Acupuncture and Trauma

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Acupuncture and Trauma, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

We’ve been hearing a lot in the news recently about trauma and its long-lasting, damaging effects, but what is trauma and what does it have to do with acupuncture?

The word “trauma” comes from the Greek word for “wound”. A trauma can be a physical injury or a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, or it can be the emotional shock following a stressful event or physical injury. From a psychological perspective, traumatic experiences are those that are emotionally painful and distressing and which overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. An experience of powerlessness is a primary trait of traumatization.

Following an initial trauma, a person may be left with intrusive thoughts, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares, triggering the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. They may feel unsettled or unsafe and startle easily, becoming hypervigilant. Or they may struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. Sleep disturbances are common, as are changes in appetite, either too much or too little. Pain is often a result of trauma - pain from injuries, direct trauma, or severe migraines. Because a person may be hypersensitive to and easily triggered by certain sights, sounds, smells, or physical sensations, they will often withdraw from others or public places or restrict the type of activities they do so as to avoid the things that trigger them.

One of the most common ways that trauma is manifested is in chaotic emotions such as fear, anxiety, rage, guilt, and shame. In addition to trauma’s effect on emotions, traumatic experiences may also be stored in the tissues of the body as tightness or pain. Physical and emotional trauma can affect the mind, causing difficulty concentrating, remembering, or thinking clearly. Some people who’ve experienced trauma may not consciously remember the trauma, but their bodies do.

Some seek to numb the pain by using drugs, alcohol, or food. My first acupuncture job was doing detox work for Yolo County Drug and Alcohol and I was surprised to find out just how many of my clients had histories of trauma or abuse. Now we know about the connection between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and addiction, but at the time it was more commonly thought of as something to which people were genetically predisposed. While there is a hereditary component to addiction, it’s unclear how much is due to epigenetics and genes being turned on/off by the body’s response to trauma.

There is no clear pharmacological treatment for trauma and PTSD. Current treatment includes antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and antipsychotic drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and counseling.

Chinese medicine is primarily concerned with restoring balance to the mind and body and employs many techniques to bring extreme emotional and physical responses back into balance. In Chinese medicine, there is no separation between body, mind, spirit, and emotions; for centuries they have been viewed as a seamless whole - disharmony in one affecting the others. Because of this connection, by treating areas of the body affected by trauma, acupuncture can help release and heal the emotional pain held in the body.

One of the major benefits of acupuncture for trauma is that it helps to switch the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the body's unconscious actions, out of the sympathetic nervous system (“fight, flight, or freeze” response) into the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest” mode). Acupuncture helps to provide relief from the incursion of stress hormones, allowing the body to rest and to begin the process of healing

Acupuncture can help with many of the symptoms that contribute to disrupted sleep patterns: anxiety, trouble falling asleep, nightmares and/or night-terrors. Many people report sleeping more deeply after an acupuncture treatment, even if they don’t have insomnia. For those with chronic trouble sleeping, regular acupuncture treatments can make a big difference.

A study published in June 2007 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease that showed that acupuncture “provided large treatment effects for PTSD” similar to those seen after counseling and therapy. According to the study, acupuncture was able not only to reduce PTSD symptoms, but to keep reducing those symptoms even three months after treatment ended.

Acupuncture for trauma can be done in either private or group settings. Treatment in a group setting usually involves an ear treatment protocol because it is easy to administer while patients are seated in chairs and does not require the removal of clothing.

Acupuncture is currently being used to treat trauma and PTSD by Acupuncturists Without Borders (disaster relief) and by the US military (veterans).

Regardless of when a traumatic experience happened, the impact on a person’s life can be profound. Acupuncture is a safe, effective, and drug-free way to help people recover from the effects of trauma and return to living happier, fuller lives.

Fibromyalgia and Chinese Medicine

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Fibromyalgia and Chinese Medicine, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and memory and mood issues.

Fibromyalgia is thought to affect up to 6% of the population, particularly middle-aged women, although it can start as early as the teen years. Most people will experience symptoms for the rest of their lives, however, many may experience periods in which their pain and fatigue lessen.

You May Have Fibromyalgia if You Have...

  • Widespread muscle and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain, burning, twitching, or tightness
  • Low pain threshold or tender points
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering, often called "fibro fog"
  • Insomnia or not sleeping well
  • Feeling nervous, worried, or depressed
  • Belly pain, bloating, queasiness, constipation, and diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Sensitivity to cold, heat, light, or sound
  • Frequent urination
  • Numbness or tingling in your face, arms, hands, legs, or feet

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it seems to run in families and most often affects women. It may be triggered by a combination of factors such as infections, genetics, trauma, stress, hormonal fluctuations and lack of physical activity. Anxiety or depression are not a cause of fibromyalgia, but usually make the pain worse.

