• 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.
  • Effective Treatment

    Frequent, focused treatments allow us to see positive changes in a patient's condition quickly.
  • community supported

    The care we provide is deeply appreciated and the communities we serve trust our commitment, knowledge and expertise.
  • 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.
  • Building relationships

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

Read More

Featured Case Studies

  • Ischemic Cerebrovascular Incident +

    60-year-old male presents with sudden onset of motor deficit of right hand, tingling and weakness of right foot, 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
  • Chronic Non-Healing Ear Ulcers +

    15-year-old female presents with purulent, non-healing ulcers in the right ear canal. After 20 treatments, using an integrative Read More
  • Palliative Management of End-Stage Emphysema +

    71-year-old male presents with cough and severe shortness-of-breath, caused by emphysema. Initially, patient was stabilized during an emergency 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


Anna Helms BHSc (Acupuncture)
November 2013

63-year-old female presents with chronic purulent vaginal discharge, pruritus vulva and tingling in the extremities. Test results show hyperglycemia of RBS 540 mg/dl as well as vaginal candidiasis. Patient received 9 treatments of acupuncture, referral for insulin therapy, advice on diet and exercise, as well as Chinese herbs. With education, continued treatment and case management, she will be able to control her diabetes and prevent further candida overgrowth and complications.


Acupuncture Case Study

63-year-old female presents with white, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, for the past 3 years. Patient reports vaginal itching, which has increased in severity over the last month. She describes the area as ‘burning’ with small red and purple raised sores and no pus. Secondary complaints include blurry vision, red eyes, weakness in her limbs, some achy pain and tingling in both her legs and feet.

Patient feels thirsty, craves sweet foods, and reports an increased appetite for the last 2 years. She eats irregular meals, which usually consist of rice, green leafy vegetables, potatoes and dal bhat. She drinks milk tea with sugar a few times a day and drinks approximately 1.5 L water per day. After eating, the patient feels bloated with occasional nausea. Her energy levels fluctuate and she describes a feeling of a dry scratchy throat, especially in the afternoon. The patient experiences burning and dribbling urination at a frequency of 8-9 times per day and 3 times per night. The urine is described as cloudy in appearance. Her stools are daily, loose and often have a foul smell. She tends towards rumination and says she often wakes at night with difficulty falling back asleep.


The patient appears approximately 10 kg overweight with a large midriff. During treatments, she often dozes off for 2-5 minute intervals. In her treatments, lasting approximately 30 minutes, she yawns 4-5 times. Patient responds to questions with skeptical, distracted and short answers. Her extremities are cold to the touch and paresthesia is not detected with sharp/dull or soft touch tests. Her legs have a blue/purple tinge, with pronounced varicose veins in both shins with bruising medial to the tibial head (SP9) on her left leg. A random blood glucose test resulted in a reading of 258mg/dl (normal fasting blood glucose level: 80-120mg/dl). This was taken at approximately 3:30 pm, 3 hours after eating. BP 160/100.

Tongue: Pale/crimson body, dry, cracks in the Spleen/Stomach area with a yellow coat, which is thick at the root

Pulse: Slippery at the superficial level (especially full in the stomach position), but with underlying deficiency at the deep level

Recent patient-provided lab records show:   Vaginal swab culture: Candida species isolated    Fasting blood glucose: 218mg/dl     Postprandial blood glucose: 438mg/dl


DX: Pruritus vulva due to uncontrolled type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and vaginal candidiasis

Presenting signs and symptoms of DM, in this case, include increased thirst, appetite and polyuria. Sub-acute signs and symptoms of DM are lethargy, weakness, fatigue, visual blurring, pruritus vulva, and symptoms that come-and-go as plasma glucose levels fluctuate, with complications of tingling in the extremities (legs and feet).

