Acupuncturists without Borders Responds to Nepal Earthquake

Photo of  William Wulsin, ND, MPH, LAcThe email arrived on April 29, 2015, amidst additional news of the 10,000-plus deaths in Nepal and the devastation at Everest base camp following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. The sender was William Wulsin, ND, MPH, LAc (pictured), a Seattle, Washington–based healthcare professional with long ties to Nepal. Besides work on international projects through his Health Development Resources consulting, Wulsin has repeatedly provided healthcare services in disaster-stricken zones: Katrina, Haiti, and the 2014 Oso mudslide in his native Washington State.  The chief therapeutic tool is five-needle ear acupuncture protocol promulgated through the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). The NADA treatment, delivered typically in groups, can support individuals amidst the overwhelming stress of such disasters. Wulsin notes that the protocol is also known to “mitigate the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” He wrote with an appeal for financial investment to back his personal investment of time to “go to Nepal in May and June to assist coordination of healthcare teams in the Kathmandu Valley and rural communities hit hardest by the earthquake.”

Logo for  Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB)Wulsin’s trip, and those of his prospective coworkers, are being arranged through the not-for-profit Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB). The organization grew out of spontaneous interests of many in service provision during the wreckage in the US state of Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. AWB teams delivered more than 8,000 treatments. Since then, AWB and its members have facilitated response teams in many other wide-scale human traumas. They’ve trained hundreds of health workers to deliver the NADA protocol. Those interested in investing financially in these services in Nepal can contribute to AWB through this link with “Nepal Earthquake Relief” in the appropriate line.

Comment: The impotence one can feel at news of sudden disaster in distant places lifted for me when this note from Wulsin, a long-time colleague, arrived. The proximity for me of a recent family trip to Peru that included a visit with a weavers’ cooperative in a town at 13,500 feet brought immediacy given the striking similarities in these high mountain cultures. My professional awareness of NADA’s good work plus personal experience of the usefulness of group acupuncture left me no question as to the utility of the services. I spoke with my spouse. We decided to make what was for us a generous investment in this global, human-to-human connection. Perhaps others of you may feel similarly and wish to invest. Here again is the link to this one global advance in health and medicine.

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