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More than just acupuncture


In Bimphedi, a small remote village in the hills south of Katmandu where the Acupuncture Relief Project has a clinic. There is also an orphanage. The children that are there are coming from the streets in Nepal, from broken families, from families where the parents died, from village around the country that get sent to Katmandu to get allotted around the country to different orphanages. 

It is a small community of children from the ages of 8-18, where they sleep in bunk rooms together, they eat together, they play together, they working the garden planting their vegetables and there is small school inside.  

Read more: More than just acupuncture

Trust The Process


It’s been one week in Nepal and 3 days of clinic in Bajra Baraji. I’ve gone through so many emotions and learned so much about practicing primary care in a rural area. It’s been amazing but I have to admit that the first day of clinic was tough. That little voice in my head started saying stuff like, “You’re not a good enough practitioner, you don’t know enough, you can’t help anyone!” It’s hard enough to not let that voice rule over my thoughts in the best of times, let alone completely out of my element in a new country. I felt in over my head, seeing things like ear infections, gnarly wounds, ulcers and so many things I would refer out to a medical doctor back home. I was told the first week was going to be the hardest but I didn’t think that first day would end in tears. I barely made it to my room to wrap myself up in my zero degree bag to take some time to write in my journal.

Read more: Trust The Process


At the beginning of my service with Camp B at Bajra Bahari, my first patient is a 70 year old male with right-side hemiplegia resulting from a stroke.  I look at his chart and note he started daily acupuncture treatments two months earlier.  I ask him what are his goals for treatment and he states "I want to use right hand to eat (Nepalis use their right hand to gather and mix and bring to their mouth dal bhaat - the mainstay of the Nepali diet) and to shave himself. I test his grip strength, simply asking to grab my two fingers and squeeze, comparing his right and left hand strength.  His right grip is comparable to his left hand, however, when I test his dexterity, he is unable to pick up a pen with his right hand as his attempts result in his repeatedly dropping the pen.

Read more: Bookends

The Magic of Determination

I meet Buddhi for the first time at the end of the second last week of the camp. He had a stroke 5 years ago which affected the mobility of his left arm and hand. Although he can walk quite normally without limping, the stroke left constant burning sensation in his left hip and leg. 

I think to myself, "OMG, I only have 6 days left in camp. What can I do for this man?"

Buddhi has almost no strength in his left arm, and poor grip in his hand. I ask him to hold a stone the size of his palm. He gingerly wraps his fingers around it, lifts up a few millimetres, then drops it. 

I ask Buddhi what he expects me to do for him. He wants just for his hip pain to go away. He believes there isn't much hope for his hand to recover.

"OK, " I said. "We will concentrate on treating your hip but I still want you to work this hand." I make him come for treatment everyday even though he travels a few hours to get to the clinic. I also gave him homework to practice holding the "magic stone" for one hour at home.

Read more: The Magic of Determination

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