• 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.
  • confidence

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

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

  • Bilateral Hip and Low Back Pain +

    19-year-old male presents with trauma-related chronic hip and low back pain with limits in range-of-motion that interferes with Read More
  • Sequelae of Osteoarticular Tuberculosis +

    Rachael Haley BAppSci (TCM)December 2014 OVERVIEW A 58-year-old man, of rural Nepal, presents with left hip pain, reduced Read More
  • Dupuytren’s Contractures +

    58-year-old male presents with persistent contraction of 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers of right hand. He reports it Read More
  • Facial Paralysis (Bell’s Palsy) +

    35-year-old female presents with left-sided facial twitching and paralysis. After 7 acupuncture treatments, the patient regained over 50% 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

 

Helena (Leni) Nyssen | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

Here in Nepal, very little is convenient. Nothing is handed to you on a platter ( except our dinner, thanks Auntie). The modern world of convenience has not yet arrived to Bimphedi. Their is no internal plumbing in the houses, nor heating, nor appliances. There is wifi though? Bizarre.

Everything takes 10 times longer because of this; cleaning clothes, having a shower, making coffee, making food etc. And we live in luxury compared to most locals. We enjoy hot water, electricity, and wifi! 

It is much more apparent and more emotional at clinic. At home when someone presents to my clinic, they have probably already seen a doctor, and had some scans or tests (depending on their condition). They may already be under the care of a specialist. They usually know what they have and have a pretty good idea of how they got it. For the most part, patients arrive with a clear cut medical diagnosis. (NB. I'm talking about the Australian system here, our national medical system is, thankfully, very good). If they don't already have a diagnosis, it's free/cheap to obtain one. I can simply say, 'Go consult your Doctor, then come back to see me' and I can be  confident that it will be taken care of on the other end. After this has been done, it is my job to apply Chinese Medical thinking and methods to their health problem.

Helena (Leni) Nyssen | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

At home, lumps are scanned, biopsied, and removed. At home, digestive ulcers are viewed by endoscopic cameras, medicine is given, and dietary advice is understood. Alcoholics have access to the help they need. STIs are tested for and managed. Lower backs are x-rayed and orthopaedically tested. The list goes on. 

In Nepal, this is not the reality. Patients will come to our clinic with the problem, and no information beyond that.

Like the lady with the grapefruit-sized lump on her inner right thigh. It hurts. It's been there for 5 years. Can you help?

Like the woman with sore breasts for 6 months. They hurt. There are lumps. What's wrong?

Like the man with the chronic leg infection. Sometimes is weeps pus, sometimes it doesn't. 

The children with paralysis from high fevers that weren't treated.

The out of control diabetes and high blood pressure.

The huge number of alcoholics.

Helena (Leni) Nyssen | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

We are triage; It is our job to ask all the right questions. Get an accurate symptom picture. Know which diseases are indicated. Know which tests will confirm or rule out these diseases. Hope that when we send them to the local hospital, they will actually perform the tests, prescribe the right medication, and if we're really lucky, explain what's wrong to the patient. This is all only if the patient can even pay for it at all. 

We are also medical counsellors; We explain what is wrong to the patients as the doctors never seem to. And give good advice, a crucial part of health care in my opinion. How can people care for themselves and their families when they are given no information and their illiteracy prevents them from accessing it themselves. 

And, then of course, we are doctors ourselves, performing treatments and providing ongoing care.

So this is what was meant when we were told that we are now 'Primary Care Physicians'? Ouch

Helena (Leni) Nyssen | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

In this setting I am finding the need to step up in a huge way. My clinical knowledge, especially western medicine diagnoses and disease management has had to be expanded in a big way. Not a bad thing, certainly. Thank God for the team of practitioners around me and the Merck Manual app! I've learnt that the important thing is not to know everything, that is impossible. The important thing is to care, and be willing to try and figure it out.

I've never learned so much, in such a hands-on way, in such a short space of time. Thank you ARP, my team mates, and, everyone back home who helped get me here.

Most of all, thank you to my Nepali patients for being the sweetest and the absolute toughest teachers I have ever known. 

Namaste, 
Dr Leni

 

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