Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

When we are unable to do our basic daily activities, we may need more rest. For those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rest doesn't help. Sufferers may feel tired for more than six months and experience reduced memory, insomnia or a wide range of other symptoms, including, but not limited to, headaches, flu-like symptoms and chronic pain. Contributing factors can include severe stress or trauma, a history of infection, and exposure to toxins.

From an acupuncture and Oriental medicine perspective, CFS reflects a disharmony. When we are out of balance, we may experience digestive upset, unclear thinking, habitual fatigue, muscle weakness or discomfort, and insufficient elimination. At the University of Hong Kong, researchers included acupuncture points in a protocol for patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Patients who received acupuncture experienced less physical and mental fatigue.

Oriental medicine can help relieve many of your symptoms because it is exceptional for relieving aches and pains, helping to avoid getting sick as often, recovering more quickly, and improving vitality and stamina.

Issues Impacting Women's Health

Everyone wants to be healthy in order to enjoy a sense of well-being and have the best quality of life possible. Oriental medicine has always addressed the special needs of women throughout their lives. Women are more susceptible than men to certain health conditions, which can make it more challenging to achieve optimal health. Fortunately, many health issues women face respond extremely well to acupuncture treatments.

Several conditions that impact women more frequently than men include:

Cardiovascular Disease: As the number one threat to women's health, cardiovascular disease is not just a man's disease. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases, causing 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year. They also state that women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors, with fewer women than men surviving their first heart attack. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Depression: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that women are twice as likely to experience depression as men, and one in eight will contend with major depression during their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most commonly reported mental health problem among women.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): Four times as many women as men develop chronic fatigue syndrome.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Women are 2 to 6 times more likely to develop IBS. Acupuncture points can help relieve IBS symptoms, according to researchers from the University of York in the U.K., who found that integrating acupuncture into a treatment plan led to less severe symptoms.

Autoimmune Diseases: According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 75 percent of autoimmune diseases occur in women. As a group, these diseases make up the fourth largest cause of health-related disability among American women.

Some specific autoimmune diseases that affect women disproportionately more than men include:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Nearly half a million Americans have multiple sclerosis, and of that group two-thirds are women. According to the American Academy of Neurology, women with MS are nearly 1.5 times more likely to carry the gene associated with the disease, and are more likely to transfer the gene to female offspring.

Lupus: Ninety percent of all lupus patients are female. Lupus has no known cause. Some scientists believe it may be hereditary and caused by a combination of factors, including hormones, stress, environmental toxins, sunlight, exposure to fluorescent light, and some medications.

Celiac Disease: An autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system due to an adverse reaction to gluten, 60 to 70 percent of celiac disease patients are women.

From an acupuncture and Oriental medicine perspective, a health problem is never just in the body or in the mind. Whether an imbalance or disharmony began as a physiological or spiritual issue, ultimately, all aspects of the body are affected.

Get Seasonal Allergy Relief!

Acupuncture has been used to treat seasonal allergies for centuries with great success. According to traditional medicine, treatment is directed toward clearing the nasal passages, supporting the immune system, and strengthening the systems of the body to prevent allergic reactions from recurring.

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Commonly called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, a seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for part of the year, such as spring or fall. Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause. People who are allergic to pollens are also often sensitive to dust mites, animal dander, and molds.

Spring is traditionally the main season when allergies blossom because of new growth on trees and weeds. Fall, which ushers in a whole different set of blooming plants, as well as leaf mold, is a close second. Airborne mold spores can be found almost year round, along with other common allergens such as dust, dust mites, and animal dander.

About 26 million Americans endure chronic seasonal allergies, while the number of people with milder symptoms may be as high as 40 million, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Seasonal allergies are caused by the body's hypersensitivity to substances in the environment. Symptoms primarily involve the membrane lining the nose, causing allergic rhinitis, or the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes, causing allergic conjunctivitis.

While there are many medications to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, these treatments can cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness and immune system suppression, as well as an over-reliance on medications. These side effects have motivated many people to search for alternative approaches like acupuncture and Oriental medicine to manage their allergies.

How Acupuncture Treatments Provide Relief from Allergies

According to Oriental medicine, allergic rhinitis is related to wind and a deficiency of the protective Wei Qi. Wei Qi is the Qi, or energy, that flows at the surface of the body as a protective sheath and is responsible for resistance to colds and other respiratory infections. People with a deficiency of Wei Qi catch colds easily and are more susceptible to allergens.

