News Blog

 Latest News From Our Volunteers 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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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.

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Episode 2
Integrated Medicine

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 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.

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Episode 4
Case Management

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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From Our Blog

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Emma Ellsworth

In my first week with Acupuncture Relief Project, a grandmother came to the clinic complaining of abdominal pain. She had eaten some bad buffalo meat and was now suffering from diarrhea and cramping.  Despite her discomfort, she had a face that seemed made for smiling. As we discussed her pain, her face broke into a huge goofy grin, perhaps made goofier by the mere four teeth that comprised it. Her eyes twinkled and searched my face as she spoke.  I took her vitals, felt her abdomen, gave her advice and treatment. The next time I saw her, she said her diarrhea had ceased and she had returned with a new complaint. As I evaluated her for this new pain, she looked at me and smiled her big goofy smile. She said “You really Love me. You Love me like my mother Loves me.” I was a little bit blown a way and admittedly, tears came to my eyes. My first thought: has no one loved you since your mother? Surely if someone had, you would have referenced that Love, being that you are so far in time from your mother’s Love.  My second thought was no, “Love” is too strong a word; I “care” for you as any good practitioner would.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Emma Ellsworth

But over the course of the camp, I heard many of my patients use the same words to describe my care. “You must Love me.” “You are like my daughter.” I started to consider the word “Love”. In western culture, we put a lot of weight on the word “Love”.  Love is how we feel about those closest to us: family, close friends, significant others. In relationships, there seems to be a proper amount of time that must be observed before the word “Love” can be introduced. Do I Love him? Should I tell her? If I say it too soon, will he be spooked and run away? How can I be sure if it’s Love or just infatuation?  Some people cannot even tell their own family members that they love them- it’s just too uncomfortable to use the word. When did “Love” become “Voldemort”? Even I, who routinely tells my friends how much I love them, recoiled when this patient used the “L” word. If she thought about “Love” how we think about it in the west, surely she would have referenced a romantic Love rather than motherly Love. A mother’s Love is the purest Love of all. Using this in reference to care from a stranger seems inaccurate.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Emma Ellsworth

The more I heard this word thrown around like it should be and the more I treated the beautiful people of Nepal, the more I decided to adjust my relationship with the word.  Love should not be put in a box and reserved for special occasions. Love should be displayed as frequently as humanly possible. It’s meaning can never be desensitized. 

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Emma Ellsworth

Every time you listen to someone with your whole heart, or try very hard to take their pain away (even if you don’t succeed) or give your time to someone who you know won’t give time to themselves; this is Love. Yes, I did and do Love my patients. I Loved them the second they walked into my clinic. They don’t need to be my blood family or my close friends or my significant other to give them Love. After this experience, I don’t know how to treat people without acknowledging that what I’m doing is Love. --- Emma Ellsworth


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Our Mission

Acupuncture Relief Project, Inc. is a volunteer-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Tax ID: 26-3335265). Our mission is to provide free medical support to those affected by poverty, conflict or disaster while offering an educationally meaningful experience to influence the professional development and personal growth of compassionate medical practitioners.

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