My friend, Graham, from WholeHealth Acupuncture in Yarmouth forwarded me the following email yesterday. What a great idea--and such a worthy cause. As I've written about in previous blogs (Beets and the Peace Tree, Yogurt Making Matthew) several members of my family are in the military. One sisters and two brothers have served in the Middle East, and of these, at least two will probably be sent over again.
If you know of anyone who might be able to volunteer, or who might benefit from this service, please contact the individuals listed below.
SUBJECT: ACUPUNCTURE AND THE AFTERMATH OF WAR
I am writing to tell you about an exciting development here in . Several of us who connected with each other in the recent Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) training on starting and operating mobile clinics have gotten together and organized Veterans Acupuncture Clinic (PVAC), offering free treatments to returning vets and their families.
The clinic opens for the first day of treatments (the day after ) , in the Music Room of Reiche Scool, . The clinic will be open the following thereafter, . Parking is available in the off-street school lot.
We will be providing community style acupuncture, in a circle of up to thirty vets / family members, utilizing the five-point auricular protocol, originally developed by NADA for use in detox / addiction. AWB provided such treatment to thousands of exhausted, traumatized first responders and displaced citizens in New Orleans, after Katrina, with wonderful results. We know from experience how helpful it can be.
We will be using the five-point protocol for a number of reasons: it is quick and easy (we can treat lots of people in a short amount of time), requires no lengthy intake (everyone gets the same treatment), and provides a whole body-mind-spirit treatment. Because the technique enables us to treat many people in a short period of time, it maximizes the utilization of scarce resources (i.e. our time and expertise) and makes them available to the largest possible number of suffering people. Vets and families support each other, sitting together in a silent circle, where no one has to speak about their experiences (potentially re-traumatizing themselves or reactivating family conflict), and everyone has the opportunity to release a bit of their respective trauma or stress into the deep relaxation of treatment. It's particularly important that combat vets may be able to release pent up combat stress, without having to conjure up feelings or images involving their experiences.
We will be holding a training for volunteers at the clinic site (above). Please RSVP at the number below so we'll know how many to expect. We'll be training folks on the paperwork and logistics of running the clinic, and considerations for treating this special needs population. If you would like to volunteer with us, you must attend our training. Don't know the five-point protocol? No problem. We will teach you. Want to volunteer with us but can't come then? Please get on a waiting list we'll use to organize another training in the future.
We are requiring that all volunteer practitioners who are doing needling must have malpractice insurance. [There are jobs for other volunteers - practitioners or not - that don't require needling.] We are working to get donations that will, among other things, provide small stipends to volunteers, to help defray the cost of malpractice insurance premiums. (Volunteering once a month and receiving the anticipated stipend would pay most of a year's premium.) Talk to us about this before purchasing malpractice insurance for info about policies best-suited for mobile clinics.
All of us come from traditions of acupuncture that provide significant and unique insights into, and strategies for, addressing the special needs of our wounded warriors and the people who love them. Our clinic volunteers extend our greatest respect to all traditions and their contributions to the great medicine we all practice. And, we are clear that in this simple clinic, we will practice only the simple five-needle protocol on all patients. (Please see the AWB website: www.acuwithoutborders.org for more information about this.)
What will you get out of the work? Well, there are the obvious warm fuzzies that come from helping people. The Vets Clinic gives us an opportunity to do a little something to address the unimaginable issue of the war - whatever our politics. We also get the opportunity to work as part of a team of colleagues doing acupuncture - perhaps a welcome change for those in solitary practice. We'll have an opportunity to put out our business cards, and perhaps gain a patient or two for our practices (e.g. a vet might say, "my brother could really use this!" and make a referral with someone's card.)
One last thing I would like to mention here is that I think that the experience of working together in teams in this clinic will serve the dual purpose of preparing us for the next natural disaster. Think what good we could have done in the great ice storm several years ago, if we could have fielded teams within a short period of time to set up mobile clinics around the state and treat the linesmen and other emergency personnel who worked 18 hour-shifts in a bitter winter, to help get our 5,000 miles of downed line back into service, and feed and house hundreds of people displaced to shelters by homes without heat! Our teams could have also made the rounds to those shelters and helped to reduce the stress of group living. Teams like these could be ready to respond to disasters outside our state, as well: the next (God forbid) Katrina. (Teams of colleagues are forming in other states to provide the same services to us, should we need their help someday.)
WON'T YOU JOIN US?
You can help us in this good work by donating your time or money or both. We'd love to have it all.
Susan Reed, for all the Volunteers
MARSHALL WOODWARD, L.Ac. 874-4058
SALLY VAN SNEPSON L.Ac.
STEPHANIE BAIRD, L.Ac. 871- 5060