• Building relationships

    Learning to understand each other and truly listen is the first step in building trust and lasting friendships.
  • objective outcomes

    Our volunteers hone their clinical skills by properly assessing their patient's condition and setting achievable outcome goals.
  • more than acupuncture

    Our volunteers include massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, naturopaths, as well as nurses, nurse practitioners and allopathic physicians.
  • Professional Development

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

    Frequent, focused treatments allow us to see positive changes in a patient's condition quickly.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
image

Our Mission

Our unique model provides effective, efficient, primary care in rural Nepal. Read More
image

Our Clinics

Since 2008, our clinics have provided over 350,000 primary care visits. Read More
image

Our Partners

Influencing government policy and achieving educational goals. Read More
image

Volunteer With Us

We need your help. Serve others while learning new skills. Read More
image

Our Evidence

Case studies and field research helps us analyze our efficacy. Read More
  • 1
  • 1

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.

Read More

Featured Case Studies

  • Acute Cholecystitis +

    70-year-old female presents with acute abdominal, chest and scapular pain, vomiting and diarrhea. At the local hospital, she Read More
  • Lumbar Stenosis due to Osteoartritis +

    36-year-old female with lumbar spinal stenosis presents with severe low back pain with referred pain down the posterior Read More
  • Massage for Chronic Back Pain Associated with Spondylosis of the Spine +

    70-year-old male referred for massage treatments for pain associated with spondylosis of the spine and neuropathy. The patient Read More
  • Palliative Care of Parkinson’s Disease +

    62-year-old male was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 8 years ago and has been receiving treatment in this clinic Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Compassion Connect : Documentary Series

  • image

    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

  • image

    Acupuncture Relief Project tackles complicated medical cases through accurate assessment and the cooperation of both governmental and non-governmental agencies.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 2: INTEGRATED MEDICINE

  • image

    Cooperation with the local government yields a unique opportunities to establish a new integrated medicine outpost in Bajra Barahi, Makawanpur, Nepal.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 3: WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT

  • image

    Complicated medical cases require extraordinary effort. This episode follows 4-year-old Sushmita in her battle with tuberculosis.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 4: CASE MANAGEMENT

  • image

    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.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 5: SOBER RECOVERY

  • image

    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.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 6: THE INTERPRETERS

  • image

    This episode looks at the people and the process of creating a new generation of Nepali rural health providers.

    Watch Episode

    EPISODE 7: FUTURE DOCTORS OF NEPAL

  • image

    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

  • 1

From Our Blog

 

I know many people that travel often and tell stories about their 'breakthrough moment' or an 'epiphany'. Friends and family told me, when I was leaving for Nepal, that I would have amazing experiences and it would change my life. I have no doubt that this will be a life changing experience, or that my time here will be amazing. However, in my head, as I was boarding the airplane and imagining all the things that would come. I daydreamed of sitting on top of a hill and having the meaning of life showered upon me. I would break down from some hardship and then see the light through the darkness of my despair.

So far, none of that has happened. Instead, I've been learning lessons little by little. They sneak up on me, so much so that I don't realize I'm learning them until I look back and realize I've changed. It reminds me of how my mom presents an idea to my dad. If she gives the idea outright, with all its facts and all its information, he shuts it down right away. However, if she gives him little tidbits, subliminal messages, and offhand comments, in time he comes to the exact same idea or conclusion on his own.

This happened to me in Ipa (or Epa, even Nepali's can't come to a consensus on the spelling).

Ipa is our outreach clinic. Every Monday and Thursday we trek an hour and a half along the dusty, rocky, uneven road. The walk there is "Nepali flat", meaning there is very little elevation gain in the end, but you will rise and fall hundreds of feet along the way. Our walk to Ipa on October 24th was sunny and hot. We had butterflies flitting around us and grasshoppers jumping around underfoot. Leeches, thank goodness, had abandoned the hot dry grasses. Four of us walked to Ipa that day. Andrew, Allissa, Ritesh, and I. Two practitioners, an interpreter, and a pre-medical student/assistant/odd jobber.

Our first stop, as with every time we travel to Ipa, was about an hour into the walk. We made a house call to a man who has a neurodegenerative disease. We suspected, with our limited technologies, either Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Allissa did an acupuncture treatment on him, and his son brought out fresh honey that they'd harvested from the wall of their house. It tasted wonderful. We broke off a piece of the fragile honeycomb and stuffed the whole thing on our mouths. Occasionally a larva got thrown in the mix, but it's just a dash of protein, right? The honey at the house in Ipa was particularly delicious after a long, sweaty walk. The sunlight glinted off both the metal plate and the golden honey, making the entire presentation seem all the more appetizing. We sucked out all the sweetness possible until we were left with only wax, which actually makes for a pretty good chewing gum substitute. 

