• training & mentorship

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

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

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

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

    According to the World Health Organization, Nepal's healthcare system ranks 150th in the world with less than one doctor per 6000 people.
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Our Mission

Why Nepal and why acupuncture? Find out about our model for providing primary care in rural Nepal Read More
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Our Clinics

Since 2008, our clinics have provided over 300,000 primary care visits. Read More
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Our Partners

Strategic partnerships allow us to influence government policy an achieve educational goals. Read More
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Volunteer With Us

Acupuncture Relief Project needs your help. We have two volunteer programs designed to provide you opportunities to serve. Read More
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Our Evidence

Case studies and other field research helps us analyze the efficacy of our clinic efforts. 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 Vomiting +

    80-year-old male presents with vomiting 20 minutes after each meal for 2 years. At the time of initial 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

 

Diane with Patient

I wanted to take a moment and share some reflections of my time with the Acupuncture Relief Project in Nepal. I write with a longing in my heart, and lightness or thankfulness, for what the experience has been. ...Longing for the opportunity to be treating patients in need, longing to see those familiar smiling faces that the first week were so unknown, and longing to fall into the simple rhythm of my life at the monastery, mealtimes with the monks, Nepali tea, and early mornings on the rooftop. ...Thankfulness for the experience of new places, new people, shared experiences with friends, and endless hours of conversation with those friends distilling out the nuggets of our learning.

Through my time at the clinic, I have had the opportunity to explore more deeply the quality and accessibility of my education & clinical experience from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). What can I say – thank you OCOM for the very solid foundation in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the practical confidence to draw upon what I have learned time and time again. In Nepal, there were some extremely complicated cases that would come into the clinic and it was easy to feel overwhelmed by where to start. It was nice to have this experience early on in my "career" – I am more prepared for it now and have more ideas about how to take a deep breath, lean into the unknown and what might feel difficult, and trust that acupuncture works.

I also have a greater practical foundation in western medicine. I gained confidence in recognizing what conditions really needed referrals – for most people in Nepal money is an overwhelming obstacle. I gained practice in taking a symptom picture and fitting the pieces together. I feel that many people walked in with a story and though they usually did not know the name for what they were experiencing, I could understand their issue. I often found myself at night reading through the pages of the Merck Manual - researching certain conditions, thinking about what kinds of treatment are available, or how to best explain to the patient what was happening in their body. In the end, it all came down to how a person felt with treatment. As Kalpana noted in her letter... "people get well and feel happy".

I also value experiences that offer a different perspective than what our normal day to day experience is. I like the shift in what "normal" is because it keeps me open to change, and less attached to the world as I might get used to it being simply through pattern and habit. I like it when the power goes out for 40 hours every week. I like having to figure out how to needle or just palpate someone through 20 feet of material wrapped around their waist when they come in (known as a zumi in Newari but commonly referred to by us as "the armor") with a chief complaint of low back pain. I like weathered faces and smiles that reveal compassion and beauty. I like it when so many things don't matter – like the nature of your clothes, the shoes on your feet, and the house were we live. Instead we get to honor and connect to the person in each of us – the eyes that we meet. One of the greatest gifts of Nepal was the nature of the way people say hello and goodbye. The phrase is "Namaste", while the hands are placed together close to the front of the chest or the face - even slightly touching the space between the eyes on the brow. It's the pause, the moment of eye to eye contact that happens, the moment of stillness - when one is either coming in or leaving. It's not casual - or formal - it is a moment of intention with one another. It's a gift of stillness for a moment, never compromised.

My appreciation goes out to each patient that provided me with an opportunity to learn. My appreciation also goes out to Nicky, the Clinic Director -- she's amazing for figuring out how to make it work everyday! Also to each interpreter and the front desk/front room staff - they helped to make this experience as valuable as it has been.

It's good to be "home" -- and sad to be gone. Namaste ~ Diane Wintzer

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