Although fibromyalgia has not been shown to be an autoimmune disease, having a rheumatic condition like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis may increase your risk.

How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose because there isn’t a lab test that can detect fibromyalgia. Its symptoms are similar to some autoimmune disorders, and in many cases, fibromyalgia occurs simultaneously with them.

How Does Conventional Medicine Treat Fibromyalgia?

There is no known cure. It is most often treated with drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and stress-relieving techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing or meditation.

There's Hope!

Chinese medicine can be extremely helpful in treating the pain and other uncomfortable symptoms of fibromyalgia .

  • Acupuncture reduces pain, improves blood flow, increases endorphins, and restores healthy body functioning.
  • Chinese herbs decrease pain, relieve stress, and improve energy, sleep, and digestion.
  • Treatment is holistic, individualized, patient-centered, and empowering.

What to Expect from Treatment with Chinese Medicine

  • gentle, non-invasive, personalized treatment
  • less pain
  • reduced stress
  • better digestion
  • more energy, strength, vitality
  • improved mood and well-being
  • improved immunity and reduced inflammation
  • increased comfort

Depending on the severity of symptoms, treatment may be more frequent in the beginning, and less frequent as things improve.

How Can You Help Yourself?

  • Regular weekly acupuncture treatment
  • Chinese herbs prescribed by a licensed herbalist
  • Regular, moderate exercise to improve blood flow, reduce pain, increase endorphins, and improve mood. Try yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, walking, or exercising in a warm water pool.
  • Regular bed and wake-up times. Reduce the use of screens in the evening and be in bed by 10 pm.
  • Regular rest. Lie down for 20 minutes a day.
    An anti-inflammatory diet, rich in vegetables and lean protein. Avoid sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and nightshades. Add fish oils, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed meats.
  • Regular mealtimes
  • No cold, frozen, or raw food or drinks.
  • Stress reduction, such as meditation, relaxation
  • Pace yourself. Practice moderation, set limits, and learn to say no, especially to things that drain your energy.
  • Massage

Chinese Herbs

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Chinese Herbs, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA
Although most people come to see me for acupuncture, it was my interest in herbal medicine that initially drew me to study Chinese medicine. I was recently asked to share more about Chinese herbs, how I use them in my practice, and what kinds of things they treat.

While studying Chinese medicine in school, I had 4-5 semesters each of classes on different topics: Chinese medical theory, acupuncture, and herbs (individual herbs and formulas.) Herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine in every culture around the world. Medicinal substances fall on a spectrum from those that are mild and used as food, to those that are stronger and used more as medicine. Some examples of therapeutic foods include herbs that we use in cooking, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mint, turmeric, and fennel. Not only do they make food more flavorful, they have additional benefits, such as killing parasites, improving circulation, and aiding digestion. In traditional Chinese dietetics, foods are considered one of the most basic types of medicine and are categorized by their effect on the body. For example, pears have the effect of clearing heat, moistening, and clearing phlegm from the Lungs.

When I was in school, we would write and mix up individual bulk herb formulas for patients based on our diagnosis. We would often choose a basic formula (like a recipe) as our starting point, then add, subtract, or change amounts of herbs based on that patient at that moment. As their symptoms would change or disappear, our formulas would also change. In Chinese medicine, the goal is not to put a patient on a formula and keep them on it to “manage” their symptoms or condition, but to elicit a change by treating the root of the problem.

Bulk Chinese herb formulas are usually given as a tea or “soup”. Most of these are cooked as a decoction in water for about 45 minutes and are strong-smelling and tasting. Patient compliance is not always very good with those! For that reason, I primarily use herb pills and tinctures. They are easy to use and in a form that is more familiar to most of us. The downside is that the proportions of herbs in the formula cannot be changed and the formula cannot be customized.

We are used to thinking in a relatively simple way, that this herb is good for this particular problem, but the way herbs work is far more complex than that. A formula will affect the entire body, not just one part.

In western medicine, we tend to think of a particular drug being good for a particular problem. Chinese medicine thinks about it differently: a Chinese medical practitioner makes a diagnosis for each person and treatment is chosen accordingly. Not everyone with the same problem (back pain, for example) will have the same diagnosis in Chinese medicine, and so are unlikely to have the same herbs. Just because an herb is “good” for a particular condition does not mean that it is a good match for each person with that condition. Just because herbs are natural, not all are necessarily safe to use indiscriminately. Treating yourself with herbs is not easy, which is why it’s usually best to consult with an herbalist.

