The Integrative Health Project -Supports Acupuncturist’s Clinical Trial in Guatemala

The study is set to begin in two weeks pending final IRB board approval. Afterwards, the protocol could be made readily available in underserved areas where access to conventional treatment is unavailable or unaffordable. It could also be used in cases where the conventional treatment is contra-indicated or has unacceptable side effects. Joan has already given instruction in auricular acupuncture to more than 90 Guatemalan midwives, community health promoters and students. Acupuncture has been well accepted and popular in the community. Her work is supported in part by the Integrated Health Project.

Panajachel, Guatemala

A New York based Acupuncturist is doing a Clinical Trial on Reducing Blood Glucose in Patients with Type Two Diabetes

This is the first time an auricular (ear) acupuncture protocol is being tested for this outside of China.

Joan Boccino, L.Ac. a doctoral candidate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, is trying to determine if ten small needles inserted in both ears have any effect on blood glucose levels . The “ear only” or auricular point combination she will use is derived from published literature and a survey of practitioners in the field. It is similar to another ear protocol known as the “NADA Protocol.” That combination was originally developed in the context of drug detoxification treatment in the 1970’s. However, it proved so effective that it’s use has expanded for use in general wellness and stress reduction including PTSD. In the US it is used in private practices, community settings, hospitals and by the US military.

Joan developed #BoccinoProtocol with NADA in mind as the NADA protocol has historically been taught to community members who are not “medically trained” in addition to those within the healthcare field.

Dr. BOccino knows the immediate need for pragmatic intervention in diabetes since she has been working in the Mayan Highlands since 2011. In 2012 colleagues and senior students from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine joined Professor Boccino in founding a mission that is still on-going at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace in Quiche. Last year, she brought a successful Traditional Chinese Medicine Jornada to the District of Solola.

This year, her study is being coordinated with the assistance of The Diabetes Club which will provide patients and office space for the research in Panajachel. The study’s criteria calls for patients with a history of blood glucose levels above +125 They also must have the ability to test blood glucose levels — two times a day for four consecutive weeks. Twenty participants will all be issued meters, materials and given instructions for recording their data prior, during and after the study. During the second and third weeks of the study they will receive the acupuncture treatment.

If this study is successful Joan can seek alliances with the Guatemalan government and educational institutions to discuss running a larger study. If results of that larger study are also successful, Joan can work with the appropriate agencies to develop a curricula of certification (and professional acknowledgement) for practitioners trained in this protocol.

The study is set to begin in April pending final IRB board approval. Afterwards, the protocol could be made readily available in underserved areas where access to conventional treatment is unavailable or unaffordable. It could also be used in cases where the conventional treatment is contra-indicated or has unacceptable side effects. Joan has already given instruction in auricular acupuncture to more than 90 Guatemalan midwives, community health promoters and students. Acupuncture has been well accepted and popular in the community. Her work is supported in part by the Integrated Health Project.


Sacapulus Health Promoters Profiles

All trainees develop the skills they study in class by treating hundreds of patients each time. On her last trip, Ms. Boccino presented the curanderas certificates detailing the hours each had spent practicing the different methods. A large part of The Integrative Health Project’s mission is to create a path for them to integrate the cost effective TCM treatments into their independent practices.

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From the first days at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace, the ladies from Sacapiulus had appeared in their eye-popping traje (traditional dress.) Their head-wraps have four fat pom-poms that bob graciously as they joke in lyrical Sacapulteca, a dialect of the Quiche Maya language. For sure, Rosa Espinoza and Magdalena Pajarita stood out in the class of Health Promoters who came to study the treatments being taught by Dr. Joan Boccino’s teams.

 Years prior, their townswoman, Sister Maruca, had bridged them into urban Santa Cruz del Quiche, where the religious woman lives and grows medical plants for her convent. It was Sister Maruca, who introduced them to BFPC’s Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Program.

In order to attend the class sessions and to assist in treating patients during the clinical phases of the Jornadas Medica (Medical Workshops) Rosa leaves her eleven year old son with Magdalena’s grandchildren for a week while a teenage niece watches over them. The ladies need to make a few transfers to get out of their pueblo, Chuvillil, and then, they travel about an hour to attend the New York acupuncturist’s treating & training events. Since last year, there have been six missions instructing their class of local practitioners in the NADA protocol, moxibustion, gua sha, Qi Gong, forms of Tui-na massage and other “barefoot doctor” modalities.

