• Patient Education

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

    Since 2008, Acupuncture Relief Project volunteers have delivered over 300,000 primary care visits in rural Nepal.
  • Professional Development

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

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

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
  • Chronic Abdominal Pain +

    31-year-old male presents with chronic abdominal pain. The patient has suffered from abdominal pain for the past 11 Read More
  • Atrophic Vaginitis with Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections +

    57-year-old post-menopausal female presents with constant burning uterine and bladder pain for 3 years. Allopathic care has been Read More
  • Chronic Headache (Typhoid Fever Sequela) +

    43-year-old female presents with a severe headache. 9 months ago, the patient contracted Typhoid fever. During the illness, 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

 


Kelli Jo Scott MAcOM LAc 
November 2012
OVERVIEW

Acupuncture Case Study32-year-old woman presents with constant low back pain and burning urination. She has been diagnosed with severe hydronephrosis in the right kidney and, due to pain, recommended to have a nephrectomy. After 10 treatments with various Chinese medicine modalities, her pain was reduced by 50% and the frequency of her pain was only every 2-3 days. The burning urination resolved.

Subjective

A 32-year-old woman presents to the clinic with a chief complaint of low back pain on the right side in the kidney area, which radiates up the thoracic region of the erector spinae muscles and over to the left kidney area and left thoracic region erector spinae muscles. The pain is described as constant and achy, with sharpness that comes and goes. The onset of this pain was about 1 year ago and nothing seems to change it. Her second complaint is continuous burning urination. She reports no urinary hesitancy, urgency or frequency. The urine is clear to light yellow and output is equal to input. The patient reports some dizziness when standing up and occasional night sweats (2-3 times per week). All of these symptoms have been present for a little over 1 year. Previous to the onset of these symptoms, the patient reports no prior history of trauma to the area or kidney problems, nor has any significant family history of disease.

OBJECTIVE

Patient appears to be in good physical, mental and emotional health for her age and environment. She is soft spoken, but seems educated, engaged and alert. She is the mother of 2 children, ages 2 and 6, and comes from a higher caste, which increases her access to healthcare. Her pulse is slightly rapid and slippery, her tongue red and quivering. Upon palpation of the area of chief complaint, bilateral moderate muscle tension along the thoracic region of the erector spinae muscles, more tightness on the right, is noted. On the ninth visit, the patient brought in lab tests and imaging that had been taken 13 months previous to initially being seen in the clinic. They reveal that her right Kidney is smaller in size and significantly compromised in function. The left Kidney measures 11.5 cm in length, while the right Kidney measures only 7cm. A diuretic renogram taken 1 year ago, reports 94.1% differential function in the left Kidney and 5.9% in the right. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the left Kidney was 88.8; the right Kidney GFR was 3.5. The most recent imaging and urinalysis, 5 months ago, reveals that her right Kidney has become even more compromised and surgery to remove the diseased Kidney was recommended.

ASSESSMENT

Acupuncture Case StudyDX: Atrophied, poorly-excreting right Kidney with severe hydronephrosis and a thin renal cortex; Hypoplastic right renal artery

TCM DX: Kidney qi and yin deficiency with deficiency heat; Qi and blood stagnation in Bladder meridian

PROGNOSIS: Originally, the prognosis for resolving the complaints of low back pain and burning urination, in an otherwise healthy young woman, was quite good. All of that changed on her ninth visit to the clinic, when upon our request, she presented her full history of medical reports and imaging studies to us for the first time. Due to the severity of her condition, the long-term prognosis for the health of the right Kidney is poor. But due to her response to the treatment thus far, the prognosis for alleviating her symptoms with acupuncture and herbs is good.

INITIAL PLAN

Acupuncture treatments twice per week for 5 weeks and then reassess. Focus on tonifying Kidney qi, nourishing yin and reestablishing the free flow of qi and blood to the local area. Herbs are given to tonify Kidney qi and yin and promote urination.

A typical acupuncture treatment includes the following points: DU20, BL23, BL24, BL26, BL28, BL40, KI7, KI3 and SP6. On several treatments, thread the inner Bladder line all along the thoracic vertebral region due to tightness along the erector spinae muscles and referred pain, especially on the right side. Electro-acupuncture (continuous @ 5 Hz and mixed 2/100 Hz) is used in the low back area bilaterally, as well as localized massage.

Ba Zheng San to clear heat and Dao Chi Wan to promote urination.

OUTCOME

After 10 treatments, the patient reported significantly less intensity (50% less) and frequency of the low back pain. Burning urination resolved. She also reported no more dizziness or night sweats. The low back pain was no longer constant or even daily in occurrence, sometimes only noticeable every 2-3 days. The best herbal formula results were seen with Dao Chi Wan, given at appointments 9 and 10. During her re-evaluation at treatment 10, the patient volunteered that she had good energy and felt strong.

CONCLUSION

As far as the medical reports for this patient conclude, the nephrectomy was recommended primarily due to the fact that she was experiencing pain. With 10 treatments of acupuncture and herbs, we were able to reduce the pain significantly in both frequency and intensity (50%). She was also no longer experiencing any burning during urination. If at some point, she no longer experiences pain or other symptoms, and her bi-annual scans and tests reveal continued normal function in the left Kidney, I feel it is reasonable to assume that she could potentially avoid the surgery altogether.

CONTINUED TREATMENT

The patient was aware that there is a high likelihood that she will eventually need to have the Kidney removed. She planned to continue to be monitored by her medical doctor and have imaging done approximately every 6 months or more frequently, if symptoms increase, to assess the progression of the hydronephrosis. Acupuncture and herbs, at this time, are useful palliative care and should be continued at the current course, as long as the symptoms are present. When the symptoms are completely alleviated, a maintenance course of treatment (once per week) should be implemented to maintain the strength of the system and to potentially improve Kidney function bilaterally.

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