News BlogLatest News From Our Volunteers in Nepal


Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

Now that I have been in clinic for a couple weeks, I am able to observe the effectiveness of the community style of acupuncture that I am giving. Treating multiple people in the day turns out not to be as hard as I thought it would be, but rather I have found I have a limit to how many people I can see, at this point in my life, without losing quality of care. Going beyond my magic number creates a fast food assembly line aspect that requires a very similar treatment each time. Some practitioners, such as Miriam Lee, swear by using the same few points over and over again. I, on the other hand, do not find that to be specifically helpful to the various patterns of disease I am seeing. So what to do?

My magic number does tend to fluctuate depending on the day of the week (for example later in the week I have begun to tax my energy reserves), how many new patients I am seeing, which clinic I am working in, how complicated the cases are, do I need to constantly reassess in great detail or is it a repeat treatment case, am I adding in more than needles, and so on. Plus, treating nearly 20 patients a day, six days a week is a new phenomenon for me. So far I have seen more patients in 2 weeks than I had in one quarter at OCOM (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)! I am humbled and amazed at the skills I seemed to have acquired along the way in order to treat in such a fashion (and make people happy with my care)!

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer NepalSomething else I have noticed is the patients expectations are more realistic here than in the west. Back home people want miraculous results after one treatment and do not want to come back multiple times in a week. Sometimes this is due to cost, other times it is due to time availability. Here they come multiple times a week, walking great distances, and get results very quickly, even though they have limited opportunities to change their daily habits, or take herbal medicines long term. I am yet again astonished by the dedication the Nepali people have to their own, and their families, healthcare. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the story of trying other forms of medicine and pills, but not getting results, it being too expensive or difficult to understand, then coming for acupuncture and end up feeling heard and healed! My heart swells to know they have found one part of the puzzle, and that I have the honor to help!

I have also witnessed the community style offering a chance for social healing. People from different castes, age groups, and language dialects  all sit around together, talking, making jokes, helping the doctors or each other’s children, all the while with needles sticking out of various parts of their body. This type of medicine is invaluable to care! However with any great thing there will be difficulties.

Earlier this week, a man came in to the clinic to get help for his family. There were a few things going on and while I consulted with him it became clear that he was looking for acupuncture to help his mother come back from Alzheimer’s. While I have been in many end stage situations, including suicide, I have never had to tell a patient (in this case the son of someone) that acupuncture could not make them better. I explained that acupuncture could offer relief of some symptoms and medication side effects, but not reverse this particular condition. The man looked lost and turned to one of my colleagues for a different answer or confirmation to my words. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes delivering the news , while also feeling frustrated I could not follow through with the conversation. I had to leave him in the care of another due to the three patients I had upstairs with needles in for Bells Palsy. Thankfully, my fellow colleague, Jessica Maynard, had the afternoon off and was able to visit the family and explain the situation with greater care.

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer Nepal

It was in this moment that I suddenly felt the weight of being a doctor and primary care physician. People come to us with their health and trust that we can help them, or at the very least inform them of what is happening and offer some suggestions. Back home this responsibility is neither required of us or given to us, and when opportunity presents itself we rarely take it on due to liability, or scope of practice. Yet, we pierce their skin with needles, manipulate muscles, joints, qi and blood with massage, cupping, or gua sha, and give them internal medicines with light, severe, or no side-effects, all which should be followed up with adequate care. On top of this, they get miraculous results for diseases they were told had little to no cure! It is because of my trip here that I feel very strongly that we Chinese medicine practitioners should be considered doctors and primary care physicians throughout the world. Not just because our medicine deserves this respect and recognition, but because our patients deserve the same respect, trust and care they give us with their permission to treat.