When treating with acupuncture, underlying imbalances within the body are addressed and a treatment plan is developed to relieve the acute symptoms of allergic rhinitis, while also treating the root problems that are contributing to the body's reaction to allergens. Treatments often include dietary modification, the use of specifically chosen herbal formulas, and acupuncture.

Seasonal acupuncture treatments just four times a year also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems.

Alleviate Your Migraine and Headache Pain




Are you plagued by chronic headaches? More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, and 20 million of them are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches. 

The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives. Acupuncture is a widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, and it can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes, have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years. They can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine do not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, we aim to restore balance in the body and treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables. In diagnosing your individual issues, you may be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
  • When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
  • Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
  • Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?

Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation of Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced.

Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness. The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary. Some headaches, migraines, and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Overcoming Addiction with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, emotions originate internally from different organs inside the body. Conditions and events in the external world may provoke specific reactions but, ultimately, each person is responsible for the emotion generated.

Any addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, food, work, or other activity or substance, effectively blocks intelligence and suppresses healing abilities. Through these behaviors we choose to rely on the demands of addiction to dictate our lives, rather than taking responsibility to conduct ourselves in a healthy, life-affirming way.

Is there a body/mind connection to willpower? According to the principles of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, there is. The zhi represents willpower, drive, and determination. It manifests as the urge to persist in one's efforts and, when in deficiency, feelings of defeat, pessimism, and depression may occur. Without strong willpower, or zhi, one may easily succumb to the temptations of addiction.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help cleanse and re-balance your body and mind to overcome a variety of addictions, and can help manage cravings. The safe space provided during treatment is both literal and metaphorical.

Several approaches may be used when treating addictions, generally starting with therapies that help cleanse and balance. Sometimes a vague, uneasy sensation takes over after or during the process of releasing an addiction. Perhaps for the workaholic patient, it is strange and alarming to experience leisure time. Addicts require fortitude to find replacements for the dependence on substances or addictive behaviors. This is why willpower, or zhi, needs treatment, to provide support and determination to discover the power within oneself--a universal necessity for overcoming any addiction.

To aid your transformation from addiction and addictive behaviors to healthier practices, try focusing on routine. Routine provides stability, and a new routine is necessary to break old habits. If your first thought in the morning is to reach for a cigarette, replace that action with another, healthier ritual.

The replacement ritual could be anything from reaching for warm water with lemon and a pinch of cayenne to refresh your system, or singing your favorite song or stating out loud your plans for the day. As long as the action is positive and consistent, it will serve your new routine and changing thought processes.

Deep breathing with visualization can also strengthen willpower and be used as a tool to curb hunger and cravings. Most patients report a marked decline in appetite and cravings with acupuncture treatment alone, but special herbs, healing foods, and exercises can definitely enhance the efficacy of the treatments.

Everyone experiences addiction in different ways, with varying symptoms, and treatment is adjusted to the individual needs of the person seeking treatment. Some respond better to a sudden, jarring change in habits, whereas others may require a slower process to adjust to the changes that must be made. At some point during the detoxification process, the next step necessary to your healing will be addressed, helping to ensure that your strengthened willpower and emotional balance lasts a lifetime.

Are there cravings or an addiction you are working to overcome?

Call today to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you reach optimum health!

Reaching Your Ideal Weight

In Oriental medicine, the root of excess weight is an imbalance within the body caused by malfunctioning of the spleen and liver organ systems. Acupuncture points, as well as foods and herbs selected to assist with weight loss, can directly influence the Qi of the spleen and liver systems and treat the imbalances that have caused weight gain.

Shown to have positive effects on the functioning of the nervous, endocrine, and digestive systems, acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatment can help with food cravings and metabolism. These functions all help energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine both address the issues of over-eating and low metabolism with effective tools to control appetite and increase energy. Energy imbalances are corrected and the digestive and elimination processes are improved so that there is a physical shift in the body to naturally have more energy and desire less food. Additionally, by addressing both the physiological and psychological aspects of weight management concerns, they provide a comprehensive therapy for weight issues that promote better digestion, balance emotions, reduce appetite, improve metabolism, and eliminate food cravings.

Each treatment is customized to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body are chosen for overall well-being, with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi (to stimulate the metabolism) and calming the nervous system. Treatments can include a combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, ear tacks or pellets to leave on between treatments, herbs and supplements, abdominal massage, breathing exercises, and food and lifestyle recommendations.