All trainees develop the skills they study in class by treating hundreds of patients each time. On her last trip, Ms. Boccino presented the curanderas certificates detailing the hours each had spent practicing the different methods. A large part of The Integrative Health Project’s mission is to create a path for them to integrate the cost effective TCM treatments into their independent practices.

I became friends with this flashy gang and they invited me to visit them. I declined many times – mainly because my Spanish was too poor for me to understand them. But, now that I can even hobble along in Quiche I accepted when they wanted me to come and participate in their regular clinic. Even though we couldn’t secure any ear needles, the ladies had bags of medicinal seeds and the pierced boards to prepare them for insertion. I designed a sign for this event and would take great pleasure doing intake while they advised, counselled and treated. We four worked non-stop handling fifty three cases in six hours.

The last patients came in because they had seen the Global Clinic banner. This couple was the only “walk-ins” we got and they had a serious story to tell. He would answer the intake questions speaking softly and glancing desperately from me to Sister Maruca, who came over to listen with me. It seems that the wife had been hospitalized last year. After she was released she had lain in the bed for three months – losing muscle tone and suffering from constant migrains. .. She stared vacantly during this recitation. We all jumped to do something with this sad couple. Magdalena put seeds in their ears. And Rosa gave the husband a demonstration on how to do Gua Sha using a “special” TCM instrument — the round edged baby food lid. I would show him how to do the abdominal massage Chi Nei Tsang. We were all very happy to see the couple transformed and certainly more relaxed. As they left, they even asked when the next clinic would be held….

That afternoon, it rained too hard for us to take the easy way to their houses… The mud was just too slick for the truck to carry us in. So we walked. The three boys were waiting for Grandmother and Mom and they waved and hollered as they saw us tread into a clearing before the foot bridge (over white water.) After a mile of this through the quickening twilight I was gratified to see a tienda that sold beer – The bad news was that it was run by one of Magdalena’s cousins, who had been a patient that afternoon. She told me my money was no good and handed up 2 liters to give me thanks. Humbling.

My time up the country passed quickly exploring, chatting with the kids and waiting for Magdalena’s husband and daughter to arrive from the capital. One highlight of the visit was watching the treatment for a patient, who was diagnosed as “overly fearful.“ Magdalena looked around her very extensive medical herb garden and selected the plants that she would be adding to the patient’s steam bath. She then pre-boiled the several herbs and poured the hot mixture into a two gallon amphora. She set the liquid down in the space below a straight back wooden chair and dropped a rather unorthodox heating element into the vessel. She had hot-wired brick and attached it to an extension cord. She placed a tough grade plastic bag with a cinched neck and an open bottom over the whole assembly and explained that patient would climb in through the neck end of the bag and sit down with a towel over her head and face. The woman would take as much heat as she could and be cooled with a wash of clear water three times over about an hour. Rosa, the boys and I would take a walk down by the river while this was going on.

On the way through the fields, Rosa told me that the Civil War’s violence stayed pretty much on the more populous side of the wide river. But, there had been a time when organizers coaxed many of the farmers to form “resistance.” The unarmed men would “guard” the village from vantage points on the hills. Until one day, armed troops killed twenty or so of them. Rosa lost a cousin in this attack.

On the way, we would see her son’s father and she told a bit of her personal history.

“He has another woman and other children. From time to time he will greet my son but that is all.”

Rosa watches her brother’s house while he works in the city. The place has no cement stove but Rosa cooks her meals on an indoor fire-pit and the house has no latrine to generate night soil to enrich the small plot of milpas. But, Rosa remains joyous, resourceful and persistent. Before her son was born, she learned to read and began to take classes in Mayan medicine. Eventually, she developed a group of patients among her neighbors. After her son was born, Sister Maruca had taken special care to invite her to join Maruca’s cooperative because, as a single mother, she was being shunned by the women. These had been very hard times and Sister’s intervention made a big difference to her.

During the week prior to this, Magdalena’s daughter had been hospitalized in Guatemala City but was well enough to return home with her father, Don Miguel to celebrate her parent’s shared birthday. I had inquired about Don Miguel’s diplomas for perma-culture and Magdalena invited me to interview him about what he knew and how he came to build the elegant latrine. It seems that Don Miguel had been selected by AlterTec a US based NGO and was given an education in soil conservation, medicinal plant cultivation and sanitation in the 1980’s. in the years before the NGO left, they paid him to he teach these subjects. In the meantime, he used this knowledge, so that his family could enjoy richer harvests. These days Don Miguel commutes home once a month from his job in a plastic bottle factory. He came home bearing fresh seafood for his and Magdalena’s birthday feast. As I left, the grand kids were scaling and de-veining with a good deal of skill.