Seven Crow | Acupuncture Volunteer NepalWhile I had come to this decision living in the United States, it is here in Nepal, where my knowledge, wisdom, skills, and compassion has been tested, and what we do reveals just how effective these intricate (and yet simple) techniques can create a better quality of life. Being depended on as the go-to care because other avenues have failed to provide adequate solutions, or cost-effective medicines with minimal side-effects, is not a burden, rather a great honor. It is not that Chinese medicine is just cheap, therefore making it effective (although that does contribute to the answer), but rather it works with the individual body to create homeostasis and health for that person. While some people may present with the same pathology, they do not necessarily share the same symptoms 100% due to underlying conditions or constitutions. Treating here has taught me these skills more than 4 years of education; however the chance to study the medicine in the first place, and pass it on, leaves me with an extreme sense of gratitude.

On a lighter note, the same day I was met with the reality of having to deliver bad news from time to time, a woman patient of mine came back to tell me with glowing, shen filled eyes that she was healed and could now travel back to her village. She bowed several times, saying “Namaste” over and over, and then handed me a bag of fresh fruit as a parting thank you gift. Nothing could have pleased me more. She felt remarkably better, and completely empowered, to tell me she felt our healing sessions had come to an end. That simple exchange reminded me why I became a “doctor”, and instilled in me a profound thankfulness for all that I learn from my patients. As one patient said to me “you do what you do, I do what I do, but we both make the world go round”. Truth to that! --- Seven Crow

More Articles

  • Tamang


    She sat there like a queen, or a dictator, regally poised in a red plastic chair, her gold-tasseled nose ring eclipsed by her broad nose. Faded tattoos traced the corners

    Read More
  • The Best Medicine of All

    The Best Medicine of All

    I’m totally overdressed, now sweating in my puffy jacket that only a few hours ago seemed totally adequate to stave off the morning frost. The Nepali middle hills tower and

    Read More
  • My Home Away From Home

    My Home Away From Home

    After living in Bajrabahari at the Acupuncture Relief Project headquarters for 3-1/2 months it has become my home. As I think about my “other home” in Portland Oregon it seems

    Read More
  • This Is A Place I Call “Home”

    This Is A Place I Call “Home”

    Sitting in front a window at the Roadhouse in Thamel, realizing I’ll be leaving Nepal in less than 8 hours, feel like unreal. There is a strong voice inside me

    Read More
  • Heart Wrenching at Times and Exhausting at Others

    Heart Wrenching at Times and Exhausting at Others

    It has been a month now I have been living in Bajrabarahi, Nepal and I am in a nice groove. I am consistently seeing around 15-20 patients a day in

    Read More
  • Walkabouts in Nepal’s Agricultural Nirvana

    Walkabouts in Nepal’s Agricultural Nirvana

    As an American Acupuncture volunteer for Acupuncture Relief Project (ARP) in Nepal, I stepped into an eastern culture that is a distant shadow of my own, regarding the traditional farming

    Read More
  • The Work of Farming

    The Work of Farming

    I’ve been moving around for awhile, but for most of my life I lived in one place. There is much to be said about having roots and feeling at home.

    Read More
  • Everyday Acupuncture Podcast

    Everyday Acupuncture Podcast

    Here in the west we are used to seeing acupuncture clinics in an urban setting, and it is often sought as an adjunctive therapy used in combination with other modalities.

    Read More
  • Jatra: The goddess

    Jatra: The goddess

    Patients come on a first come, first served basis, often arriving a little before 6am, slipping their appointment cards under a designated stone on the reception window sill. Many will

    Read More
  • Beyond the White Coat

    Beyond the White Coat

    When I started fundraising for this volunteer trip, many friends asked me why I chose to come to Nepal with ARP, and my simple response was, “to step out of

    Read More
  • Baskets and Knees

    Baskets and Knees

    In the foothills of the Himalayas, Bhajra Barahi is made up of steep hills, the slopes of which have been terraced for farming. These plots of rice, cauliflower, mustard, squash,

    Read More
  • A Day in Bajrabarahi: Where There are No Doctors

    A Day in Bajrabarahi: Where There are No Doctors

    When we open the clinic doors at 8:30, there are usually already a handful of patients waiting outside in the crisp morning air. Patients arrive throughout the day. There are