In addition to treating the root of the imbalance within the body, different acupuncture points may be used for each treatment as different symptoms arise. For instance, if you are experiencing a desire to overeat related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) one week, then it can be addressed at your appointment that week. The herbs and foods that are chosen during a weight management treatment are for promoting healthy digestion, energizing the body, augmenting Qi, and improving elimination of water, toxins and waste products.

Deep breathing with visualization can also strengthen willpower and be used as a tool to curb hunger and cravings. Most patients report a marked decline in appetite and cravings with acupuncture treatment alone, but special herbs, healing foods, and exercises can definitely enhance the efficacy of the treatments.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are powerful tools for achieving a healthy weight, by itself or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other weight management programs.

Beyond Borders: Acupuncture in Humanitarian work Focus on: Barefoot Acupuncturists

By:  Anthony M. Giovanniello, MS.Ac.,L.Ac.  of Acupuncture Ambassadors

 Mumbai, India

“... it is here in the hutments of Bandra East, that Walter Fischer treats the economically disadvantaged with his magical needles. ... From 40-plus Mahananda to 75-year-old Laxmi, they all have tales of relief from chronic physical ailments. Mahananda, who suffered from rheumatism, tells you happily that she doesn’t need to wake up her daughter at night now to use the community toilet. Seventy-year-old Prema, who has brought chowchow made from noodles from her native Nepal for Fischer, has regained sensation in her right foot and no longer suffers from insomnia. Snehal’s school going daughter pronounces proudly in English: ” My mother is ninety percents better”...

Alpana Chowdhury in Sunday Times of India

The Beginning

It all started in 2007. Two acupuncturists, Walter Fischer (Belgium) and Jacques Beytrison (Switzerland) travel to Mumbai, India. They witness the stark evidence of an extreme lack of access to appropriate healthcare in the poor areas of the city and decide to use their skills to provide some solutions. “Barefoot Acupuncturists”, a non-profit organization, would be created for that purpose.

In January 2008, Walter Fischer decided to set up a small clinic in a slum of Mumbai. Ujwala Patil, a young Indian social worker, joins his efforts and together they open a rudimentary acupuncture clinic (7 square meters, two treatment beds, no running water).

Soon after the clinic became a great success among the residents of this poor community. Through their efforts, word of the powerful medicine of acupuncture begins to gradually spread its way across the poor areas of Mumbai. Due to the increasing crowds of incoming patients, in May 2009 the acupuncture clinic moved to a larger facility in the same slum, offering 5 beds and, at last, a toilet and running water.

A few months later Ujwala creates her own NGO, “Barefoot Slums”. Since then “Barefoot Slums” has been in-charge of running the acupuncture clinics in Mumbai and beyond, in association with Walter and the “Barefoot Acupuncturists”.

The initiative of Barefoot Acupuncturists is about sharing and contributing to a more decent society. "Why?" Because it is a basic necessity to alleviate pain and illness, and to provide a sense of dignity to so many who are in need.

Why Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective, versatile and economical medicine.

Why humanitarian acupuncture?

Because Barefoot Acupuncturists can share and offer access to an efficient and powerful medicine for people who could not afford it without them.

 Acupuncture from an economic perspective:

  • Allows treatment at a low cost (acupuncture equipment is cheap).
  • Is highly adaptable to many places and situations due to its simplicity

    and portability.

  • Provides an alternative to expensive and sophisticated treatments.


Acupuncture from a healthcare perspective:

  • Offers a proven, effective and holistic solution to health related issues.
  • Can offer help in cases that have not been successful with conventional medicine.
  • Can reduce the excessive use of pharmaceutical drugs and their potential side effects.

 Acupuncture from a human perspective:

  • Requires a detailed evaluation, a global approach and real attention to the

problems of the patients who know they are being listened to and understood.

As a preventive medicine and with its well-known positive action on the mental health of patients, acupuncture offers a real contribution to general well-being.


Evidence from the work of Barefoot Acupuncturists over the last 8 years show that humanitarian acupuncture is an effective tool to fight poverty and that together they can realize profound benefits for the communities they work in.

In 2014 alone Barefoot Acupuncturists provided over 15,000 treatments and made significant progress towards the training of practitioners that will bring low-cost acupuncture to more communities.

While acupuncture can treat many more disorders, physical pain makes up about 90% of the cases in their slum clinics. They also treat many cases of paralysis, neurological pathologies, digestive problems, sleep disorders and gynecological diseases.

100% of the patients are discovering and experiencing acupuncture for the first time. Women, who deal with the large majority of heavy domestic tasks, represent 65% of the patients.

