Acupuncturist Launches Sustainable Treat and Train Mission in Guatemala

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Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

A generous group of New York acupuncturists have partnered with Dr.Joan Boccino, D.A.O.M. in Guatemala to establish an on-going Traditional Chinese Medicine outreach in Quiche and Solola. The mission coordinator was delighted to see her students’ and colleagues’ willingness The group treated 1,000 patients on their first visit in April, 2012 and the vision for a regularly scheduling an Jornada Medica (medical workshop) emerged over the summer. Chinese medicine students succeeded in raising funds for this August’s expedition and acupuncturists and several other volunteers from Joan’s original group offered to be the third wave the next fall.

It’s rolling.

During the summer trip, 1,000 indigenous patients would be treated – this time in four locations. The Quiche Center would be home to The Integrative Health Project ‘s nascent residency program for almost three weeks. Yefim Gargoneishvili, L.Ac., went early to prepare a score of local health promoters in the use of NADA and other auricular protocol. And, Ann Brameier, L.Ac., would stay late for follow up sessions with, Dona Terry, a curandera and shaman.

Team Yefim included three students from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine: Diane Chaing and Marc Lingat (both on their third mission to Guatemala.) and senior level student Saul Ackerman who interpreted for this portion. Yefim trained the local midwives, nurses and community practitioners while the students over saw the placement of the seeds or needles on the five specified ear points. To meet the standard, trainees had to “needle” 40 patients each under supervision but, even before that, they seemed confident about their delivery. During the Jornada they would get patient information forms with the prescribed number of positions. Patients, especially the younger ones getting seeds, were totally at ease getting non-Western treatment.

On Sunday, after the treatment rooms were stocked and all set up, PCOM students would get a brief lecture from Moshe Heller, L.Ac.. He demonstrated the Shoni Shin kit used in Japan for children. He said that young kids were usually fine with needles until they are about two; after that, there comes a time when children refuse.

“By five years old they usually accept needles, again.”

He showed how to palm these small tools, so that children do not see the points and told the students about how he uses different instruments to stimulate channels and particular points.

Day One of the Jornada would begin so early that the mist was still snuggling in the rose gardens. Eva, Byron, Tomas and Riccardo trudged out to open the registration table under a tent and brought out a bushel of prophylactic bananas – just in case the patients had not had any breakfast. The straggle of interpreters was greeted with joyous shrieks and mini reunions happened all around. Pablo, Sara, Angel, Sisters Connie and Irma came first. Marisela and her husband showed off their gorgeous baby and everyone got to meet Veronica and Laura’s mother and grandmother because the older ladies had come along so Laura’s newborn could be seen. Tommy from Belize was only new for a while; then, he blended right in. There was very little time to socialize before the long days began. The translators worked crazy hours all week moving from location to location and language to language, Santa Cruz to Zacualpa to Cotzal, English to Spanish to Quiche and later, in the Nebaj area, Ixil.

The August 2012 group was twenty New Yorkers including seven acupuncturists; two of whom, Daryl Thuroff and Jane Hansen were also massage therapists and one student who is also an LMT. There were six returning students including second timers Joelle Ludwig and Theodora Karaivanova and third timers Mike Zielonka and Chelsea Horenstein; plus, five fresh ones: Elizabeth Zara, Erin Callahan, Kathryn Herrera Maria Macchia and graduating senior, Jen Marks.
Except for the threat of hurricanes stalling outbound flights, this workshop ran smoother than the first and delivered good care to patients in four locations. things went so well that acupuncturist/anthropologist, Wendy Whitman, who conducted two field interviews, is considering bringing her daughter along next time.   Support this work.

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Un grupo generoso de Nueva York acupunturistas se ha asociado con Centro de Paz Barbara Ford en Guatemala para establecer un continuo acercamiento chino tradicional Medicina. Coordinador, Joan Boccino, L.Ac., estaba encantado de ver la voluntad de los estudiantes y colegas “para aumentar la frecuencia de sus visitas y respirar continuidad en el Proyecto de Salud Integral. IHP tratado 1.000 pacientes en su primera visita en abril de 2012 y la visión de una forma regular programando una Jornada Medica (taller médicos) surgieron durante el verano. Estudiantes de medicina china logró recaudar fondos para la expedición de este mes de agosto y los acupunturistas y varios practicantes del grupo original se ofreció a ser la tercera ola en el otoño.