I am invited back in December to see the Mayan ruins that dot their land. 

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Continue reading “Sacapulus Health Promoters Profiles”

Treating Victims of Hurricane Sandy for PTSD with Acupuncture

on the way to Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn
on the way to Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn

Looks fine on the outsideimageIn order to get my NADA certification, I was scheduled to meet with Wendy Henry, L.Ac., and to volunteer at her clinic for hurricane Sandy victims in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.

It seemed that we could have run into each other during the post 9/11 recovery phase. Her group, CRREW (Community Relief and Rebuilding through Education and Wellness) was first formed to respond to the disaster. Since then, the acupuncturist has provided NADA training and treatment in New Orleans, Vietnam and, recently, after Sandy, she went to Haiti. I met this very caring woman through my trainer, Joan Boccino, LAc., of Global Clinic who contacted her on my behalf so I could officially complete the U.S. certification.

By subway and connecting bus, we wheedled our way deep into Brooklyn.

“The Occupy Wall Streeters shifted into gear after Sandy,” she reminded me.
But, she was networked directly into the residential community that includes generations of Firefighters through HEART (Healing Emergency and Response Team) that provided temporary trailers for offices and treatment.

“These folks lost a lot of brothers on September 2001,” Wendy said by way of introduction.

On this spring afternoon, we saw flags waving and BBQs being lit on tidy patios while neighbors chatted. It looked as if nothing had changed; on the outside the houses looked safe and sound, but, I would soon learn that was not the case.

My first NADA patient, “Marcie” (not her real name) would tell me her own story and, after her treatment, she took us to see her destroyed house. It stood apparently unscathed with its aluminum siding in tact.

“What happened?” I asked my patient.

She hesitated a minute, then began this story:

“I was filling every bottle in the house all day
…just in case.

The rain did not stop at all; so, I was really relieved when the kids finally got home. We had dinner and kept watching.. When I saw the water about to cover the running board of my Volvo, I asked my daughter to go with me to move it to higher ground.

As soon as we got in, the car went floating.

The guys across the street were yelling something we couldn’t hear. But, I did not want to be drowned in the car. I didn’t want to panic and was relieved to see a light post and told my daughter to hold onto me and that we were going to go grab the post. I don’t know how to swim and the water had gone from knee high to waist high after the waves washed in. All the lights were out and I could not tell if we were in the Jamaica Bay or still on the block. We just had to make a run for the house…

The water was already up my four steps and, when I opened the door I could hear waves lapping in the kitchen!

When the water had risen half way to the second floor and the refrigerator was floating around, I went down to collect canned goods, in case we were stranded on the second floor. I thought, for sure, I would die by getting pinned by the bobbing refrigerator, but the kids formed a brigade line and somehow things got handed upstairs.”

Seeing “Marcie” getting so excited, Wendy gently declared “quiet time” saying that if the patients get reactivated, they may not get all possible benefits.

While the patients soaked in the tranquility of this space, I chatted up the two crisis counselors, who work for the Visiting Nurses of New York. They and 25 more staff members had gone knocking door to door as part of the teams of social workers, who helped over 20,000 victims through the situation. But, in this small shipping container that served as a shared office for VNS and CRREW, they were gingerly “play testing” some of the donated “comfort bears.”

Watching them cuddle their bears “Marcie” told me that she was thinking of sending her own stuffed animal on to the victims of the Oklahoma tornado.

As we drove to her house “Marcie” would tell us that she is both accepting and hopeless.

“I don’t have the money to make repairs I just have to wait until the volunteers get around to me, again. People had volunteered to install dry wall and, later, a group of small young had women crawled under the house to clean out the debris. They told me that I have four types of mold in between the walls,” her voice trailed off..

Then would recall the “scariest part” was not living for a week without electricity or that, like the days after 9/11, the cell towers were not working.

“It was when we got the news a day later that Breezy Point had burnt to the ground. We really had no idea what was going on in the world even though we could smell the smoke all around us.”

By sundown, we found ourselves back in Manhattan. And, Wendy told me that I had earned my NADA certification. I was most grateful to her for the chance to meet some of the brave victims and caring persons that CRREW has been working with in the aftermath of the ferocious storm.


Acupuncturist Launches Sustainable Treat and Train Mission in Guatemala

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Other posts on Barbara Ford Center for Peace  - Santa Cruz del Quiche
Instagram TheintegrativeHealthProject.
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 
Mayans Rediscover Acupuncture at Centro de Paz Barbara Ford
Global Clinic Treats 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe
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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