The work of Barefoot Acupuncturists work has grown significantly since their humble beginnings. They now have two clinics in Mumbai slums, including one in Dharavi (Asia's biggest slum); and two clinics in rural villages of Tamil Nadu (in South India).

Treatments are now delivered by nine local acupuncturists trained by experienced therapists in Traditional Chinese Medicine, from all over the world, who worked in our clinics and generously shared their knowledge and time with their team.


Tomorrow is by definition uncertain, but Barefoot Acupuncturists believe in it. They will continue to put their efforts into developing autonomous clinic structures, giving acupuncture training in villages and slums and reaching the poorest to improve their tomorrow. They selflessly do this because everyday they see what can be achieved. Because they believe that it will make the world a slightly better place.

For more information about Barefoot Acupuncturists and their important work as    well as and to make a contribution to support their efforts go to:

A proposal for the establishment of worldwide Acupuncture clinics to treat PTSD in refugees and victims of torture and train caregivers in Acupuncture Protocols for PTSD.

Among a global population of approximately 50,000 million and growing, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people,1 the incidence and prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 2 an anxiety disorder that develops following exposure to extreme traumatic stress, is significant. After all, many of these men, women and children have endured torture and/or exposure to extreme violence and fled varying degrees of conflict and widespread aggression. Devoid of access to basic and essential resources including healthcare, western and traditional, and often migratory and marginalized within their host locations, the refugee population is doubly plagued by displacement and PTSD, it affectations and consequences. 3 So is the host country/location by extension. After all, human capital and resources devoted to the influx of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people are often limited and/or ill equipped to mitigate its effects. 3 Not even to mention the multitudes of victims of terror and torture and the poor in the world who also suffer from emotional and physical issues.

While displacement, uncertainty, unfamiliarity and the lack of occupation induce stress under the best of circumstance, PTSD embroils intense fear, helplessness, and/or horror and induces additional suffering. Extending from to the triggering events—either personally experiencing actual or threatened torture, serious injury or death and/or directly witnessing such occurrences, PTSD often yields flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, and hyper-vigilance experienced for longer than one month, with persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event (s). 4 Yet, posttraumatic stress disorder also induces anxiety, depression, reduced libido, and somatic dysfunction including but not limited to pain and gastrointestinal disorders.5 Accordingly, PTSD and its persistence affects not only individuals but also family and community members and those charged with their welfare and care. It stresses and burdens all.

Veritably, the prevalence of PTSD varies across populations, regions, cultures, and space. However, contrast and comparison divulges the vulnerability of the refugee population. Whereas the lifetime prevalence of PTSD for Americans ranges from 7% to 9%, 6 a recent survey of approximately 3,000 American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan illuminated that 17% were diagnosed with PTSD within one year after homecoming.7 In comparison, 25-69.1% of the men, women and children refugee population experience PTSD, according to the 2008 UNHCR reports. 3 While statistics for a refugee population are more difficult to ascertain due to the complexity of assessment across different cultures and their migrant nature, 8 the 2008 UNHCR findings also highlight that many of these survivors, dependent upon region, have experienced four or more traumatic events. 3 Therefore, the intensity of PTSD among these at risk populations and the sheer number of those who suffer from PTSD burden the insular yet vulnerable refugee population and the scarce support service systems available to them.

Among the general population affected by PTSD, an estimated 33% becomes chronic, despite the standard conventional methods of psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment available. 10 Since many medications engaged in PTSD treatment protocols have significant side effects, noncompliance is common.10 Because of these side effects and a recent UNHCR survey revealing that many refugees forgo medications for chronic and difficult conditions due to cost and/or lack of availability, 3 pharmacological PTSD protocols challenge this population and may serve a relatively small segment. A notable ongoing dispute regarding psychotherapeutic treatment forms and efficacies additionally complicates the arena for the most experienced care providers and their patients. 11-13 Since the application of these cognitive visual treatment (CVT) protocols are greatly hindered due to communication restraints and cultural differences in perception of trauma, implementation within a population from diverse cultural backgrounds is problematic. 9 Therefore, many desperate, suffering people are turning to complementary and alternative therapies, including acupuncture, as a treatment for PTSD.14

Nevertheless, economic and legal barriers significantly limit access to healthcare. Despite the 2008 WHO Beijing Declaration, access to traditional medicine/ complementary and alternative therapy modalities including acupuncture is often even more limited. 15 This is especially true for marginalized and refugee populations. 8 To assuage the chasm between marginality and care, inclusion and exclusion, mitigation and mediation of suffering and assimilation, Acupuncture Ambassadors will establish mobile PTSD clinics and train personnel charged with refugee care. Since recent studies reveal that acupuncture protocols are as effective as these cognitive visual therapies, acupuncture is a viable option.16