Está rodando.

Durante el viaje de verano, 1.000 pacientes indígenas serían tratados – esta vez en cuatro localidades. El Centro de Quiché estaría en casa para el IHP durante casi tres años. Yefim Gamgoneishvili, L.Ac., se fue temprano para preparar una veintena de promotores locales de salud en el uso de los NADA y otro protocolo auricular. Y, Ann Brameier, L.Ac., me alojaría tarde para sesiones de seguimiento con doña Terry, una curandera y chamán.

Equipo Yefim incluidos tres estudiantes de Pacific College of Oriental Medicine voluntarios: Diane Chaing y Marc Lingat  (tanto en su tercera misión a Guatemala.) Y superior nivel de los estudiantes Saúl Ackerman quien interpretó para esta parte. Yefim capacitado a las parteras, enfermeras y profesionales de la comunidad, mientras que los estudiantes más vieron la colocación de las semillas o las agujas de los cinco puntos de la oreja especificados. Para cumplir con la norma, los alumnos tuvieron que “aguja” 40 pacientes cada uno, pero bajo supervisión, incluso antes de eso, se mostró confiado sobre su entrega. Durante la Jornada, que obtendrían las formas de información al paciente con el número prescrito de posiciones. Los pacientes, especialmente los más jóvenes reciben semillas, estaban totalmente a gusto recibiendo tratamiento no occidental.

El domingo, después de que las salas de tratamiento fueron sembrados y todo listo, los estudiantes PCOM obtendría una breve conferencia de Moshe Heller, L.Ac.. Demostró el kit Shoni Shin utilizado en Japón para los niños. Dijo que los niños pequeños son generalmente muy bien con agujas hasta que son alrededor de dos, después de eso, llega un momento en que los niños rechazan.

“A los cinco años de edad por lo general aceptar agujas, otra vez.”

Mostró cómo la palma estas pequeñas herramientas, por lo que los niños no ven los puntos y dijo a los estudiantes acerca de cómo usa diferentes instrumentos para estimular los canales y puntos particulares.

Primer día de la Jornada se iniciaría tan temprano que la niebla aún estaba acurrucado en los jardines de rosas. Eva, Byron, Tomás y Ricardo caminó hacia fuera para abrir la mesa de registro en una tienda y sacó un bushel de plátanos profilácticos – sólo en caso de que los pacientes no habían tenido ningún desayuno. El rezago de los intérpretes fue recibido con gritos de júbilo y reuniones pequeñas sucedieron a su alrededor. Pablo, Sara, Angel, Connie y hermanas Irma era lo primero. Marisela y su marido mostraron su bebé precioso y todo el mundo dieron a conocer a Verónica y la madre y la abuela de Laura porque las señoras mayores habían venido a lo largo de lo que Laura recién nacido podría ser visto. Tommy de Belice fue sólo durante un tiempo nuevo y, a continuación, se mezcla la derecha adentro había muy poco tiempo para socializar antes de los largos días comenzó. Los traductores trabajaron hora loca toda la semana moviéndose de un lugar a otro y de una lengua a otra, Santa Cruz de Zacualpa a Cotzal, Inglés para españoles para quiche y más tarde, en la zona de Nebaj, Ixil.

El grupo de 08 2012 tenía veinte años neoyorquinos incluyendo siete acupunturistas, dos de los cuales, Daryl Thuroff y Jane Hansen también terapeutas de masaje y un estudiante, Alice Kim, quien también es LMT. Había seis estudiantes que regresan como segunda Ludwig temporizadores Joelle y Karaivanova Theodora y tercer temporizadores Zielonka Mike y Horenstein Chelsea; además, cinco pilas nuevas: Zara Elizabeth, Erin Callahan, Kathryn Herrera Maria Macchia y se gradúan de marcas de alto nivel, Jen.
A excepción de la amenaza de los huracanes dilatorias vuelos de salida, este taller corrió más suave que el buen cuidado primera y entregado a los pacientes en cuatro localidades. las cosas iban tan bien que acupuntor / antropólogo, Wendy Whitman, quien llevó a cabo dos entrevistas de campo, está considerando llevar a su hija a lo largo de la próxima vez.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine Professionals Volunteer to Treat and Train in Guatemala

