Acupuncture Relief Project

The Acupuncture Relief Project (ARP) is a free community acupuncture clinic that travels to countries that have been impacted by poverty, conflict or disaster. The Project gives practitioners an opportunity to gain valuable field experience while making a positive impact on foreign communities. During the 2008 project, ARP was able to provide over 5000 acupuncture treatments and had remarkable results in treating chronic pain, GI disorders and paralysis. 

Current Project

ARP is working with Vajra Varahi Healthcare outside Kathmandu in Nepal. Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries, with a per capita income of just US $244/year. Rural people – who make up more than 85 percent of Nepal’s population – continue to struggle with extreme poverty, the disenfranchisement of vulnerable minority groups, political corruption, and a lack of government and social services.

ARP’s goal in 2009 was to offer effective care to over 7000 patients in their Kathmandu based field clinic. Services are offered completely free to the community by a team of 3 volunteer acupuncturists who hope to treat up to 120 people per day, 6 days a week for 6 months.

How you can help

In 2008, Acupuncture Relief Project gathered and transported over 500 pounds of supplies to the clinic in Chapagaon, Nepal, where they treated hundreds of patients in less than optimal conditions. Able to operate at a fraction of the cost of traditional medical models, the clinic provided basic healthcare and produced dramatic results, especially in the areas of chronic pain, paralysis and gastrointestinal disorders. During ARP’s first visit to Chapagaon, practitioners administered over 5,000 acupuncture treatments to over 1,400 patients.

Please consider supporting this project by making a tax deductible donation. Every dollar donated goes directly to the purchase of medical supplies and operating expenses of field clinics.

$1 pays for treatment of one patient!
$20 pays for an interpreter for 10 days!
$50 pays for one practitioner’s clinic supplies for one week!
$100 pays all clinic expenses for one day!

Visit for more information.

Clinical Training Opportunities

Clinical options are available to PRC students and graduates (and space-pending non-PRC students and practitioners) throughout the year and depend on the ARP’s operational schedule and location.

The cost for PRC students and alumni is $1400USD/6-week posting ($1800 for non-PRC students and practitioners), which includes food (at the clinic), room, treatment supplies, interpreters, instruction, supervision and airport transportation.

Eligible PRC student must have completed the following prerequisites: minimum of 200 hours clinical practice, OM201/202 TCM Diagnosis, and ACU113/114 Techniques and Therapeutics, or the equivalent. Academic credit (not included in quoted price) is available through PRC to all students, and professional development credit is available directly from ARP to practitioners. Please contact our Office of Admissions for more information and an application.

The upcoming training includes the following:

Donation of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Services – 10 PDAs
Participants spend 240 hours treating patients in a variety of public settings including the main camp in Chapagoan as well as satellite locations in Godvari, Sathi Samuha, Nagi Gomba and others. Participants treat approximately 20 patients per day, 6 days per week. They gain first hand experience in all aspects of primary care in the third world environment and treat many conditions seldom (if ever) seen in the West. The populations at satellite locations serve people that otherwise would not receive any medical care. Some of these groups are considered the lowest in the societal structure, and despite the fact that they cannot pay for care, most doctors would not see them or touch them. ARP also targets populations struggling with drug addictions, living with HIV/AIDs, and involved in the sex trade. Most of these target populations are malnourished and are more susceptible to disease.

Clinic Observation (Clinical Experience) – 10 PDAs
Participants spend a minimum of 10 hours observing other experienced practitioners at treatment facilities. They have the opportunity to observe local Tibetan herbalists, shamans, acupuncturists, and homeopaths working with local populations. This is an excellent opportunity for practitioners to see new modalities and ask questions about cultural, clinical and patient communication issues.

Didactic Instruction (Competency Maintenance) – 20 PDAs
Participants are required to meet twice per week for 2 hours of lecture and discussion on the following topics:

Safety and Ethics – 4 hours
Participants learn the skills to improve their judgment and properly assess protocols to help protect themselves, their patients, and the clinic from pathogenic and legal exposure. This includes concepts of peer oversight, appropriate care assessment, and community partnership all as tools to ensure safe, effective care and long term success of clinic efforts.

Core Knowledge – 10 Hours
Facilitators lead discussions and provide case examples of conditions that are commonly seen and treated in a third world environment. Focus is on recognition, treatment strategies, referral possibilities and expected outcomes. Techniques suitable to basic clinic and field environments are demonstrated and practiced. Participants also are required to present case information, discuss treatment strategies, demonstrate treatment modalities as necessary and provide an objective measure of efficacy.

Adjunct Therapies – 6 hours
Participants learn all aspects of the operation of a field clinic. This includes clinic setup and operation procedures as well as patient flow, charting strategies and assessment of efficacy. Participants learn how to work within the communication triangle of patient-interpreter-practitioner, as well as learn to effectively work with a variety of interpreters. They learn to assess the vague information provided by the local dialect and advocate for the necessary information required for an adequate diagnosis. Participants are also required to learn to simplify their explanations of clinical information and patient advice to a level appropriate to their cultural setting.

Participant Assessment
Participants are required to provide a log of clinic treatment including patient counts, observation hours and herbal prescriptions. They are also required to complete an evaluation of short answer questions about the materials presented, discussions of key concepts and reflections on their experiences. Participants write and submit one case study for peer review. This case study should demonstrate proper patient assessment, treatment and after care as well as provide a measure of efficacy.

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