    Read More
  • Ten Years in Nepal: A Tale of Three Brothers

    Ten Years in Nepal: A Tale of Three Brothers

    The day started like most days, a brisk late-autumn morning with a light frost on the ground and clear blue skies. A breakfast of churra (beaten dried rice), chickpeas and

    Read More
  • Death


    Today's topic: Death! (the author does not pick blog topics; the blog topics choose him) I began thinking about this after hearing that one of our ARP staff members, Tsering,

    Read More
  • Together We Drink Tea

    Together We Drink Tea

    The morning sunlight, through a gap in my curtain reaches onto my bed and teases my skin. I look outside the window to see beautiful blue sky above our mountain

    Read More
  • I love food

    I love food

    Fun fact, my body is 85% digestive tract with the rest being sensory and motor structures that assist me in attaining more food. My genetics are closely related to a

    Read More
  • Return to Baseline

    Return to Baseline

    As part of our long term goals in Nepal, it is our aspiration to train several Nepali born practitioners to serve in our clinics. We have partnered with a small

    Read More
  • Today, I am very happy.

    Today, I am very happy.

    After clinic one day I had the opportunity to experience a wonderful delve into the down country culture of the local folks I've befriended over the last couple weeks. Gunaraj,

    Read More
  • My Bone Problem

    My Bone Problem

    Today I fitted my elderly patient with her (hopefully) semi-permanent shoulder cast. This woman came into the clinic a few weeks ago. I remember treating her knee pain and when

    Read More
  • Worth it

    Worth it

    Having lived my whole life in a developed country, with most of my needs magically looked after for me, it was a cultural shock to see the many inadequacies the

    Read More
  • More than just acupuncture

    More than just acupuncture

    In Bimphedi, a small remote village in the hills south of Katmandu where the acupuncture relief project has a clinic there is also an orphanage. The children that are there

    Read More
  • Trust The Process

    Trust The Process

    It’s been one week in Nepal and 3 days of clinic in Bajra Baraji. I’ve gone through so many emotions and learned so much about practicing primary care in a

    Read More
  • Bookends


    At the beginning of my service with Camp B at Bajra Bahari, my first patient is a 70 year old male with right-side hemiplegia resulting from a stroke. I look

    Read More
  • The Magic of Determination

    The Magic of Determination

    I meet Buddhi for the first time at the end of the second last week of the camp. He had a stroke 5 years ago which affected the mobility of

    Read More
  • Groundlessness


    Nepal for me was a practice in being comfortable with the feeling of groundlessness. Have you ever been on a suspension bridge? Nepal I came to learn, is full of

    Read More
  • Birth


    There was definitely a special something in the air that Saturday night. We had just had a fantastic day off from clinic visiting the home of one of our rock

    Read More
  • Two Realities

    Two Realities

    Has anyone ever seen the movie, or read the book The Hunger Games? I know it is a teen drama but I am not sorry to say I have done

    Read More
  • Compassion is the Communication

    Compassion is the Communication

    I come from a large Russian Orthodox family and an even larger community. I spent my childhood wondering what any limits might be. What would that look like, where would

    Read More
  • My Nepal Experience

    My Nepal Experience

    Nepal and people who live in this country, the Nepalese; where do I begin? It was sensory overload the moment our flight landed in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.

    Read More
  • Avoiding the Finish Line

    Avoiding the Finish Line

    Upon arrival to the ARP Clinic in Bajra Barahi, nestled amongst the peaceful tree covered hills in the countryside of Nepal, I sensed a note of an “uh-oh, what have

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

News Archive

(2 articles)

(8 articles)

(15 articles)

(16 articles)

(11 articles)

(12 articles)

(13 articles)

(14 articles)

(10 articles)

(8 articles)

(15 articles)

(9 articles)

Latest Instagram

Follow Us on Facebook

Your Donations Help

In addition to volunteering their time and energy, our practitioners are required to raise the money it takes to support their efforts at our clinic. Please consider helping them by making a tax deductible donation in their name.


Support our work

Donate Volunteer Get in Touch

Support Us