After we treated the man, we continued on to the school house where we held the main outreach clinic. We took one room of the two room school building and used it as a treatment room. Chairs were set up outside and inside a platform with two mats. About half of the patients we treated outside, sitting in the plastic chairs.

The community likes to hang around and watch our clinic work and we encourage it. Patient confidentiality and privacy here takes a backseat. It's more important for us to be open, honest, and visible to the community. They take comfort in their friends and family being with them. In some cases, privacy is preferred, and we always accommodate for that. In Ipa, The school itself is set on a ridge with the "road" traveling right in front of it. Some of the community members or patients sat on the edge of a cliff, squatting or sitting, oblivious to the extremes of their environment, content with watching us work, gossiping, and looking after the babies of those getting treated. A pleasant breeze washed over us from over the cliff, it was especially welcomed on the hot day.

Our first patient at the clinic was a small girl with diabetes. The first time we tested her glucose it was 525. The second time it was 320. The third, it was back up to 500s. Her glucose was dangerously high and we had been trying to write to some doctors in the US about what type of medicine she needs. That day in Ipa we didn't have any glucose strips left in order to test her blood sugar levels. We performed an acupuncture treatment and said that we were working with some doctors in America to help her. She had the most amazing attitude. She hung around our clinic the whole day and our little inside joke was “yes dukchaa” which combines English “yes” and Nepali “pain” or we said “no dukchaa”. Often she would point to objects and say their name in English, showing her intelligence and eagerness to learn English. Her and I developed a great friendship that day. She started holding my hand and tugging at my hair, running away and giggling after. At the end of the day, she walked us part of the way back and then handed me a note. It was pretty long, and written in Nepali. I had Ritesh, one of our interpreters, transcribe it for me.

Here is what it said:

I am Babita Basnet. For the good health of Nepal, namaste to the well wisher [this is a respectful greeting]

Hello (Namaste) Doctor

I am 13 year old kid born in a poor typical Nepali family. I have been having sugar disease or blood sugar disease since I was 11 years old. I am always worried (scared because she had this problem). I am very interested in studying and I love all sorts of extracurricular activities but I am very worried and scared because I have been attacked by this sugar disease since I am very young. What should I do? Our economy is no good. I can’t go to many places to have my medical tests and till now I have been managed with medicines. Sometimes I feel “what will I do?” when I can’t afford for my medicines. I am just scared. Will my problem (disease) ever be solved (cured)? I don’t think so if I can’t get a good medicine that will help me with my disease. I always use insulin but it burns me and it hurts very much. How long will I have to live with this pain? I am not able to concentrate on my studies because of my family’s condition and stress of my disease.

Love
Babita Basnet
Epa, Pachkanya-6
Makwanpur

This little girl, who had been so chipper and playful all day, described her fears and anxiety over her life-changing disease in under 200 words. I didn't know what to do. I felt pretty helpless when I was reading her letter.

One of the hardest things to do here in clinic is to tell someone we are unable to help their problem. It's one of the most important things a doctor can do: honesty. On Thursday we met a lady who had a fever four years ago. During the course of her fever, she was hospitalized and lost hearing in her left ear and partially in her right ear. She came to us with a couple other complaints: headache, body pain. I looked in her ears and the ear canal and tympanic membrane looked normal, if a bit opaque. There was some redness in one and a small amount of moist earwax. None of this should have caused partial or complete hearing loss. We used a tuning fork to do a basic hearing test and it confirmed her partial and complete deafness. Andrew looked at her and said “We will not be able to fix your hearing. The fever likely caused permanent damage to the auditory nerve, something that is deep inside your brain”. As Ritesh translated you could physically see her face fall.

Often times our patients view us as magic workers- able to fix anything. We bring our foreign clothes, foreign faces, and foreign medicine. They come to us, sure that we can fix anything. They have so much hope when they come to the doctor. She had hope that we could fix her hearing through treatment. The same treatment that is fixing her husband's body pain, her mother's headaches, or her friend's menstrual irregularities. But we can’t do everything. And we had to tell her that. You could see on her face when she realized the permanence of her situation. She had to reroute her future plans. Everything that she had hoped would return vanished with our words and she had to imagine her future with only partial hearing in one ear. For the rest of her life.

 

We’ve told people this before, and I've always known the value of honesty in the clinic. But this was one of those "snuck up on me" moments. When I look back at all the previous times we've been honest with our patients, regardless of the news, I see the value of doctor-patient honesty with a new clarity. We bring hope, compassion and our expertise. But sometimes we also bring bad news, disappointment, and heartbreak. -Tessa Concepcion

Latest Instagram

Follow Us on Facebook

Support our work

Donate Volunteer Get in Touch

Support Us