TCM DX: Kidney yin deficiency with empty heat and damp from Spleen qi deficiency; Spleen qi deficiency signs and symptoms with damp include vaginal discharge, dribbling and cloudy urination, loose stools, bloating, nausea, over-thinking, bruising easily, sweet cravings, fatigue, vagueness, excessive weight especially around the midriff, slippery pulse and a pale tongue body with thick coating with crack in the Spleen/Stomach area. Kidney yin deficiency signs and symptoms with empty heat include dry scratchy throat in the afternoons, high thirst, burning urination, red/purple raised sores, red eyes, increased appetite, foul smelling stools, dry crimson tongue and a deficient pulse at the base level.

Acupuncture Case Study


If the treatment plan is followed, the prognosis is good with full resolution of the candida infection. If the blood glucose is managed properly, the patient should see a general improvement in her overall health. In this case, patient compliance is very important to the overall outcome. If her blood glucose continues unmanaged, it is likely that the patient’s condition will continue to decline, and a symptomatic approach to treatment will likely result in reinfection.


Referral: Immediate referral to an endocrinologist for evaluation of hyperglycemia

Pharmaceuticals: Acidophilus (probiotic) capsules given for direct vaginal insertion 1QD for 10 days; Clotrimazole-candida-powder and sertaconazole nitrate vaginal cream applied topically BID for 10 days

Acupuncture: Treatments 2 times per week with a reassessment after 10 treatments; Treatment principles: Drain damp and clear heat (8 days with herbs), then tonify the Spleen and long-term tonify Kidney yin; Typical treatment includes LR5, ST36, CV12, SP6/9, SJ3, LI11, GB43, LR3, Yishu (Pancreas Back-Shu) and KD6.

Chinese herbs: Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, 8 pills TID for 8 days to clear damp/heat; Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan to nourish the Kidney yin and clear deficiency heat, 8 pills TID for 3 weeks.


Acupuncture Case Study

At reevaluation, the patient reported that the vaginal sores, discharge and itching had ceased. Urination had been reduced to 3 times per day and 1 time per night. Stool was more formed and she described her energy levels as more even. At this time, the patient had not been to see an endocrinologist due to financial reasons, and therefore had not received adequate allopathic medication.


The patient was encouraged to seek the medical advice of an endocrinologist and was seen by a general practitioner at the Hetauda Hospital. At that time, a random blood glucose test was taken at 540mg/dl. Patient reported that the doctor gave her diet advice (to cut back on sugar and fat), and said she did not need medication. The patient was given an additional referral and instructions to see an endocrinologist in Kathmandu. Long-term management of the diabetes should include educating the patient in self-care, self-monitoring of blood glucose levels, and insulin administration.

Long-term goals for the patient’s health include keeping blood sugar levels within normal range, weight reduction (5-10kg), maintaining diet with limited/no refined carbohydrates and fats, eating small regular meals, keeping a daily ½ hour moderate exercise regimen, reducing stress, peripheral massage to help with circulation, reducing accompanying risk factors (high blood pressure) and identification and treatment of chronic complications.

The patient should participate in routine quarterly check-ups, an annual ECG, a biannual eye exam, and routine checkup for lipids (triglyceride, HDL-C, LDL-C and total cholesterol). The patient should watch for urinary tract infections, monitor the legs for neuropathy signs and diabetic ulcers. Consider low dose aspirin (eg: 75–325mg per day) for cardiovascular protection, chromium supplement for sweet cravings as needed, vitamin E for heart health and blood pressure medication.


Acupuncture Case Study

When this patient began treatments, she was unaware she had diabetes. Education, encouragement and psychological support were a large part of managing this case. Involving her in the treatment plan was important and cannot be overstated. Our patient/doctor partnership was highlighted with an agreed upon understanding of the management plan, risks and complications.

In treating DM, acupuncture should be considered adjunctive to allopathic care. Studies suggest acupuncture and TCM are supportive of insulin treatment and may help prevent complications. Our identification of her condition with a proper diagnosis, education and integrative treatment lead to the elimination of her acute pre

At this point, our role is to support the patient in accessing insulin treatment, providing case monitoring and palliative care.senting complaints. However, proper management of her blood glucose has not been achieved. If this allopathic care cannot be acquired due to the patient’s ability to access proper care, the likely result will be a reinfection of candida and a progressive decline of her overall health.



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