Acupuncture has continuously treated mental disorders across cultures, time and space. As evidenced by the Han Dynasty in China over 2,000 years ago, the most important Chinese medical text, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, described treatment strategies for psychological symptoms including hallucinations, anxiety, and nightmares.17 Modern textbooks also provide acupuncture protocols for depression, 18 anxiety, 19 and several other psychiatric disorders. 20 Therefore, acupuncture protocols for PTSD are both logical and based on a long history of clinical use for psychiatric symptoms. Recent studies have also substantiated efficacy. 16

While acupuncture treatment provides numerous benefits, its most important element, its flexibility, extends its ability to treat each individual’s unique presenting symptoms and is therefore capable of addressing the heterogeneous nature of PTSD. Although the TCM framework lacks a one-to-one correlation between the Western PTSD diagnosis with one specific Chinese medical diagnosis, the associated symptomology of PTSD may be categorized under several TCM diagnoses, specifically matching each individual’s presentation. In fact, a recent study supported TCM diagnostics when it found that, in 21 patients suffering from PTSD, 12 different TCM patterns diagnosed.21 For example, a patient who presents with nightmares, premenstrual symptoms, depression, irritability, constipation, and a wiry pulse would be treated in TCM for Liver Qi Stagnation. A second individual presenting with hyper-vigilance, palpitations, fatigue, anxiety, and a thin, weak pulse will be treated for Heart Blood Deficiency. From the psychological perspective, both patients would be diagnosed with PTSD. However, the TCM perspective would distinguish these patients and their symptom patterns. Accordingly, the patients have two very different TCM diagnoses and therefore very different prescribed treatment protocols. More importantly, perhaps, TCM acupuncture, holistic in nature, does not differentiate between psychological and physical symptoms. Instead, it treats both simultaneously.

Established to organize Acupuncture treatment clinics and training programs worldwide for the care of refugees and the poor with PTSD, Acupuncture Ambassadors 24 is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Harnessing the flexibility of acupuncture and Chinese medicine protocols, its practitioners have the skill and the knowledge to treat both the physical and the emotional levels of PTSD, differentiate patterns and protocols and implement treatments accordingly. While this individualized treatment does pose some difficulty in a clinic situation, where there may be multitudes of patients to treat and few practitioners to administer the treatments, Acupuncture Ambassadors can and does engage a treatment model that helps resolve this difficulty.

In such situations, ACUAMB can employ and teach simple but powerful treatment protocols contained in:

The Acupuncture Ambassadors
Acupuncture Technician Basic Training Certification Course

In areas of the world where there are no existing diploma or master’s degree acupuncture schools, Acupuncture Ambassadors (ACUAMB) can implement an Acupuncture Technician Basic Training Certification Course.

The ACUAMB Acupuncture Technician Basic Training Certification Course will limit the Acupuncture Technician to perform 6 treatment protocols that will cover a multitude of general aliments including emotional trauma, addictions, general and specific pain issues, digestive & respiratory ailments, immunity, preventative care and wellness. In general, daily and / or extreme stress, anxiety and environmental toxicity are the cause of 70-80% of illness of the body and mind. When acupuncture is used as an ongoing treatment the level of stress hormones are greatly reduced and the body is able to heal many of its on issues without other medical interventions. The protocols have been chosen specifically because they effectively treat numerous health issues and reduce the release of stress hormones leading to better general health. They are also minimally invasive which is so important for the safety of the patient. In general, these protocols are not difficult to learn for the students. In addition to these protocols, the students will be taught about fundamental anatomy and acupuncture theory. This will serve as the foundation for future in depth study to becoming fully trained acupuncturists.

The 6 Protocols taught:

1) The NADA-Plus Protocol for Addictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), pain, respiratory, digestive and cardiac issues. 22

A 6 point auricular (ear) protocol. 5 needles placed on Auricular (ear) acupuncture points proven to reduce the symptoms of PTSD significantly. Originally developed for the treatment of drug addiction, the NADA (The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol has been found to be profoundly useful for PTSD as well. Although it is not as individualized, it can be used effectively on all patients with virtually no negative side effects nevertheless yielding very substantial positive results. Acupuncture Ambassadors has devised an extra point to make the protocol even more effective for pain issues. In fact, many patients find that their PTSD symptoms can be greatly reduced so they can better cope with their immediate life situations as well as be more open to healing with the addition of other Western medicine therapies including talk therapy. Due to their simplicity and efficacy, these NADA and NADA plus protocols can be easily taught to health professionals in all fields, community health workers and even family caregivers so that treatment can be administered on an ongoing basis at refugee sites. Accordingly, refugee sites with few staff and many PTSD patients can continue to benefit.

