• training & mentorship

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

    By providing simple explanations, we help patients understand their health concerns and make informed choices regarding their care.
  • confidence

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

  • Massage for Chronic Back Pain Associated with Spondylosis of the Spine +

    70-year-old male referred for massage treatments for pain associated with spondylosis of the spine and neuropathy. The patient Read More
  • Huntington's Disease +

    38-year-old female presents with a 4-year history of involuntary spasming throughout her entire body. The patient does not Read More
  • Chronic Gastritis with Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome: Crohn’s Disease +

    40-year-old male presents with chronic, burning gastrointestinal pain with accompanied acid reflux, belching, fullness, diarrhea, weight loss and Read More
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis +

    10-year-old female presents with active phase of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) as demonstrated by multiple articular bony joint 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

 

Learning to focus on measurable clinical outcomes is a skill that takes practitioners many patient touches to understand let alone master. Every year at our clinic in Nepal, Acupuncture Relief Project team leaders and I help practitioners learn to do better exam work, observe and record critical data and measure patient progression. My fellow colleagues, volunteers and teammates often reflect to me how tired they are of hearing me say “be objective.”, “how are you measuring that?”, “I know they are getting better but by how much?”, and finally “don’t rely on the patient to tell you how much they have improved... measure it! prove it!”. I certainly don’t mean to be a pest but I do want our practitioners to improve their diagnostic and prognostic skills. It is not enough to just treat hundreds of patients in Nepal... we have to be sure we are either getting them better or finding them someone who can.

This all seems like a straight forward process until you actually get into the treatment room. We are constantly confronted by the realities of the developing world: poverty, poor living conditions, lack of referral resources and hundreds of environmental factors like the absence of clean water, air pollution and poor sanitation. We also face many cultural and social obstacles like domestic violence, alcoholism, disenfranchised castes, disadvantaged ethnic groups and poor education. Then of course there are the human factors of old age, loneliness, depression and hopelessness. Even though most of our patients live a simple agrarian life, the day to day stress of basic survival for themselves and their families often weighs heavily on their well-being.

After months of balancing these many complexities it is easy to lose sight of our basic objectivity. On my recent return to the United States, I asked myself ”What did you accomplish”? The answer was so broad I wasn’t sure I could even grasp it. Hopefully I can illustrate some part of it in this story.

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If you have seen our short documentary Compassion Connects you might remember seeing this young women (below right). Thirty-year-old Kanji Maya Tamang is one of three Tamang women who travel from the small village of Bhardev to our clinic in Chapagaon. Kanji Maya tells us in the video that she is coming to our clinic for menstrual pain. The full story is actually much more complex.

Kanji Maya was indeed coming to the clinic for menstrual pain, however, this pain was caused by a series of four miscarriages each followed by a curettage procedure. Her monthly cycles were now very irregular and painful. The bigger issue was that she was under enormous pressure from her family to become pregnant again. In Nepal, producing offspring is of critical importance to a families survival. In fact, at thirty-years-old and childless, Kanji Maya was at risk for her husband to take a second wife. While taking a second wife is a cultural norm in rural Nepal, the replaced wife is often shunned by the family and relegated to a life of hard labor, loneliness and poverty. We have treated many women of this status in Nepal and we have all seen how devastating this can be. Kanji Maya desperately needed more time and through many tearful sessions with our practitioners, she slowly began to have more confidence that we would be able to help her.

Personally, I rarely practice fertility medicine as it is not an interest for me and their are so many other practitioners for whom this is their passion. This case however had my attention and I could see so many implications as to how we were not just looking after this one young woman, but rather we were attending to the health of an entire family. As a team, we constructed what we thought would be an effective treatment plan. Then over the course of several months and several different volunteer practitioners, we went to work to implement that plan. Kanji Maya traveled several hours by bus twice a week to receive our treatment which at first focused on regulating her cycle, then later focused on building uterine blood, so that she could sustain a pregnancy. Towards the end of my stay in 2011 we had accomplished everything we had hoped to and I counseled Kanji Maya that the timing was right for her to try to get pregnant again. The team taking over for me continued her treatment for several weeks thereafter and in the Spring of 2012 we received the news that Kanji Maya was indeed pregnant. In early August she delivered a healthy son.

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In the brisk mountain air of January, Satyamohan and I ride our small motorbike up the twisting road to the small village of Bhardev. A smattering of small white pines line the edges of the narrow road. At each bend a cathedral of Himalayan peaks pierce the horizon as my fingers burn from the cold. After reaching the pass we descend into a beautiful grassy valley littered by small clumps of thatched roof houses. A few minutes later we pull up in front of a squat, mud-and-brick building and as we dismount we are greeted by a small group of brightly dressed Tamang women. We are quickly escorted inside where the celebration is already long underway.

Pasni, the Weaning Ceremony, is one of the many hundreds of celebrations in Nepal. Relatives gather to witness and celebrate the child’s first taste of rice and for sons, this takes place when he is 6-months-old. We are escorted into a large smoke-filled room with mud floors. Dried corn and strips of meat hang from the low ceiling and a group of women attend an earthen hearth with a wood fire. They are busy preparing the meat of young water buffalo which was slaughtered just this morning. My eyes burn and the acid wood smoke causes my nose to run. I see many family members lining the inside of the small space, all drinking chhaang (rice beer) and talking all at once. One man gets up and entertains the group with a lively dance and everyone joins in by singing traditional folk songs.

Satyamohan and I are served heaping plates of spicy meat, rice and vegetables. One by one people come over to talk to us. They tell us how happy they are to have this new baby and how thankful they are for our clinic. Every story has the same theme. “I came to the clinic... then I sent my wife, she sent her brother, he brought his wife...” and on and on. It seems like pretty much everyone in Bhardev and the surrounding area had been touched by our clinic in one way or another. This new baby was just one tangible example. And who is to say really... Was it our medicine that brought to boy into this community? Perhaps it was just our kindness and support that allowed Kanji Maya the little more time she needed. Maybe it was just luck.  

As I look though the smokey haze at the joy that is filling the hearts of so many people... let’s just call it an immeasurable success. --- Author: Andrew Schlabach

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