You may have heard of Doctors Without Borders, but what about Acupuncturists Without Borders?
Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) was founded by Diana Fried immediately after Hurricanes Rita and Katrin in 2005. According to this Valley Advocate article the AWB, "provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers."
Most recently, AWB has now been helping Puerto Rican evacuees help to manage and treat their trauma.
After the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, many individuals lost everything, and have had to flee the country for safety.
AWB member Verena Smith, an Amherst based acupuncturist, explained, “people who were directly hit by hurricanes – and their families and friends from Western Mass – surely are experiencing serious acute traumatic stress. Folks may be having flashbacks, panic, insomnia, suicidal ideation, or any number of symptoms that can be relieved with simple treatments.“
Since acupuncture has been shown to help with anxiety, insomnia, depression and other symptoms, acupuncturists and AWB members Nancy Edwards and Dede King brought their services to a Springfield clinic to offer treatment to stressed evacuees within a shared treatment setting. The results?
The report explained, "people seemed a bit more jovial, perhaps the result of a positive shared experience or perhaps a result of the treatment. Regardless, the general mood seemed lighter; smiles spread across faces for the first time that evening."
It has been long known that acupuncture treatment, specifically targeted for trauma, can help to heal both physical and emotional pain, while balancing qi.