Herbs can be used short-term, like antibiotics, or they can be used long-term for more chronic problems. Chinese herbs are categorized based on their function. Those that are in the “Tonifying” (strengthening) category are like taking vitamins or using a drip irrigation system. A little bit taken over a longer time is able to be absorbed more easily and benefit your body more than a massive dose taken once.

What kinds of conditions can be treated with herbs?
Just about anything: Insomnia, PMS, hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, joint pain, low energy, mood disorders, menstrual problems, infertility, blood pressure, urination problems, fibromyalgia, colds, allergies, immune system issues.

Can I use herbs if I’m taking medication?
It depends. Acupuncture is always safe to use if taking medications, but herbs may not always be appropriate.

Why do I have to take so many pills?
Chinese herb teapills are not as strong as most pharmaceuticals. This makes it much easier to vary the dosage, especially for children or more sensitive people.

I would be happy to have a conversation with you if you’ve ever wondered if herbs might be of help.

Sleep Essentials

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Sleep Essentials, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

All living things on earth are affected by a circadian rhythm - a 24 hour rhythm of light and dark, of activity and rest. With the advent of the industrial revolution and electricity over the past 200 years, our society has rapidly changed from an agricultural society to an industrial and technological society. Despite our living in a culture that operates 24/7, we are biological beings and our biology hasn’t kept up with technology. To balance the fast pace of the technological world in which we live, deep, peaceful, restorative sleep is more important than ever.

Sleep is just as important as good nutrition and physical activity. What happens when people don’t get enough sleep? Ask any new parent and they’ll tell you that they are exhausted and have difficulty thinking clearly. Over time, our emotions are affected and we are more likely to experience increased irritability, anger, frustration, and impaired judgment. Our culture has a kind of machismo around sleep, that somehow it's not necessary. Some people boast of needing only 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, yet sleep deprivation is a serious problem, not only affecting an individual’s health, but also that of our whole society.

Sleep enhances our memory and our learning capacity. It inspires creativity, helps rebalance emotions, refreshes our cardiovascular health, regulates metabolic and glucose processes, boosts our immune system, resets our brain and body health. And, there is a direct link between mental health, emotional stability, and lack of sleep. Decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, communication, and memory are impaired by 20-50% when we don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your energy, mood, metabolism, and cognitive abilities. During sleep, cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the brain at a very rapid pace, washing away waste proteins that are toxic to brain cells. This may explain why we don't think clearly after a sleepless night or why a prolonged lack of sleep can actually kill an animal or a person. One of these waste proteins is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Alzheimer's and all other diseases associated with dementia are linked to sleep disorders.

Insomnia, which includes difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, is the most common sleep disorder in adults. It affects mood, memory, fatigue, and concentration because the arousal and emotional centers remain active. It is more common in women than in men, increases with age, and leads to sadness, depression, and brain fog. Sleep insufficiency is associated with risk for the development of most psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Conventional medicine most commonly offers some sort of sleeping pill, yet most of those have sedative side effects that linger the following day. These medications are a temporary solution as insomnia usually returns once they are discontinued. Chinese medicine, on the other hand, works to restore the body’s normal functioning, and acupuncture and herbal treatment change as sleep improves.

The other main therapy used most frequently is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and its results are longer-lasting. Although the suggestions may seem counterintuitive, most people who try them find that they make a big difference after 3-4 weeks. The principles of CBT are:

  • Reduce your time in bed.
  • Get up at the same time every day.
  • Don’t get in bed unless you’re sleepy.
  • Don’t stay in bed unless you’re sleeping.

Repeated insomnia predisposes people to adverse psychological outcomes. For example, while military veterans are trained to learn how to deal with challenging situations, they receive no training on how to calm down. Sleep hygiene or discipline can be helpful in reducing the incidence of hypervigilance.

Sleep Hygiene

  1. Regular bed and wake times.
  2. Keep the bedroom dark.
  3. Keep the bedroom cool.
  4. Keep the bedroom quiet.
  5. Keep media and technology out of the bedroom.
  6. Make the bedroom a safe haven.
  7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine.
  8. If you wake, get out of bed and go into another room. Keep the lights low and do something boring until you get sleepy, then go back to bed.

Shift workers
People who work at night (swing or graveyard shifts) are more likely to have problems with diabetes, high blood pressure, and lose their body’s ability to control blood sugar properly as both insulin and glucagon are affected. Diabetes is essentially too much sugar in the blood. The body likes to regulate its blood sugar within a very narrow range. Too little of it and we lose consciousness, since sugar is the fuel of the brain. Too much of it, and it becomes toxic, destroying nerves and damaging the kidneys.

