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 | Kara Saltz
Our patients loved soaking up the rays with treatments on sunny days.

I cannot imagine having started my career as an acupuncturist in any way other than climbing on a plane and venturing to volunteer in Nepal. My time at the Bajrabarahi clinic was full of unexpected friends, learning a lot about myself, and deepening my relationship to my practice. It had been a difficult decision to leave my partner, pets, and friends, to put off my new job for 2 months, to do something so outside of my comfort zone. But I’d been dreaming of this for 4 years, it felt like something I had to experience, to do. I had traveled alone plenty, but never outside of North America. Now I was venturing into a culture so different from my own and practicing a medicine new to me, in a language I didn’t know. It was daunting. The responsibility of being a primary care physician felt heavy. When I left, I was giddy, unsure of myself, and just curious enough to do it anyways.

Arriving in Kathmandu was full of pure joy to explore a new place. I was driven to learn as much Nepali as possible so I could learn more about the people I met along the way! The trip to the clinic was gorgeous and full of anticipation. What was this clinic in rural Nepal going to be like? Was I going to be able to help in a meaningful way? Would I be able to keep up with the clinic flow? The short answer was yes. Everyone at ARP made this whole experience so smooth and comfortable. Sushila, Satya, Sanita, and Bex were so helpful and willing to discuss cases. They taught me a lot along the way, like how to take blood sugar. And they offered advice on things like where to refer out and what options were available for one of our patients who was at risk for DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
Arriving in Bajrabarahi, we had no idea how much of a family our coworkers would become.

During my time in Nepal, I was able to see the same number of patients through ARP as I’d gotten to treat throughout my entire last year of internship in the states. We had patients of all ages and casts at the clinic, which allowed me to discover how much I love working with kids! Through being able to experiment with several styles of acupuncture and having access to the treatment histories of each of my patients, I come to believe the type of acupuncture isn’t nearly as important as the frequency of care in determining patient outcomes. Working to find the most appropriate mode of treatment for each patient, taught me how much I enjoy having an array of skills in my toolbox, so each treatment can be tailored to individual needs.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
One of our younger patients who came in often for the treatment of weakness in his left hand.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
Srias and Bonita loved making paper mache butterflies and practicing our English and Nepali together.

Through this project I became friends with some truly amazing humans. Ten-year-old Srias became one of my best friends, quickly bonding over badminton, soccer, and rock-paper-scissors. He and his mother would often join us for weekend morning hikes, and we would get to spend holiday celebrations with some of our clinic family. The other volunteers, medical assistants and interpreters, cleaning and cooking staff, and acupuncturist supervisors were also fast friends. We would find ourselves sharing stories and laughing throughout the day as we worked together, playing cards after clinic, and joining one another for evening walks through the village.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
A village man showed us how he makes baskets.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
We were able to test our patients’ loads on our weekend walk through the village.

Everyone we met was incredibly kind. The community I found in Bajra was welcoming, trusting, and we were incredibly curious and excited to get to learn more about one another. Even the policemen were happy to have us join for their evening badminton, and I managed to challenge some team members to a couple of games as well.  On some of our village walks, we’d see patients working, carrying baskets on their heads (often coming in for neck or knee and back pain), or tending to their farms and offering us fresh vegetables. Some were only sitting out on the front stoops of their homes and enjoying the day. It was heartwarming to see everyone in their daily lives and to get to chat on a more relaxed level. Almost everyone we passed offered gestures of namaste, some also offering to share tea with us. How different would our lives in America be if we took the time to slow down and just watch the day happening around us, or if we took the time to share tea with our neighbors amidst all we have going on?

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
A friend, patient, and mother of our co-worker invited us into her home for tea.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
On our village walks we would pass kids playing, some of them following us along and wanting to be the subject of our photos.

Being in Nepal taught me what truly fills my cup, keeping me healthy and grounded so I could show up my best self to each treatment. For me this involved an occasional yoga session and heading up the hill every morning before clinic to watch the village come alive. I’d often trek up again in the evening to debrief my mind and body. Not only was this routine a bit of much needed exercise, but combined with the steady routine of clinic, it brought a lot of peace. The clinic dogs would commonly join, playing along the way. Watching and having them around offered such bright, simplistic moments of joy. They kept me company and filled that space of missing my dog back home.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
This was a common view as our little pack retuned to clinic after an evening jaunt.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
Anxiously awaiting the first appointments of the day, our patients sat under this community gazebo most mornings.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
Low back and hip pain are common complaints at the clinic, as well as post stroke sequela.

Not only were our patients and the community in Bajrabarahi wonderful and welcoming, the practitioners and interpreters from ARP are absolute superheroes. They work hard, are professional and organized, and put so much care into every person they meet. It is because of them that this experience went so smoothly. It is because of them that there were so many faces sitting across from me, asking for help, and freely trusting me with their healthcare. I came away from this experience with a new sense of our world, my community, and a greater confidence in my work. Working alongside my peers, sharing our knowledge, and helping one another was an honor, and an experience I will remain incredibly grateful for years to come. ---Kara Saltz

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kara Saltz
My volunteer cohort was lucky enough to get to help with the opening of the satellite clinic in Bagmati. The level of community happening in this room was always so fun to witness and be a part of.


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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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