• rural nepal

    Home to eight of the highest mountains in the world including Mt. Everest, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
  • Patient Education

    By providing simple explanations, we help patients understand their health concerns and make informed choices regarding their care.
  • Building relationships

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

    Before we can provide effective medical care we must first learn to understand how our patients live.
  • Effective Treatment

    Frequent, focused treatments allow us to see positive changes in a patient's condition quickly.
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Our Mission

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

Our Clinics

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

Our Partners

Influencing government policy and achieving educational goals. Read More

Volunteer With Us

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

Our Evidence

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

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke Sequelae +

    53-year-old male presents with right-sided hemiplegia following a hemorrhagic stroke 1 year ago. Patient complaints include decreased range-of-motion, Read More
  • Low Abdomen Pain due to Roundworm and Urinary Infection +

    30-year-old female presents with lower abdominal pain, burning urination and shortness of breath for the last 5 months. Read More
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder +

    20-year-old male patient presents with decreased mental capacity, which his mother states has been present since birth. He Read More
  • Hemiplegic Stroke Sequelae with Aphasia +

    Patient presents with right-sided paralysis of his upper and lower limbs due to an ischemic stroke 9 months Read More
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Compassion Connect : Documentary Series

  • Episode 1Rural Primary Care

    Episode 1
    Rural Primary Care

    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 2Integrated Medicine

    Episode 2
    Integrated Medicine

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

    Watch Episode

  • Episode 3Working With The Government

    Episode 3
    Working With The Government

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

    Watch Episode

  • Episode 4Case Management

    Episode 4
    Case Management

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

    Watch Episode

  • Episode 5Sober Recovery

    Episode 5
    Sober Recovery

    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 6The Interpreters

    Episode 6
    The Interpreters

    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 7Future Doctors of Nepal

    Episode 7
    Future Doctors of Nepal

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

    Watch Episode

  • Compassion Connects2012 Pilot Episode

    Compassion Connects
    2012 Pilot Episode

    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

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From Our Blog


I walk the dusty streets from Vajra Varahi Health Clinic to a small Newari village most mornings. My interpreter and I wind through alleys full of interested street dogs. We cut through schoolyards where uniformed children gather on their way to learn and we pass through fields where women look up from their chores to utter a quiet "Namaste". I wonder silently to myself on these walks - Will her smile be bigger today? Will her spirits be lifted? Will today be the day when she finally wiggles her toes?

I make this walk to treat an 81 year old beloved mother, grandmother, wife, and stroke survivor. The stroke happened just over a month ago leaving her paralyzed on her left side. I squeeze into the makeshift treatment room next to my patient as she cautiously sits upright. My interpreter relays my questions and the patient's responses from just outside the room where he kneels on the cold, hardpacked dirt floor. My patient leans against one of her daughters, the one who takes charge of her mother's home care. The daughter always greets me with a big smile, she helps with treatment by encouraging her mother and making jokes to lift her spirits. My patient's husband often comes as well to sit with his wife if there is space. A few grandchildren, ranging in age from four to twenty, peer over my interpreter's shoulder. The makeshift room smells musty in the chilly brick home; its walls are plywood, there are wooden shutters for windows, the family has hung tarps to block the cold-wind from seeping through the cracks. My patient lays swaddled in layers of blankets, tucked into her tiny space to keep her warm.

Most mornings her progress report is the same: "She sat outside in the sun yesterday. We massaged her arm and legs just like you said. Yes, she's doing her exercises every day." On good days I hear, "She walked two steps on her own today. She sat upright by herself for a bit." On difficult days the patient asks, "Why do I feel so heavy? I am so tired. When will I be better? I want to walk with my goats again. I have to get better soon for my family."

I thought I learned in school how to treat stroke sequella with acupuncture. Work with the Yang Ming channels, use the e-stim machine, stimulate the scalp points while the patient tries to move their limbs. The treatment protocol is the easy part. What I didn't learn was how to be a coach and cheerleader. I precariously try to balance those tasks while I struggle to manage the patient's expectations. Every day I dread answering the question, "When will my mother be better again? We are doing everything that you have asked of us." I can't give them an answer to that question when I don't know the answer myself.

She may slowly improve over time with frequent treatments and continued exercises at home, but then again she may not. What I do know is that it will take months of dedicated work from the patient, her family, and from us, the practitioners, for her to regain mobility. But there is no guarantee.

The changes are painfully slow. Both the the patient and her family have a hard time seeing any change at all. It is my job to remind them with every visit. "You're doing great! Wiggle those toes, even if they don't move, just keep trying! Look, you just moved your foot!" I tell them she is doing better, that I can see her improvements. I remind them to be patient, to stay positive, to keep trying. But I say these words to the family as much as I say them to myself. Be patient, Stephanie, real change takes time. Stay positive, don't give up hope. Keep trying, keep encouraging her, she needs to know that she is getting better. Just keep treating.

So I walk the dusty streets from Vajra Varahi Health Clinic to a small Newari village most mornings to see my patient, and I wonder silently to myself on these walks - Will her smile be bigger today? Will her spirits be lifted? Will today be the day when she finally wiggles her toes?

Today, after four weeks of treatment, was the day that she wiggled her toes.

---Stephanie Grant

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