Acupuncturists Respond to Chile Earthquake

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) has recently arrived in Chile to help with the aftermath of the the earthquake there just two weeks ago.

It’s hard to even take in after the earthquake in Haiti, but the damage in Chile is monumental, and life has changed dramatically. A neighbor of mine, whose family is in Chile, writes that there continue to be small quakes, and people are still in shock, and still looking for missing family members. Large parts of the country have been badly damaged, and roads and phone lines are out of commission, making travel and communication difficult. Large numbers of people are struggling with loss, displacement, and physical injury. Continue reading

Acupuncturists Respond in Haiti

The first team of acupuncturists is back from its exploratory trip to Haiti, where they were enthusiastically and gratefully received. The three acupuncturists visited General Hospital and treated over 100 patients suffering from amputations, crushed limbs, and emotional trauma. Many reported a significant decrease in pain and other symptoms; one man asked if they would come back every day!

Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) has also received requests to train local health care providers in the use of ear acupuncture for trauma and pain. This is the model used by the Pan African Acupuncture Project for many years, and has the advantage of empowering local communities to provide for their own health care needs, rather than relying solely on foreign volunteers. Continue reading

Acupuncturists Respond to Haiti Earthquake Disaster

Acupuncturists from around the country are making plans to travel to Haiti to offer acupuncture to earthquake survivors. Much like the efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the program will offer free group-style acupuncture to help with pain, trauma, stress, sleep, and any other physical ailments.

Though acupuncturists had planned to wait until basic needs were met, such as water and food, sanitation, and emergency medical care, these plans have changed.  As early as February 3rd, three acupuncturists will accompany a group of doctors to rural areas in Haiti.  These doctors have stated clearly that they want acupuncturists’ help immediately for pain and trauma treatments and surgical anesthesia, as well as treating the doctors themselves, who will surely also be overwhelmed, exhausted, and traumatized. Continue reading

Volunteer Acupuncturists to Visit Uganda

This December, three local acupuncturists will be traveling to Uganda to train local health care providers in the use of acupuncture to treat HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. The trip is sponsored by the Pan African Acupuncture Project (PAAP), which has been sending trainers to Uganda on a regular basis since 2003.

HIV is a major problem in many African countries; sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 67% of all people worldwide living with HIV, 91% of new infections in children, and 72% of AIDS-related deaths. HIV can be well controlled with effective (though toxic) medication, but many people in Africa have no access to these life-saving drugs. Continue reading

Weigh in on the Obama Health Plan

President-elect Obama has identified national health coverage as one of his top priorities for his first year in office.  As part of this effort, Obama’s transition team has set up a website to gather ideas from ordinary citizens on how to mitigate or solve some of the problems in our current health care system.

This allows us — practitioners and users of “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” — an opportunity to explain what these therapies offer to us as individuals, and to the health care system as a whole.

Acupuncture is a low-cost, low-tech health care option that could potentially play a role in reducing health care costs and increasing efficiency.  Continue reading