Acupuncture Ambassadors (ACUAMB) is an idea that has been brewing in me for almost 10 years. As acupuncture is a second career (I was in television and animation production for a number of years), I wanted this new work to be about service. Early on I was inspired by a French/ Swiss group called Acupuncture Without Borders. (http://www.cornelius-celsus.ch/en/5_0_human/cont_5_0.html) Their mission laid the groundwork for our work as Acupuncture Ambassadors.
Doing this work for the last few years has convinced me of the importance of the teaching aspect of our mission and to take steps to create trainings and potentially schools of Acupuncture and Asian Medicine globally. There are so many places where acupuncture may be unknown but much needed. By not only treating patients but passing on the knowledge, the tremendous potential of the medicine of acupuncture can truly be manifested.
Acupuncture and Traditional Asian medicine have its roots in rural community medicine. It is an important part of treating people with acute and chronic illness but also as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is also an effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD and boosts immunity in immune compromised patients. These are worldwide health issues and we have the medicine to make a difference. Treating patients with emotional issues has been the focus of my acupuncture practice in New York as I had experienced PTSD firsthand when I was close to the events of 911. It was acupuncture that helped me heal. This is not only the mission of ACUAMB but also my personal mission to do this work full time.
Taking our skills in Asian Medicine on the road is not a new idea. There have been acupuncturists who have done this work for more than 20 years. Today there are number of traveling acupuncturists and Asian medicine practitioners, wonderful individuals and organizations who are doing similar work and ACUAMB is proud to be part of this great effort. Although most organizations treat patients, Acupuncture Ambassadors not only treats but works to create training opportunities in acupuncture for individuals with or without previous medical training.
2008- 2010 activities / 2011 projects.
In 2008 we traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia with NADA Vietnam / NADA Cambodia, (http://nadavietnamcambodia.ning.com) a group of acupuncturists, massage therapists and lay volunteers. We treated many patients during our three weeks stay. We had the great opportunity to work with acupuncturists in Vietnam who guided us to Buddhist monasteries where so much of healthcare takes place in rural areas. We also taught a group of 70 blind massage therapists the simple but powerful NADA 5 needle ear acupuncture treatment that works for pain, PTSD and addictions. The blind community was very receptive to the addition of new ways to treat patients. There have been follow-up missions since and I have been told that the majority of our students are doing well and helping so many.
In Cambodia, where there isn’t a tradition of acupuncture, we were able to introduce the healing aspects of this medicine. Cambodia has so many people who suffer from PTSD from the war and unrest that ended about 12 years ago. They were especially interested in the treatments for PTSD and drug addiction which is also a serious problem.
Navajo Native American Reservation, Northern Arizona
I myself traveled to Arizona in November 2009 where I joined the Global Alternative Health Project (GAHP) (www.youcanchangetheworldnow.com/) helping treat Native American patients on the Navajo reservation. So many patients were successfully treated and there was a sincere appreciation for the help and the medicine among the Native Americans. It was a profound experience.
In February 2010 ACUAMB set up an acupuncture camp at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. It was tremendous success as we treated hundreds of patients from the Buddhist as well as the local community. Many nuns and monks were very interested in the medicine and potential training in acupuncture. It is our hope that they will receive basic training ACUAMB in the near future.
One of the most moving experiences we had was the opportunity to treat a group of orphans from a home for conflict children. Nepal is still recovering from a devastating civil war, which left many homeless families and orphan children. Many of these children are suffering from PTSD with symptoms of nightmares, stomach pain and headaches. Although we were there for a short time the acupuncture treatments were welcome and very effective. The children are sleeping through the night and their other symptoms were put at bay at least for a while.
Senegal West Africa
Acupuncture Ambassadors has just returned from a mission in Senegal, West Africa. We joined with The African Organization for Academic and Athletic Development (www.progress4africa.org). Senegal is wonderful place but very poor. We traveled with American MDs/ surgeons and medical students and worked in two regional hospitals performing operations on patients that would not be able to afford these procedures without their help. ACUAMB worked in the rehabilitation centers in these hospitals. Although the rehab staff are lovely and caring people, the physical rehab centers in Senegal are poor with little modern equipment and techniques. Acupuncture was welcome by all the staff and patients and we have been encouraged to return and find ways to train staff in acupuncture basics for pain, stroke and wellness. We also treated the staff at the local orphanage who were in dire need of pain relief and emotional trauma from their daily efforts of taking care of almost 100 children under the age of five. A basketball camp for hundreds of children was run by our host group sending messages for good health, exercise and further education. Donated modern wheelchairs were delivered to many of Senegal’s handicapped to give them more independence.