2) The Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol for acute and chronic pain, insomnia, stress. A 6 point auricular (ear) acupuncture protocol.

Acupuncture Ambassadors also employs another auricular protocol that has shown great promise for treating PTSD with pain called the Battlefield Acupuncture protocol. 23 This protocol was devised by Dr. Richard C. Niemtzow, MD Colonel, USAF and is the author of an original paper for the Medical Acupuncture Journal. In an excerpt of that paper Dr. Niemtzow: “The Battlefield Acupuncture Protocol was developed in 2001 in the course of researching a more efficient auricular (ear) therapy system for rapid relief of pain. The name “battlefield acupuncture” is so named as it was developed as this acupuncture protocol could be used on the military battlefield. The technique delivers significant attenuation of pain in just a few minutes. It can be used with press needles and ear seeds on auricular points as well.”

3) Dr. Lee's Great Ten Needles Protocol for general wellness, fatigue, immunity, digestive issues, preventative care. Body acupuncture points.
Dr. Miriam Lee, one of the pioneering acupuncturists in the United States and responsible for the legalization of acupuncture in California thus leading to country wide legal acceptance. At the height of her practice, Dr. Lee was seeing up to 80 patients a day. As the demand for her services kept growing, her need of a streamlined system that could treat a multitude of common complaints in a high volume setting grew. After extensive research into ancient text books of acupuncture, Dr. Lee created a highly effective acupuncture point formula to treat a multitude of everyday common and chronic ailments such as insomnia, gastrointestinal discomfort and pain and respiratory issues. ACUAMB has also devised 3 extra points for fatigue.

4) Adrenal / Trauma Treatment Protocol for old, deep seated as well as recent trauma. 3 bi-lateral, acupuncture body points.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue: Adrenal gland fatigue can be due to improper dietary nutrition, a toxic overload such as Heavy metal toxicity, extreme shock and emotional trauma, physical trauma, working too hard without enough rest, over-indulgence in stimulants like coffee, tea, tobacco, and narcotics. However, the most common cause of Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal insufficiency is simply: STRESS! Common adrenal fatigue symptoms: Chronic fatigue, Depression, Hostility, Anxiety, Weakened immunity, Chronic low-grade infections, Low back pain, Getting sick frequently, Hypoglycemia, Fibromyalgia, Inability to focus or concentrate, Poor memory, Sweet cravings, Thyroid problems, Always feeling cold, Weight gain or loss, Any chronic or autoimmune condition.

5) Moxabustion (Moxa) for Immunity (especially for immune compromised HIV and AIDS patients), digestive disorders and wellness. Leg acupuncture points.

Moxabustion is a form of treatment that uses heat to stimulate specific acupuncture points. This is done by burning the herb mugwort, on those points. The term moxabustion is derived from the Japanese word "mogusa" meaning herb (mugwort) and the Latin word "bustion" meaning burning. Rice grain moxibustion is the application of a “rice grain” sized amount of moxa to a point that has been covered with burn cream. With the application of the moxa in this manner he heat is able to stimulate the point without burning the skin.

For immunity and well-being the most common point used is Stomach 36, also called “Zusanli,” or ST-36. The Chinese name Zusanli means “Leg Three Miles.” Oral tradition states that in ancient times, most individuals traveled on foot, and stimulation of Zusanli would relieve fatigue dramatically enough to allow one to travel another three miles. It was common for people who were about to embark on a long journey to apply moxabustion to this point in order to build the necessary strength and endurance for the trip. Stomach 36 is one of the most important acupuncture points on the body, and indications for its use are myriad.

Moxabustion has been used for more than 20 years in clinics worldwide to treat patients diagnosed with HIV and AIDS to enhance the immune system of these immune compromised patients.

6) Shonishin. First used in 17th century Japan , Shonishin is a non-invasive, energy balancing therapy utilizing non-inserted techniques originally designed for treating infants and young children. Conditions treated range from emotionally related imbalances to acute and chronic conditions. Shonishin is a very gentle and highly effective treatment for many diseases, including asthma, attention deficit disorder, digestive disorders, stress and anxiety. Shonishin is painless. The treatment involves gentle massage and stimulation of acupuncture channels (meridians) and points with a variety of rounded silver, gold or stainless steel tools. Stroking, rubbing, tapping and pressing carefully over acupuncture points, or brushed gently along the acupuncture pathways over the body are the hallmarks of a treatment. Using Shonishin tools have a very strong therapeutic effect, without penetrating the skin. Shonishin is also a great preventative treatment prior to the cough and cold season.

