• 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.
  • confidence

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

    Before we can provide effective medical care we must first learn to understand how our patients live.
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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

  • Low Abdomen Pain due to Roundworm and Urinary Infection +

    30-year-old female presents with lower abdominal pain, burning urination and shortness of breath for the last 5 months. Read More
  • Chronic Abdominal Pain +

    31-year-old male presents with chronic abdominal pain. The patient has suffered from abdominal pain for the past 11 Read More
  • Acute Cholecystitis +

    70-year-old female presents with acute abdominal, chest and scapular pain, vomiting and diarrhea. At the local hospital, she Read More
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder +

    20-year-old male patient presents with decreased mental capacity, which his mother states has been present since birth. He 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.

    Watch Episode

    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 | Sheri Barrows

I have been filling the role of secretary/treasurer of Acupuncture Relief Project since 2008 when Andrew’s dream reached the point where it shifted from idea to action. When meetings with bankers and lawyers became necessary; when he needed my “type A” brain to figure out how to manage the mounds of information we were accumulating; and when the piles of legal documents needed to be filled out and filed – that’s where I came in.  Since I am neither an acupuncturist nor a health care practitioner of any kind I have always felt a bit removed from the practice side of ARP.  I handle the receipts for needles, otoscope’s, cotton balls, electro machines, foot stools, blankets, moxa and every other item used in the clinics and yet I have only heard second hand the stories about how the supplies have made a difference in the lives of the patients.  Until now!  This year I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to be here in Nepal for several months. To spend time in the clinics and to connect with the patients, practitioners and interpreters first hand.

Every day has been a learning experience and a gift but I am most affected and inspired every time one of our stroke patients comes to the clinic.  Sure, I have watched the video on our web site of Birbahadur Thapa, showing his progress recovering from his stroke and I have heard the stories of other patients but it wasn’t until I actually witnessed the impact of acupuncture on a stroke patient for myself that I truly understood how important these clinics are.

Most of the stroke victims in Nepal are sent home from hospital with no physical therapy and no instructions on what they and their families can do to try to recover lost abilities, therefore they rarely experience any improvement after their stroke.  Since a large number of our patients are illiterate, they also don’t really understand what happened to them and what “stroke” means so understandably this creates a lot of fear. When they come to our clinic they are often totally hopeless and demoralized because they have been in their condition for at least a year and often for many years.  After just one or two treatments they experience noticeable changes and begin to feel hopeful.  It is that shift to hopeful that moves me so deeply. 

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sheri Barrows

There is one man in particular that I have become very attached to.  Jagat came to the Bhimphedi clinic for the first time with several family members because he needed their physical support to get to the clinic and, since he could not speak at all, he needed his wife to translate his facial expressions into words. I don’t believe I have ever seen a man as dejected as Jagat was on that first day.  He is 35 years old with a wife and 3 kids and all of a sudden he cannot take care of his family nor support them financially.  He no longer has a role in his community and people have stopped making eye contact with him – he has become invisible because he cannot participate in life and therefore he no longer matters.

His ARP doctor, Rachel Hemblade, went through multiple physical and vocal tests with him to determine what his abilities were, treated him with acupuncture and physical therapy, and then created a homework plan. Rachel recruited his family members to help him at least twice a day and taught them how to perform the physical therapy and voice coaching themselves. Jagat is very fortunate to have a caring family and everyone stepped up and said they would help.

The way Rachel fully and cheerfully engaged with Jagat and his family and her deeply compassionate manner had to have been reassuring for them on that first scary trip to the clinic. 

On that initial visit, Jagat could not make any sound at all for two of the vowels and could barely sound the others. His entire right side was severely stroked. Hand in a claw like grip, shoulder barely mobile, unable to lift his arm up from his side, leg could move forward to walk at the hip only, foot had no motor control, face totally expressionless. Eyes immensely sad.

His home is a 4-hour walk from the clinic and thus would make daily treatment unreasonable so thankfully he was able to make arrangements to stay in Bhimphedi with friends. 

When he came back to the clinic for his second treatment you could see an ever so slight sparkle in his eyes. For the first time since the stroke he had felt his body change and suddenly, he had hope!

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sheri Barrows

When he arrived for his third visit he was excited to show us that he could now pronounce all of his vowels.  I will always remember that visit because it was also the first time he was able to smile and his smile lit up the whole room.

By his fifth treatment he no longer needed a family member to interpret his facial expressions because he could answer Rachel’s questions himself, albeit slowly, and each treatment since has continued to bring improvement.

The crooked smile he directs at me when I exclaim with joy at his progress is a gift I will never get tired of receiving.

This is but one example from the hundreds and hundreds of patients ARP practitioners treat every year.  And this is why I will never again be able to file a receipt for needles or pay for an order of cotton balls or any of my other secretarial duties without being deeply touched by my experience here. I am immensely proud and appreciative of everyone who makes this project function on a daily basis  – Tsering, all the interpreters and practitioners, all of the advisors – and I cannot begin to express my admiration for the dedication, love and energy Andrew has given to make this project happen, year after year.  When I signed on as a board member 8 years ago, I never could have imagined the significance it would have in my life. --- Sheri Barrows

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