Our October 2010 trip to Nepal was as usual an amazing experience but this particular time was eye opening in so many ways. We have learned that as an international organization we need to be able to adapt to change quickly and still adhere to our mission goals.
We made incredible connections with the local acupuncture community through the Acupuncture, Acupressure and Moxabustion Association of Nepal (AAMAN) They have about 70 members in Kathmandu and outlying areas. The association has a deep connection to the non-governmental Nepal Red Cross and is an outgrowth of a local acupuncture school the Oriental Training and Treatment Center (OTTC). It was founded by Hata-Sensei, a Japanese acupuncturist who has been working in Nepal since 1993. She is a force for so much good not only training acupuncturists but running a low cost clinic and local moxa factory employing 200 workers.
We taught a workshop on PTSD and pain protocols for 40 acupuncturists, psychologists, naturopaths, homeopaths, Tibetan medicine doctors and social workers sponsored by AAMAN. The workshop as very well received. Our new colleagues were very supportive of the goals of Acupuncture Ambassadors and we will work with them to create workshops, training programs, clinics and acupuncture camps in the near future.
Healing Collaborations and Hospital Affiliations
We also made a great connection with Pradip Sapkota is an orthopedic surgeon who works in a three local hospitals. He also participates in medical camps throughout Nepal and for years dedicated to work with the leprosy community. They are in desperate need of pain and depression relief. We are working with Pradip to move ACUAMB training and treating programs into these hospitals.
We traveled back to Nepal in March to work at a 6 day free acupuncture camp along with local practitioners. 875 treatments were given in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kathmandu. We also treated residents at a local drug rehabilitation center. We gave a lecture at a prestigious medical college and teaching hospital on Acupuncture and PTSD. It was so well received that ACUAMB is now in talks with them to create an acupuncture clinic unit, acupuncture training certificate program for health professionals and a masters degree acupuncture program for non-medical professionals. The purpose for this endeavor is to begin to integrate traditional medicines like acupuncture into an established medical setting and ultimately create Nepal’s first integrative medicine college program and facilities.
In September 2011 we will be working with a social worker / counselor in Jordan. She has much experience in the area of psychological aid for refugees from all over the Middle East. Together we will facilitate trainings in acupuncture protocols for PTSD and set up a permanent clinic to treat refugees as well as the local Amman community.
We have a number of projects on the table for the future and if anyone is moved to help develop any or all of them please contact us. We would be grateful for the support.
Refugee Clinics and Training Proposal
As the treatment of refugees is a major focal point for ACUAMB, we have a proposal to medical NGOs, international health organizations, corporations and philanthropic individuals to establish acupuncture clinics and training programs for PTSD treatment in refugee camps. In achieving this goal, high level funding is needed. ACUAMB wishes to partner with the above who may recognize the potential of this work. Please feel free to make comments and suggestions about how to move the proposal forward. (ATTACH A PDF COPY OF THE PROPOSAL)
Sister School Project
Along with our Acupuncture Technician Basic Training Certification Course, Acupuncture Ambassadors is diligently working on creating the sustainable model for an master’s program acupuncture school in Nepal, we are looking for a partner relationship for this model school. I encourage acupuncture and Asian medical schools around the world to consider becoming a sister school. Please forward this information to as many international school deans, directors, teaching and clinical staff and alumni to see if we together can help make the Nepal school become a reality.
Library for Model School
As we continue to hone our plans for the creation of sustainable clinics and schools of Acupuncture worldwide, we have begun to collect books on western and Asian medicine for our library system. We wish our schools to be world class facilities and by your book donations these school libraries can certainly reach this goal. All tax deductible book donations can be sent to:
Anthony M. Giovanniello
110-64 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Global Volunteer Acupuncture Clinic Support
ACUAMB has been connecting with a number of volunteer clinics all over Asia that have acupuncture as an integral part of their patient treatments. The issue of supplies of needles and other associated products (cotton balls, purple cloud burn cream, pure moxa etc.) is a great one. For example, two monks trained in acupuncture at the clinic in the Namo Buddha Monastery, Nepal treat 150 patients a week but often run out of needles. They have to close their doors until they receive more.
The Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), founded and directed by Dr. Cynthia Maung, provides free health care, including acupuncture, for refugees, migrant workers, and other individuals who cross the border from Burma to Thailand. People of all ethnicities and religions are welcome at the Clinic. They are always in need of supplies and volunteers to treat the multitudes of refugees and local patients.
Even the people who we train with the PTSD and pain protocols need an ongoing supply of ear press needles and ear seeds. These supplies are difficult to obtain in Nepal and elsewhere. We are in discussions with an Indian Acupuncturist who trains people in needle making. There is great potential to create a cottage industry of making needles and ear seeds near or onsite of clinics. In the meantime, any individuals or manufacturers out there who wish to help please contact us.
Acupuncture and Humanitarian Aid Conference
A collaboration with the German group TCM - Social Forum and the Indian Barefoot Acupuncturists has led to the planning of an international conference for Acupuncture and Humanitarian Aid sometime in Autumn 2012. There are so many groups and individuals who have a similar mission and doing fantastic work but we don't really talk to each other. We feel there is a great need to meet, share experiences, resources and find our commonality. We are planning the conference to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal. In the meantime if you would like to be involved in an ongoing dialogue about Humanitarian Acupuncture our strategic partners are forming a community to create outlets for discussion. A questionnaire is available to fill out so we can better understand the needs of such a community and how we can best organize the forum. (Please find Questionnaire PDF attached) I encourage any one who wishes to get involved in the planning and execution of the conference plan or to join the community to send the questionnaire to Acupuncture Ambassadors.
Documentary Television Series as Fundraiser
As a fundraiser and an unique vehicle to bring the efforts of volunteer acupuncture more in the public view, ACUAMB is developing a documentary style television series following Asian medicine practitioners on the road. Its working title is From Point To Point: On The Road with Modern Barefoot Doctors. An accompanying book on the series is planned. If you know of documentary and television production companies that may be interested, a TV treatment is available and can be emailed to interested parties.
Develop outreach to international institutions such as the U.N., WHO etc.
Taking into consideration the WHO Declaration on Traditional Medicine (see website below), how can Acupuncture Ambassadors make in-roads into the U.N., WHO, governments and international NGO’s for the development of Humanitarian Acupuncture as a resource for healthcare globally? Can Acupuncture Ambassadors work together with a “Doctors Without Borders-type of health care organization”? We believe that this is a goal that has much promise and achievable.
If you have suggestions and / or connections into some of the organizations, we would be grateful. Please contact us.
Develop a "Kiva-style" micro-loan institution approach for financing start-up acupuncture clinics and schools at mission sites worldwide.
The global community of acupuncturists is approximately 3,000,000 and growing daily. There are so many thousands of other related organizations i.e. schools, associations, manufacturers etc, on almost every continent. The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine community alone can be a vital resource in the financing of low cost, sustainable acupuncture clinics, training centers and schools worldwide. If you have “Kiva” experience and wish to help us develop this idea please connect with us.
Acupuncture Ambassadors International Chapters
With the help of our new friends at the Acupuncture, Acupressure, Moxabustion Association of Nepal, Acupuncture Ambassadors will have a chapter in Nepal as we have already begun to establish ourselves as a viable entity there. We are also in discussion for chapters in Spain, Japan and Amman, Jordan at present. Exciting and potentially vital outposts for this work. If you have interest in developing a chapter in your State or home country please contact us.
Acupuncture Ambassadors seeks not only individual and organizational collaborators but also corporate sponsorships. Sponsorship can be in the form of endowments and donations for funding the planning, organizing, and execution of missions throughout the world.
An innovative idea is to create corporate sponsorship of individual projects such as free acupuncture health camps and ongoing sustainable permanent clinics. For example: “The Serin Community Acupuncture Clinic of Kathmandu”, “The Nike Community Acupuncture Clinic of Siem Reap, Cambodia” or “The Gates Foundation Acupuncture Clinic of Ho Chi Min City”. These kind of ongoing sponsorship commitments can not only serve so many people but add to a corporations standing in the eyes of the sponsored projects host country and the world.
If you or your corporation wishes to participate in sponsoring an individual project please contact us.
AMG Foundation is the corporate entity of Acupuncture Ambassadors and is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all contributions are tax deductible.
All check contributions can be made out to AMG Foundation
Anthony M. Giovanniello
110-64 Queens Blvd. # 236
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Thank you for your continued support of Asian Medicine worldwide and Acupuncture Ambassadors.
With sincere regards,
Anthony M. Giovanniello, MS.Ac., L.Ac.