Note: In countries that have laws preventing non-medical individuals to perform acupuncture with auricular (ear) or body needles, needle-less ear seed or magnet methods are taught and strictly abided by. Sterilization and clean needles technique training is emphasized and all needles and ear / magnet seeds used are one-use only and are destroyed after patient treatment (use) so not to be applied again in future treatments.

After completing the three to four week basic acupuncture technician training course, there will be a two-week follow-up supervision and training, every 4 -5 months by a staff member (trainer) of Acupuncture Ambassadors.

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3. UNHCR: Second IPSOS Survey on Iraqi Refugees (31 October – 25 November 2007).
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Additional information / articles

Beyond Borders: Acupuncture in Humanitarian work Moxafrica

Moxafrica is a British charity set up in 2008 to investigate the use of moxibustion therapy for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), particularly drug-resistant TB, in resource poor environments. Moxafrica was founded by acupuncturists Merlin Young and Jenny Craig.

A Study of the Efficacy of Adjunctive Moxibustion in the Treatment of Tuberculosis

Moxafrica is carrying out research in Uganda to establish whether moxibustion can help combat TB. Moxafrica is now funding and collaborating in a Phase II Randomized Control Trial (RCT) in Uganda with Makerere University's School of Health Sciences. It is potentially one of the most exciting ventures of research in medicine today - of potential benefit to literally millions of people who are at desperate risk of drug-resistant disease.

What is Direct Moxibustion?

Direct Moxibustion consists of smoldering a rice grain sized cone of moxa (the refined herb Artemesia Princeps or commonly know as mugwort) on the skin. This treatment protocol has been used in conjunction with acupuncture, and as a stand-alone treatment, in East Asian Medicine for centuries.

Therapeutically it is known to have positive effects on blood circulation and to enhance the immune system. Direct moxibustion has a history that also includes claims of treating and curing patients with Tuberculosis (TB).

Why TB?

Tuberculosis is still a devastating disease even into the 20th Century.

•        In 1993 the WHO (World Health Organization) declared TB a Global Emergency.

•        Roughly one third of the world's population, one in three of you and me, is     infected with TB. 

•        1.3 million people died of TB in 2012

•        TB is the leading killer of people living with HIV

•        An estimated 450,000 people developed Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR)-TB in 2012

•        KPMG economist Yael Selfin estimates that there could be 76 million cumulative deaths of MDRTB by 2050

    And yet

•        TB, in the West, is often seen as a disease of the past. 

•        WHO reports an annual funding gap of US$ 1.6 billion. 

•        WHO reports only 20% of TB patients estimated to have Drug Resistant are detected and treated. 

Unfortunately, it’s much worse than that 

The WHO numbers are strongly contested 

Carole Mitnik, Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School, estimates only 10% of DRTB cases are treated. 

Paul Farmer and Salmaan Keshavjee of the prominent international organization Partners in Health (PIH) are less optimistic and say its only 1%.

Does moxibustion work against Drug Resistant-TB?

For Moxafrica this is the most important question of all. Theoretically, a positive immune response should help a patient recover from any type of TB. Since it was being used in Japan before TB drugs were developed, then there is good reason to speculate that it might help in cases of drug-resistance where drugs are failing. It also might help in survival rates in patients with other drug-resistant diseases.  The research Moxafrica has carried out is now in the hands of scientists - and they eagerly await their final judgment.

Are there any side effects from Moxibustion?

The Moxafrica organization can categorically state that in the course of three pilot studies and one randomized control trial they have not had one case of serious adverse reactions reported. However, there is a definite risk of infection if the treatment is used over enthusiastically, especially with patients whose immune systems are compromised. They are also very careful that patients are properly instructed to stop the treatment if there were to be any signs of infection at all and report this to their health worker. The only complaint they have had from patients is that their increase in appetite is sometimes more than can be easily supported by them. This is clearly unfortunate for them but, since TB is a wasting disease, it has to also be seen as a very encouraging sign of a strong recovery response.

