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Acupuncturists Without Borders
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
After 16 months in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Acupuncturists Without Borders turns to new projects and places.

Diana Fried, a licensed acupuncturist who lives in New Mexico, founded Acupuncturists without Borders (AWB) in September 2005 after seeing the horrific damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. She was motivated, knowing that community acupuncture could offer something tremendously unique to assist with the trauma caused by these events.

Acupuncturists Without Borders has offered free community acupuncture treatments for stress and trauma in Greater New Orleans since October 2005 and currently has rotating teams of acupuncturists from around the country on the ground. AWB offers their unique services to residents, volunteers, civil servants, and relief workers, and continues to provide treatment to the police and fire departments, military personnel, and at community health clinics and shelters around Greater New Orleans.

“Acupuncture can have a profound effect on those who have suffered a traumatic event,” Fried points out. “We are committed to providing free acupuncture for trauma relief and recovery wherever we are able.”

Fried put out a call for volunteers immediately after Katrina and the first team of acupuncturists was soon on the ground in New Orleans. Makeshift treatment centers were set up around the city. More than 7,000 people have since been treated for stress, grief, and pain by volunteer acupuncturists involved with the organization.

“The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a simple, low-cost modality offering immediate, effective, and easily accessible treatment for large numbers of people, easily adaptable for a wide array of circumstances,” says Fried.

Acupuncture has shown itself to be highly successful in helping heal the psychological consequences of trauma. Thousands of testimonials from Louisianans who have received the treatments further attest to this success.

“After receiving an acupuncture treatment myself, I felt an amazing release of tension. At this time in our lives that is one of the best things we can ask for,” said Reverend Luke Nguyen Hungdung of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church. The Vietnamese community around the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church was

Acupuncturists Without Borders is now expanding its efforts and has begun disaster training for acupuncturists at workshops around the country. Attendees will learn concrete skills in responding to disasters, working with people in trauma, setting up mobile clinics, and team building.

“Our goal is to help facilitate community and personal healing in the face of large-scale traumatic events and their aftermath,” said Fried.

Acupuncturists Without BordersÂ’ newest project focuses on free acupuncture for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Pilot treatment programs are being set up in various cities nationwide. In October 2006, the program launched in Albuquerque, N.M.
Acupuncturists Without Borders survives on donations. Please consider supporting this work. For more information on the organization and how to  volunteer or donate, please visit