September 1, 2005

Acupuncturists Without Borders: Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Update

By Editorial Staff

Acupuncture Today has received an update from Acupuncturists Without Borders on their efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The update, from Diana Fried, is printed below in its entirety.

Acupuncturists Without Borders Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort

A team of acupuncturists from around the country is organizing a program to help those suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

 This group is devoted to using acupuncture and the protocol developed by NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) that is a proven and powerful method for treating trauma.

Once people have food, water and shelter, it is of utmost importance to support the healing process from this extraordinary trauma. As posttraumatic stress starts to set in, the effects of this condition on top of the original trauma can be devastating.

The method of community-style acupuncture that we use is well-suited to conditions faced in a disaster. We can set up our treatments almost anywhere and we can treat large groups of people at once. Our treatments last from 30-60 minutes and people receive treatment sitting in a chair fully clothed (needles primarily go on the ears). This is an effective way to help people facing enormous stress, anger, frustration, depression, fatigue and other emotional and physical pain.

The therapeutic effects happen quickly and can last a long time. Bessel van der Kolk, renowned trauma expert, has shown that the emotional overload of traumatic experience can cause a blocking of verbal access and ability. These treatments can have a transformative effect without requiring the traumatized client to talk. They can be in an extreme state of dissociation and still benefit.

Those who resist traditional treatment for acute stress disorder may be willing to have acupuncture. Done in groups, community-style acupuncture can help break the isolation often felt after traumatic events. Treatments support rebuilding strength and resiliency, essential for the recovery process. These treatments have a calming effect and help those struggling with anger, hostility and frustration.

We are committed to helping the service workers including police, search and rescue volunteers, Red Cross volunteers, medical personnel and, of course, evacuees. Our treatments will be free and available to all who need them. The actual cost (needles, staff, facilities) of these treatments is low compared to other medical treatments.

During the month of September we will be raising funds, organizing logistics and putting together teams of acupuncturists to go to disaster areas and evacuee locations. We will implement the program on the ground as soon as feasible.

We are receiving a tremendous response from acupuncturists from around the country who want to help. We are receiving donations from individuals, Acupuncture College Clinics and Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine organizations, and many others.  But, we still have great financial need.

Donation Checks Should Be Made Out to:

Elk Mountain Healing Center - AWB Katrina Project
c/o Laura Cooley
22 Forrest Tallman
Orford, NH 03777

Our sincere thanks go to NADA and the AOMAlliance for stepping in from the very start and working with us to collect donations. Others are collecting donations as well, and we are grateful for their efforts.

Acupuncturists Without Borders

Diana Fried (Director) Diplomate in Acupuncture (NCCAOM), has many years of experience and training in emotional/trauma healing work, along with years of work in international grassroots community development (Oxfam America), including travel and work in Central America and Africa.  She graduated from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (1999), and is trained in acupuncture detox work by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). Certified qigong instructor, writer and media consultant.

Cynthia Neipris (Organizational Liaison) is licensed as an acupuncturist in New York and California, with certification from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association as an acu detox specialist.  She is the Outreach and Community Education Coordinator for the New York campus of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She previously served as Assistant Academic Dean at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  

Nityamo Lian (Program Assessment Director) is nationally certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is licensed as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine in New Mexico. She has provided acupuncture detox services for the past four years at Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless and worked on NM legislation for acupuncture Detox. She works in acupuncture research and recently completed a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder study funded by NIH. She is currently working on a study looking at acupuncture effects on anxiety in women with breast cancer. She previously ran a low-income pain clinic for mainly Vietnamese refugees.

Advisory Committee

Wendy Henry is a co-founder of the group CRREW (Community Relief & Rebuilding through Education and Wellness). CRREW was formed in the aftermath of 9-11-2001. CRREW offers primarily ear acupuncture and other 'wellness' education to search and rescue workers and others directly affected by the events. CRREW has offered workshops and direct services to various groups of the Red Cross 9/11 Recovery program. In addition CRREW reaches out to other community-based groups primarily in the NYC area.

Wendy is a graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and a licensed acupuncturist in New York. She works for the Fire Department of New York in addition to her private practice.

Laura Cooley is a licensed acupuncturist and Registered National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) Trainer. She is nationally certified and holds licenses in Vermont and Texas. Laura served as Volunteer Director of acupuncture services for the Austin HIV Wellness Center and for 9 years in Texas had a private practice specialized in treating those who are HIV positive and terminally ill. As a NADA Trainer, she has trained over 600 health care professionals in the use of acu detox, including American Indians on reservations. She supervises professionals and programs that use this tool in drug treatment programs, jails, hospital settings, homeless and HIV outreach programs for the purposes of drug treatment, alleviation of trauma symptoms, and stress relief.

Laura has volunteered for CRREW (Community Relief & Rebuilding through Education and Wellness). She has also worked for the New York City Firehouse Counseling Center providing ear acupuncture to firemen and their families in the aftermath of 9/11. Currently, Laura is making a video on the St Vincent's Disaster Services ear acupuncture program to document the usefulness of acupuncture in emergency/disaster situations after creating a training manual for treating trauma with ear acupuncture.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: or email Acupuncturists Without Borders at Message phone - (360) 876-4801


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