Patient Feedback

Patients infected with TB, who are part of the research study in Uganda, regularly reported the following: improved appetite, weight gain, reduced joint pains, reduced peripheral neuropathy, and a general increase in strength and energy. Of special note, patients co-infected with HIV reported similar positive outcomes as the TB only group.

The health workers trained by Moxafrica in the practice of moxibustion were also convinced that patients supplementing their TB drugs with Moxa were recovering faster and with fewer side effects. 

Global Game Changer

This important work can be a global game changer when it comes to the treatment of TB. It is really impossible to grasp the potential of this project without understanding the existing complexities of treating this disease in Africa alongside HIV/AIDS, particularly as the rate of drug resistant disease rises. This is certainly an African health problem, but TB exists in many other parts of the world as well. It is clearly one of the most pressing humanitarian problems of our age.

Videos on the work of Moxafrica:

For more information on Moxafrica, TB, and their ongoing research or to support the continuation of this important work please go to:

On the Road with Modern Barefoot Doctors: Acupuncture in Humanitarian work

On the Road with Modern Barefoot Doctors:

Acupuncture in Humanitarian work

By: Anthony M. Giovanniello, MS.Ac.,L.Ac.

Founder of Acupuncture Ambassadors

 Siem Reap, Cambodia 2008: “A barefoot doctor was an ancient Chinese phenomenon which was then revived as part of a 20th century Maoist healthcare initiative to train individuals in the basics of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to keep the Chinese people healthy and productive. These doctors traveled from village to village treating local people in need of medical care. Barefoot--because many of them were also farmers who, when not treating patients, worked in their fields shoeless.  As I stand barefoot, on the deck of a one-room floating schoolhouse on a lake in Cambodia, acupuncture needles in hand, I think about those barefoot doctors who have come before me.

When the only school teacher in the area invited our humanitarian acupuncture volunteer group aboard, we had no idea what was in store for us on this day. Word of our arrival traveled quickly through this Vietnamese refugee community.  These refugees have been living together in this houseboat village since they fled their home country during what was then called the “Vietnam Conflict.”  Dozens of shabby, rundown canoes floated to us carrying people who haven’t seen any medical care in what probably felt like a lifetime to them.

Through the use of acupuncture, we witnessed some amazing transformations. Many who had been suffering with various common illnesses, such as arthritis and rheumatism, as well as a patient with long-standing lung cancer, became pain-free for the first time in many years. Patients with infectious wounds due to their poor immune systems began to heal by using simple needles. Old men suffering from insomnia due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) even 40 years after “the war” were sleeping like babies on the schoolhouse floor.  The most touching moment of our day, was when a small boy with one arm paddled up in what looked like an oversized noodle pot. Because his family was poor, this was his only means of transportation. He had been in pain since he lost his arm to a landmine, which are still scattered around the country-- a reminder of a not-so-distant time of war.”

Excerpt from the journals of A.M. Giovanniello, Acupuncturist

I vividly remember this day, as it was the first time I truly understood why I had spent so many years of study and personal sacrifice to become an acupuncturist. Since that first “getting my feet wet” mission, I have created and participated in numerous medical missions with my non-profit organization, Acupuncture Ambassadors. My colleagues and I have traveled to some of the most incredible places in the world -- including the Navajo Native American reservation in the State of Arizona in the Western area of the United States.

I am part of a community of Humanitarian Acupuncturists who take time out of their busy practices and home life to travel throughout the world, bringing help to those who have little or no access to healthcare. We are the modern barefoot doctors.

The medicine of Acupuncture, fits perfectly into the field of humanitarian work. It’s effective for many health issues, including helping patients with chronic conditions who live in poor countries that can’t afford pharmaceutical solutions. The WHO (World Health Organization) has deemed Acupuncture to be a viable treatment for more than 40 health issues, including anxiety, depression and PTSD. It is efficient, economical and extremely portable. In a volunteer mission, we potentially treat more than 100 patients in a day for less what than most of us spend in a month on our daily coffee addiction.

At present, there are more than 30 caring and compassionate volunteer organizations which work in diverse and sometimes dangerous locals all over the world. In recent years, the worldwide Humanitarian Acupuncture community served victims of disasters, including the earthquakes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Tsunami in South East Asia and Hurricane Sandy.  Missions are ongoing in Thailand, India, Nepal, Tibet, Peru, Guatemala, Uganda, South Africa and the Republic of Congo.

Humanitarian Acupuncture organizations are helping to change world health “one needle at a time”.

Anthony Giovanniello Ms.Ac.L.Ac.

Founder Acupuncture Ambassadors

For more information about Acupuncture Ambassadors, please go to: