• confidence

    Our volunteers acquire the confidence to serve as primary care providers, treating 15 to 25 patients per day in our community style clinic.
  • Research Focused

    Conducting research studies and documenting patient cases helps us analyze the efficacy of our clinic and contribute to the body of evidence that supports our project model.
  • 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.
  • more than acupuncture

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

    By providing simple explanations, we help patients understand their health concerns and make informed choices regarding their care.
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Our Mission

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

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

Influencing government policy and achieving educational goals. Read More
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Volunteer With Us

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

Case studies and field research helps us analyze our efficacy. 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

  • Cervical and Lumbar Spondylosis +

    70-year-old male presents with severe cervical and lumbar pain, neuropathy of the arms, hands, legs and feet, incontinence Read More
  • Febrile-Induced Cerebellar Ataxia +

    58-year-old male patient presents with ataxia, severe dizziness, vertigo and slurred speech. Symptoms started after a severe febrile 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
  • 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
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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

 


This would be my 6th trip to Nepal, but my first time experiencing it during monsoon.  The valley was bone dry when I last left and after 7.5 months without rain everything was covered in a heavy layer of dust. Today, the valley is a sea of green and mud from months of monsoon.  When it rains, it’s as though a wall of water is falling for hours at a time. But the air is clean, the temperature and humidity much more manageable than the 90+ degrees in Kathmandu with humidity trapping in the pollution.

It feels like a homecoming for me, I am very excited to see my “Nepal family”; ARP staff, friends, Monks, patients, and even the dogs.  I am greeted by big smiles, prayer hands, blessings, wagging tails, chai tea, and an excited monk running into me around a corner when he hears of my arrival.

I look out the window and I see my “favorite stroke patient”, Mr. Thapa. He is the 43 year old Nepali police officer who suffered a severe stroke over 10 years ago. We have reported on his case and development over the last 3 years.  Today he is 30 minutes early and waiting for the clinic to open, squatting on his heels in the alley. This is a new range of motion I have not seen from him before. He is excited to show me a lot of other new ranges of motion he has gained through his acupuncture treatments. He puts both his right arm and leg through almost noodle -like dance motions, he is thrilled with the treatments, the level of care, and his improvement. At this point he comes to work on his speech and excess saliva.  Anne Frances will work with him 3 times a week for the next month focusing mainly on scalp acupuncture. 2 weeks later his speech is clear, the saliva level is no longer an issue and suddenly he is speaking English! He has always used some English words and fragmented sentences but he is now conversational.  It’s hard for everyone in the room to contain their joy, excitement and laughter.  Before the stroke, Mr. Thapa spoke multiple languages (Nepali, Nawari, Hindi, and English).  Immediately after the stroke it was only Hindi which remained, interestingly not his first language. So the question that now comes to mind; does he now feel confident enough with the decreased saliva level to speak more English? Or did the scalp treatment awaken a part of his brain that has been asleep for years?

One day after Mr. Thapa's speech improvement, I saw an article published in the Kathmandu Times that reported a study in Korea and Germany has found that Acupuncture is not effective in helping with post stroke rehabilitation.  I literally laughed out loud.

ARP and the Vajra Varahi Clinic continue to be a welcome part of the Chapagaon community. We treat multiple patients from the same and extended families as word spreads of the level of care and the results from acupuncture and herbs. Some patients still hike multiple hours each way, out of the hills for treatment.  This year I met a family who had rented a room in the village so the husband could receive treatment for his stroke multiple times a week. We also had an opportunity to perform a house call on an older woman who had just experienced a stroke only 6 days earlier. This is a rare opportunity for ARP as most of our stroke patients suffered from their episode years earlier.  Treating the patient on the floor, both Anne Frances and I began to work. When we finally looked up from our patient we were surrounded by her friends and family of all generations, a monk, and our taxi driver all whom were sitting cross legged and praying for her.  It was an amazing lesson in the power of group healing and prayer.


Years ago I had the privilege of studying under an acupuncturist who referred to all his patients as his teacher. Each patient gave him the unique opportunity to learn something new about not only the individual in his office, but also the medicine and himself all from the perspective of his patient/ teacher. I have tried to keep this in mind during both my travels and treatments. My greatest teacher on this trip has been a 68yr old man with Parkinson’s. He has taken all the pharmaceuticals for his condition and after years the medication is no longer effective. His shaking is uncontrollable, but he has learned that by keeping beetle nut in his mouth his speech is not a problem.  He looked at me one day during treatment and asked if this condition was something that he had caught from someone and was worried that he might pass it along. He said that people avoid him on the bus and out in the village, some fearful that he has been bitten by a demon, causing his shaking. It was eye-opening to me; I see a man with Parkinson’s but to most in Nepal this condition is a mystery that holds quite a stigma as a result of lack of understanding.  Even with all the difficulties that Parkinson has presented to his life, his real fear was about passing it along to a stranger. I am very grateful for the new perspective my teacher has given to me.

I would like to thank all those who have and continue to help support our project. It is a blessing to be of service to the wonderful people of Nepal. 

– Namaste, Leith Nippes

Admin note: Leith Nippes is a co-founder of the Acupuncture Relief Project and serves on the Board of Directors. Without Leith's endless energy, enthusiasm and dedication to inspiring our community of acupuncture practitioners all over the world... this project would not be possible.


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