By Mercy Yule, LEAMP (Licensed East Asian Medicine Practitioner)
When I see the devastation of an earthquake or fire, I recall my own pain and paralysis after 9/11. I felt scared, overwhelmed and helpless, even though I was miles away. I remember not being able to attend to simple things like paying my bills or concentrate on a book.
As I came out of that fog I wanted to do something to heal the trauma, for those at the impact center, for those providing service, and for myself and community. As an acupuncturist, I can help with 5 tiny ear needles and only 45 minutes, right on location. This ear acupuncture treatment calms, soothes, and redirects nervous energy of survivors, first responders, and others feeling the reverberations of a disaster.
Training with Acupuncturists Without Borders
Earlier this month Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) provided training to licensed acupuncturists on the details of working in emergency response; thanks go to Emperor’s College for providing the training space. From their extraordinary experiences providing services after the floods in Iowa, the earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, and at military stress recovery clinics for veterans, AWB volunteers shared their knowledge in working with other agencies and explained techniques for setting up clinics to provide relief using acupuncture.
In Nepal, health care practitioners trained by AWB treated over 10,000 people, including children who were survivors of human trafficking. After the Chilean earthquake, AWB trained almost 100 acupuncturists to set up clinics in Santiago and remote areas.
Amazed by the Healing Power of Acupuncture
I have been practicing acupuncture for over ten years and am continually amazed by its healing power. Really. A patient who had been told she would never walk again danced out of my office after eight treatments. In another patient, acupuncture and herbs resolved a digestive problem in three days. This patient returned to her primary care physician and was able to avoid taking potentially liver damaging pharmaceuticals.
In drug treatment centers, I have seen how important acupuncture is to patients. Patients would show up at 6am every day for acupuncture treatments to help on their path of sobriety.
Incredible Psychological and Physiological Benefits
The impact of of the work that Acupuncturists Without Borders does is even more far reaching. Men and women who would probably not seek out acupuncture treatment at a medical office experience incredible psychological and physiological benefits at these emergency clinics.
With the AWB training I recently completed, I hope to help our service men and women who are returning home. An acupuncture treatment at a veteran stress recovery clinic can ease the difficult memories of battle and support soldiers as they reintegrate into family and community.
Everyone Can Do Something
Everyone can do something. Sometimes, non-acupuncturists can serve in a supporting role at a clinic. Or give funds for transportation of volunteers and supplies; donations are needed every time Acupuncturists Without Borders responds to a call for help.
Mercy Yule, LEAMP, is a licensed East Asian medicine practitioner from Washington State. Mercy is a graduate of Bastyr University and the Ohashi Institute.
All photos courtesy of Acupuncturists Without Borders.
acupuncture emergency clinics, acupuncture for disaster relief, acupuncture for veterans, Acupuncturists Without Borders, Emperor's College