Other posts on Barbara Ford Center for Peace  - Santa Cruz del Quiche
Brave Team treats Quiche Maya
Mayans Relax with Yoga at Traditional Chinese Medicine Jornada
Mayan Women are Empowered to Defend Themselves by a Black Belt 
Acupuncturists Launch Sustainable Treat and Train Mission in Guatemala 
Mayans Rediscover Acupuncture at Centro de Paz Barbara Ford
Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe
Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

Six practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) volunteered to treat and train indigenous Guatemalan Mayans. The team traveled to the Highlands to work at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace. The outreach was organized between Dr. Joan Boccino, a New York City acupuncturist and Sister Virginia Searing, the Center’s Director. Joan invited four other NYC L.Ac.’s: Norva Bennett, Yefim Gamgoneishvili, Peter Pankin, Dan Wundrlich and Julie Ing Stern (Lic.Ac., joined in from Boston.) Terese Wundrlich (CAT. LMT.) came along to celebrate her birthday. Together this team would identify cases of late stage cancer, Type 1 diabetes and a few serious infections that required immediate attention.

Unlike Western doctors, who are always a bit unsure of diagnoses made in the field. Acupuncturists don’t need lab tests because they place total trust in physical signs. To them, disease presents itself as irregularities in any of the multiple “pulses,” or more evidently, in the color of tongues or texture of skin. Because this is their process, the healers were very “hands on.” They gently massaged bellies -young and old – rubbing one way to relieve diarrhea and the other to alleviate constipation. So far off the CDC grid were they, that after giving a treatment, they would teach the families how to take care of their own. Such careful instruction is an integral part of TCM delivery. The simple traditional Chinese remedies (including burning moxibustion sticks) were quickly transmitted and easily understood. This was a miracle in itself: instructions had to chain back and forth from Chinese>English > Spanish > Quiche /or/ Ixil dialects…. And, apparently nothing got lost in translation. To handle the daily load of over 200 patients, even the Center’s gardeners, cooks and drivers were needed to assist the volunteers. By the week’s end, they were ready to ask the questions about dreams and wind on their own. Sometimes intake got a bit too efficient – running ahead of the available beds. Late in the day, things got hectic. After ten hours of solid work the “punchy” practitioners would lose sight of where their current patients were. At one point, Peter Pankin turned to his translator and asked (half joking) “How do you say “Shen Min” in Quiche?

Intake was divided into two parts: Temperatures and BP were recorded by the students and the patients were passed on to the intake desk. That desk was always packed with patients and their families, the translators and assisting students all ticking through the question sequence. Sometime into her stint at the desk, Joan Boccino observed that something very obvious was not being reported: coughs. (Lung problems are prevalent because of wood burning stoves and so common, that the patients did not think them worth mentioning.) Yefim and Peter ran the training for the local students in another building leaving only four people to attend to the patients. The lack of acupuncturists during the training slowed things down but, eventually, things flowed so well that each bed looked like a tableau from Rembrandt’s Anatomy lesson. Norva and Julie seemed to be masters of flowing around their crowded beds – all the while pointing out signs and symptoms to their students.

some team members specialize in structural disorders; so, they were fed the most broken old ones and younger patients – with CP, failure to thrive and the effects of malnutrition. In contrast to the other acupuncturists, who quietly needled, these Tui Na experts were active and their results were quite dramatic. They seemed to love their patient’s bones back into place and kneading the tiny, gnarled Mayans until they smiled with relief. In their hands, an inflated rubber glove became a therapeutic device. The ad hoc “balloon” provided enough resistance to make the child strive to compress it between his knees. Dan played with a young boy – encouraging him to tag him on the head and he would tag the boy back. Maybe this was a means of diagnosing; maybe it wasn’t — but joy and healing followed.

Practitioners can’t just walk away knowing what they know and not anguish about follow-up. Yefim was upset; burning on the way back from San Filipe. He had seen a woman with diabetes that required very little money to control. And there was no one there to care for her. Sister Virginia Sears, S. C., would say that San Filipe was the worst case. They have no structure at all- not even a resident church group. Yefim was the first one to volunteer to be back in August.

