25. April 2016 · Comments Off on Yarrow’s Garden Blog~World Healing Exchange · Categories: Health and Healing, Wellness, World Healing Exchange

Acupuncture and the World Healing Exchange
Acupuncturists Without Borders
Loreto, Mexico Baja California Sur
Christina MacLeod, L.Ac., MPH

It is a warm, sunny day in late January, 2016. The quiet fishing village of Loreto, Mexico, sits along the protected south eastern shoreline of the Baja peninsula. In the early months of winter, the town witnesses the familiar arrival of migrating blue and grey whales, there to mate and birth in the safe waters of their bay in the Sea of Cortez. On this day, however, the people wait in anticipation for the arrival of another kind of “pod”. A group of twelve American acupuncturists, all volunteer members of Acupuncturists Without Boarders (AWB) will be offering community-style treatments at the DIF family health center. I am among the American care-givers This is my first time attending an AWB World Healing Exchange. I smile with enthusiasm as a group of about 65 men, women and children of all ages file through the door and take their seats, ready to receive the simple 5-needle ear treatment, designed to address the health issues that come with their increasingly complicated and stressful lives.


With an interpreter on hand, an initial orientation in Spanish offers encouragement and comfort to those who are first-timers. Six practitioners divide the room into manageable groups and the treatments begin. Other team members greet new arrivals, monitor supplies, keep records, or help as needed. Within twenty minutes, the energy in the room has palpably shifted. Silence prevails, breathing slows and deepens, and a sense of peace and calm fills the space. A few heads nod, others sit with eyes closed or gazing softly. At the end of 45 minutes, the needles are removed and people are encouraged to share their experiences. There seems to be overwhelming agreement that the experiences are positive for those who shared.

During the week-long visit, over 100 individuals received treatment by AWB volunteers in two separate clinic events. The most frequently asked question was “When would the team come back again?” “The people were so receptive and appreciative of our care. We were showered with gratitude by even the most tentative of participants. A deep satisfaction and fullness filled the hearts of our entire treatment team”. With a degree in Public Health, I find herself quite at home offering this simple yet powerful treatment in a public setting that serves many at the same time. Plans are underway through AWB for the next World Healing Exchange to take place in the Yucatan in November, 2016. I hopes to attend.


Monthly community-style acupuncture clinics are ongoing here in Westcliffe at the West Custer County Library on Main Street, modeled after the AWB ear treatment protocol. The walk-in events are scheduled for the third Thursday of the month between 11am-1:30pm. Clinics are on a donation basis, $20 suggested. The needles are placed on the ear for a total body effect and without the need to disrobe. The treatment offers clearing and rebalancing of the nervous system and returns vitality to all the organ systems of the body. Half of all revenue from the Westcliffe clinics is given back to non-profits like AWB for their global health initiatives in communities experiencing trauma or family displacement from natural disasters.

AWB was founded as a non-profit in 2006 by current CEO Diana Fried of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in response to hurricane Katrina, initially offering support to first responders. Since that time, volunteer teams have been deployed to New Orleans, Haiti, Nepal, Guatemala and other sites worldwide, treating medical teams as well as families affected or displaced by trauma or disaster events. The Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps, with the same clinical ear protocol, is highly organized and ready to mobilize quickly for any trauma event in Colorado. In addition, spin-off community-style clinics are being established on and off military bases, addressing PTSD and other health issues for veterans and their families.

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