Acupuncturists Without Borders -  Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort
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Acupuncturists Without Borders Looks to Expand its Service

As you may know, Acupuncturists Without Borders has been providing hurricane relief work in the New Orleans area since October 2005. The relief work given so generously and lovingly from the AWB volunteers continues to bring hope, promise, and peace of mind to the people of New Orleans. It is almost miraculous that the 10 tiny needles placed carefully on the ears have such an enormous effect. People who can't seem to stop crying stop, at least for a while. People who have not been able to cry - cry. The balancing and centering of people's emotions and mental activity is so powerful. Rich or poor, health care giver or receiver, black, white, Latino, Vietnamese, every person receiving treatment experiences a degree of relief that is unexpected and sometimes difficult to articulate. The more treatments received, the greater the benefit as each treatment builds on the healing effects of the last one.

As one acupuncture recipient stated, "Acupuncture's all natural healing method is great. The majority of our staff have never experienced it before and were greatly thrilled and relaxed at the end of the session. They experienced a pleasant feeling of relaxation, increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep as well as an enhanced feeling of overall wellbeing." Ali Hussein, Special Projects, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. This is one of many testimonials received by AWB from the thousands of people touched by their service.

With the experience and expertise of bringing community style acupuncture to the people of Louisiana, AWB is looking forward to taking its service to a different population, U.S. Veterans. Still in the planning stages, the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project is being designed to provide free acupuncture treatments for veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. Additionally, veterans from all other past conflicts or wars will be invited to receive treatments. The treatments will also be available to the veterans' family members.

Currently, a pilot program for the Veterans Project is underway in Albuquerque, NM. As in Louisiana, treatments are based on the NADA ear protocol which has proven to be extremely powerful in alleviating symptoms of acute stress and trauma. During treatment, people sit fully clothed in a circle of chairs, and the volunteer places 5 tiny needles on each ear. The recipients are invited to close their eyes and rest for 30-45 minutes, allowing the acupuncture to gently rebalance the body's energy. Treating in a group has an amazing way of enhancing the effect of the treatment as everyone experiences a healthy, positive energetic shift. Group treatment creates a sense of community and commonality, aiding in additional psychological healing.

Albuquerque veterans are experiencing benefits such as a full night's sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Some are reporting temporary reduction in pain from headaches or sciatica. A woman of some 70 years in age reported a week after her first treatment, "I woke up the following morning and when I looked in the mirror I looked the way I used to look." Her eyes gleamed with appreciation. Her husband, a veteran from WWII, also smiles with gratitude as he offers a hug to the practitioner at the end of his treatment. As the pilot program in Albuquerque is evaluated, AWB will be able to determine the plan for rolling the project out across the country in 2007.

The potential of this program is enormous. History has painted a less than pretty picture as we see so many veterans still living with the horrors of the war experience. In many cities, the greater percentage of the homeless population consists of Vietnam vets. By providing free acupuncture treatments to veterans currently returning from war, we can play a part in preventing history from repeating itself, and by providing treatments to veterans from past wars and conflicts, we can be a part in helping mend the psychological wounds of the past.

Historically it has been very difficult, if not impossible, to provide timely and cost effective treatment to the large numbers of people who could benefit from such intervention. The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a simple, low-cost modality offering immediate, effective, and easily accessible treatment for large numbers of people, easily adaptable for administration under a wide array of circumstances. Acupuncture is a tool that can work harmoniously with other more conventional treatment modalities such as counseling and medication.

To make it possible for Acupuncturists Without Borders to reach veterans all over the country they must first raise the funds necessary for supplies, printing costs for needed documentation and publicity of the free clinics, training of the volunteers across the country, and administrative costs incurred in organizing this enormous volunteer effort.

Won't you consider making a financial contribution to help AWB support this important work? This organization is already making a difference, but with your help, we can reach so many more people. Please consider supporting Acupuncturists Without Borders in any way you can.

Financial donations can be made by check to Acupuncturists Without Borders, 37 Kelly Lynn Drive, Sandia Park, NM 87047, or visit the AWB web site, www.acuwithoutborders.org to donate on-line. To volunteer for the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project, or to request specific information on this project e-mail veterans@acuwithoutborders.org

For more information, contact Acupuncturists Without Borders via e-mail at info@acuwithoutborders.org or by phone at 505-991-0112.

Susan Pollard, D.O.M.

Albuquerque, NM

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