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Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe

When Mayans met Acupuncturists – April 2012

Other posts on Global Clinic’s Projects        
                              *  Mayan Women are Empowered to Defend Themselves by a Black Belt 
*  NYC Traditional Chinese Medicine Professionals Volunteer to Treat and Train in Guatemala
*  Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

The Barbara Ford Center for Peace sits on a hilltop overlooking Santa Cruz del Quiche. It has been open just long enough for plantings and edgings to take root and for the rose gardens to proudly preside over a blooming landscape. Like so many of the other “coincidental perfections” of this venture the entire campus seemed destined to mix cultures. This was home base to the fifteen volunteer acupuncturists. Before they went on the road, the team would spend three thirteen hour days working in the Center’s Pavilion.

The set-up for that began Sunday afternoon previewed the fine harmony they would create. All of the practitioners had been on medical missions before. But, Julie Ing Stern and the Wunderlichs (brother, Dan and sister, Terese) had traveled to Asia together where they had experience handling large crowds. Certainly, there would not be enough people to require armed guards … but this kind of seasoned input added to an enlightened discussion around handling volume. These veterans recalled using “protocols” to help them move their patients along. But, even if everyone was willing to try out different room layouts and enthusiastically stock unfamiliar “caddies” with supplies, most of practitioners balked at the idea of being bound by predetermined conventions.

It looks like there is not only poetry in Traditional Chinese Medicine but a lot of style goes into the delivery. “Protocols,” even very few of them were seen as impediments to artful practice. Over the next few days, the rotunda plan would be tweaked, transformed and streamlined into conscious treatment space. And, the practitioners proceeded apace – in their own ways – handling more than 600 patients in the calm that they generated.

Sister Ginny made no small plans for this teaching and training mission’s first visit. The Center’s director organized two field trips to share her wealth of healers in even more under served areas. These sorties would amplify the careful briefings on human rights violations and terror that she and Helen Mack had given the group.

On Thursday, the team rolled out before dawn bound for a Franciscan convent in Zacualpa. They traveled Mayan style – squeezing translators and healers to vans and going an hour plus south. People unfolded and entered the convent through a nondescript door. Once inside the two story compound, they would see the rainbow line of waiting patients and a garden with the memorial: Chapel of the Well. The Capilla del Pozo was constructed in honor of the forty-six victims that were massacred at this convent. We had been told that during the Civil War many of Quiche’s religious orders had been warned by the bishop to evacuate as the army began taking over their enclaves. The tiny adobe chapel displayed clippings showing the exhumation and a two foot brick circle marking the well used as a mass grave.

NOTE: The post war response of the Sisters of Charity necessarily included forensics along with spiritual and mental support. They would identify and properly bury hundreds of people who were murdered at the time.

The acupuncturists would see the aftermath of war; in patient’s bullet wounds, amputations and residual grief.

Chapel showing Well that held mass grave

On Friday, everyone was packed off to San Filipe “the heart of poverty and violence” near Nebaj. The poorest populations live up there and Sister Ginny would ruminate about these patients because, unlike those who are part of a parish, these people have no back-up. Where patients who needed additional help could be cared for in the capital city, Santa Cruz del Quiche or by the Franciscans, the poorest patients might have to wait for the next Jornada for follow up.

The coffee and chicken farmers of this village laid out the Mayan “red carpet” (pine needles) to welcome the guests into the temporary clinic. They were silently gathered under a shade tarp to be registered before the treatment tables arrived. Far from dangerous they were shy and utterly grateful. The practitioners absorbed boundless smiles and returned warm hugs all week. Thus rewarded, after seeing more than one thousand patients, they would pronounce the experience “Utz.” (That’s the Quiche word for “good.”) For my part, I snapped pictures of the professionals and drank deeply of their kindly vibes and absolutely enjoyed the Sisters of Charity, their associates, patients and mostly appreciated the wonderful staff who made Sister Ginny’s therapeutic Love-in possible. Thanks, Gracias’ and Mati-och (Quiche for “thanks”) to everyone for the privilege of documenting this grand Jornada.

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