• rural nepal

    Home to eight of the highest mountains in the world including Mt. Everest, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
  • 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.
  • Primary Care

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

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • Stroke Sequela +

    50-year-old male presents with post-stroke sequelae symptoms manifesting as severe right-sided paralysis. After 10 treatments starting in September Read More
  • Primary Hypertension +

    3 patients present with stage 2 essential hypertension (HTN), 1 of which is a female (76 yo) 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

 

Jason Gauruder | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

“Are you a shaman, is there medicine in the needles?” is a question I hear a lot; which is not really that different than a steady stream of Americans asking if acupuncture really works, but here I don’t have to defend my profession using science terminology that people may remember from high school. I always decline being a shaman, but the question has me wondering if I should step out of the western mindset for a moment, since I am, after all, in Nepal.

Jason Gauruder | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

The Acupuncture Relief Project is supposed to be a set schedule, you show up for six weeks, do the work, and conclude said scheduled events with empowering stories to tell your friends and family about life in the third world, but four weeks in I’m convinced that this short trip to a land I knew nothing about has become one of the greatest markers on my journey through life and as a practitioner. It has become a doorway that has opened me up to a flowing path of knowledge that has been cascading through time for millennia. 

Being here is like stepping back in time. There’s our personal comforts of electricity and internet that keeps us connected with the other side of the planet thousands of miles away, but when we step past the front door a different reality comes into perspective. Not just one of rural Nepal, but of all rural places in which man inhabited across the globe up until the building of great city centers and the industrial revolution. The people can go as far as they can walk in a day, they must carry everything at once on their back (or heads), roads are traveled paths full of treacherous rocks, and their joints are put to the test on an hourly basis. Farm, family, and prayer is life. There isn’t much else, because when it takes you an entire morning to make breakfast or feed the animals that will eventually become dinner, there isn’t much time for anything else. Your neighbors will always be your neighbors. Your neighbors are probably distant cousins, and the town drunks are drunk because there’s no such thing as an –ism that explains an escape from the harshness of the world.  

Jason Gauruder | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

Then there’s me. Standing in the unique position of strolling down the street, settling down into clinic for the morning fighting my usual personal habits; which even on the other side of the world hold true to who I am: NOT A MORNING PERSON. Then slowly, but surely, magic happens. People tell me their stories of everyday life, their major issue that’s ailing them, and no more than the shamans of the past I pick my tools to either poke, burn, or send down their throat to subdue their suffering. At the end of the day my fellow practitioners and interpreters have become a clan. Like a family we speak our own language and do our respected duties to provide a service to the village. It’s in the moments after I’m done consuming the home grown and prepared dinner that I reflect on what happened on the day that passed. It all seems like a blur, because it seems like it can’t be described. I pull myself back to the moment when I touch my fingers to a patient’s wrist. Being in the moment while the spirits of past Chinese medicine scholars’ knowledge flow through me to try and explain what imbalance of the universe sits before me, speaking to me through a radial pulse. What is going on inside of them?

Jason Gauruder | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

We’re spoiled with not having to grind and boil herbs for every person or prick them with animal bone needles, but for the most part I am living in the spirit of the greatest Chinese practitioners of the past. I am looking at people that live in the elements and are truly affected by the world around them. They are the microcosm that is showing me the macrocosm. The cold of winter after a damp rainy season is inside them. It’s in their joints, stagnating at the bottom of their pulse, and weighing on their mind. It’s up to me to see them as something more than tendonitis or gastritis. I have to see them in the world they live in, which is one where wood like tendons will break down easily if not nourished by smoothly flowing water, or that a spicy food diet is like scorching the earth over and over until the soil becomes dry and can no longer nourish the village. No electronic imaging means that lump is a big ball of damp requiring heat to unblock stasis. I have to look at them through the wisdom that is Chinese medicine and the realities it was born out of. Perhaps I am not a shaman, but I do wield a medicine that makes sense for their lives, because it was the medicine that was born out of the lives of generations of laboring villagers. 

I get to escape the world that is studied in books and the perceived notion of modern scholars on what they think the classics mean. Formula and dosage dogma goes out the window when you have a limited amount of supplies. You use what you can get. You use what you have to the best of your ability and the presentation that is before you. Studying wind cold invasion in a text book or what the pulse should look like is nothing compared to meeting a woman who has been out in the cold all day working with a sparse amount of covering and didn’t have lunch heated in a slow cooker. It’s hard not to think cinnamon and ginger with hot porridge isn’t the best remedy no matter what the ratios are.

Jason Gauruder | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

Like I said, it’s just a reminder of the journey. Here I am in a country that is culturally Hindu, I’m of European ancestry, and I’m learning about the true nature of Chinese medicine. I am uncovering the mystery of where this medicine came from and how it is so successful at treating the human condition. Being able to come here and have one epiphany after another certainly seems like magic to me. So the next time I get asked, “are you a shaman?” I may just have to respond, “with how all of this has worked out, I might just as well be.”

“The modest disposition begins with the recognition that there is no one method for solving problems. It’s important to rely on the quantitative and rational analysis. But that gives you part of the truth, not the whole….This is a different sort of knowledge [folk wisdom]. It comes from integrating and synthesizing diverse dynamics. It is produced over time, by an intelligence that is associational – observing closely, imagining loosely, comparing like to unlike and like to like to find harmonies and rhythms in the unfolding events. The modest person uses both methods and more besides. The modest person learns not to trust one paradigm. Most of what he knows accumulates through long & arduous process of wondering.” – David Brooks, The Social Animal

--Jason Gauruder

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