain useful in some way.  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

In Nepal they are still rebuilding their homes from the big earthquake that Nepal experienced 2 years ago. Their houses seem to be made of earthen bricks that are held together with a mud that solidifies.  The floors are packed dirt and their stairs are really ladders.  In my ignorance of the area and style of houses I used to tell people, “why are you climbing ladders at your age?” or “try not to walk up and down hills while your knees are healing”.  Then I realized the ladders are actually their stairs and what they need to climb to get to bed. Or, they live on a hill, so in order to get too and from home they have to walk up and down hills. There are no showers in doors, rather a local water pump where people go to shower on the side of the dusty road, with only cold water running out of it.  They also do their laundry at the water pump, or by the river, then let the laundry dry in the sun.  Back at home in America I am a serious hot shower taker.  I take a shower once a day, and it is usually scalding hot.  Here in Nepal I am very lucky that the compound I am staying at does have solar power heated water, in limited quality.  So I am fortunate enough to have a warm shower a couple of times a week, this is definitely not the norm, and in clinic your alcohol swabs quickly turn brown in an effort to sanitize the needle site.  At our compound we also have a propane stove, and some of the wealthier families do, but the vast majority of people still cook by burning wood in their kitchen that has no ventilation. Needless to say, we see a lot of COPD in clinic due to the wood burning stoves. Because most of the houses are damaged from the earthquake, many people have constructed temporary bedrooms that the entire family sleeps in made of tin. They sleep in tin sheds.   

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

So what is the point of my comparison? Why am I going on about wealth and poverty? The reason I feel compelled to speak to all of this is because we are so fortunate in America, and sometimes when you are saturated in the Western comforts that fact is easy to forget.  I mean Donald Trump just ran a campaign with the slogan “Make America Great Again”.  But the fact of the matter is, America is great.  We have hot showers, we have washing machines, we have indoor plumbing, indoors heating, and we don’t live in houses with dirt packed floors.  So the next time you think to yourself, “I wish I had a nicer car with blue tooth”, or “My house isn’t big enough”. Take a moment to count your blessings, then go plan a trip to a third world country and get a healthy dose of perspective.  --Danielle Reghi

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