Sleep & TCM
Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with our environment, which means honoring the signals of our body, as well as the season. In past centuries, people rose and went to bed with the rising and setting of the sun. Our 24-hour day is divided into night and day, and in Chinese culture, these correspond with Yin and Yang. It is normal and desirable to be awake and active during Yang time and quiet and sleeping during Yin time. Problems arise when activity and rest are not balanced.

Chinese medicine is very effective at treating insomnia, fatigue, irritability and other mood changes, unclear thinking, and can also help reduce hypervigilance.

Winter

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Winter, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA
Winter is a time of rest and hibernation. We are moving from a time of harvest to a time of stillness. Days become shorter as nights lengthen. Energy contracts and becomes slower and more dense. People will often comment on just how slow-moving they are, or how they are not accomplishing much, but in my experience, the energy of Winter is exactly that. Trying to move quickly this time of year is like trying to run while underwater or trying to move through cold molasses. It is possible, but it is not easy and wastes much of your energy to try to do so.

Winter in Chinese medicine belongs to the Water element. This is a time of gestation of ideas, of rest and restoration. It is a time to turn inward and listen to your own body’s needs; to engage in practices that will build your reserves so that you can be active without depleting yourself in the warmer months ahead. In our culture, the frenetic busy-ness of holidays in Winter often creates a tension for us. We are pulled between our social expectations, such as parties, gift exchanges, winter concerts, and the Nutcracker, and our body’s desire for rest, simplicity, and time to curl up in front of a warm fire.

It is normal as appetites increase and metabolisms slow down for people to gain a few pounds since the absorbed nutrients from their foods can be stored more easily during this time. It is also a good time to use acupuncture and herbs to boost the natural constitution of the body and treat the underlying roots of chronic conditions.

Foods that are especially good to eat in the Winter are:

  • Deeply nourishing foods (substantial & nutrient-dense)
  • Foods that are higher in fat and protein
  • Soups & Stews
  • Beef, Lamb, Chicken
  • Bone Broth
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chard, Kale, Bok Choy, Lettuce, Cabbage, Sauerkraut
  • Mushrooms
  • Walnuts
  • Lentils & Beans
  • Warming spices such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
  • Pumpkin & Winter Squash
  • Rice & Quinoa
  • Spinach
  • Leeks & Onions
  • Snow peas
  • Broccoli
  • Porridge

Foods to avoid:
Raw, frozen, or fried foods

Exercise:
Because the focus in the winter is to conserve and build energy, it is important not to overexert yourself. Light physical activity is good to keep things moving. It is important not to sweat too much as it is believed that cold can move in through open pores and lodge in the body at this time, causing joint pain and lowering your resistance to colds. Gentle practices such as Qi Gong,Tai Chi, or yoga are especially useful.

Sleep:
It is advised to go to bed early and to get up when the sun rises, which is later in winter.

When you are out of sync with the energy cycles of the natural world, you will be working harder than necessary. When you are aware that the energy of the natural world is cyclical, you can allow yourself to rest or be more active in accordance with it. Living in harmony with the seasons is an easy and effective way to reduce stress on the body, mind, and spirit.

Fundraiser for Acupuncturists Without Borders!

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Fundraiser for Acupuncturists Without Borders!, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

Join Davis acupuncturists and Acupuncturists Without Borders volunteers, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM, and Lyle Najita, L.Ac., at a drop-in community-style ear acupuncture clinic as a fundraiser for Acupuncturists Without Borders!

This style of acupuncture is a powerful, simple, safe way to help with stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and pain by helping people “reset” their nervous systems to a greater state of calm, quiet and clarity. (Not sure about needles? No problem. We also offer needle-free treatment.)

Friday, Nov. 17th - 4-6 pm
(Come anytime - treatment takes about 30-45 minutes)
Fireside Room at Davis Community Church, 412 C Street
Suggested donation: $10-20, but any amount gratefully received and no one will be turned away.

All donations benefit Acupuncturists Without Borders, a non-profit organization that provides acupuncture services in disaster areas. AWB volunteers have recently gone to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, Sonoma County, Las Vegas and Greece to provide disaster relief treatment to:

• Evacuees • Residents • Volunteers and care providers • First responders • Refugees • Veterans, active military and their families • Emergency personnel • Survivors of sexual and domestic violence

This event is both a fundraiser for AWB and an opportunity for the community to experience trauma relief acupuncture.

Thank you to Davis Community Church for hosting this event!

For more information, contact Johanna Utter at (530) 757-2064
or johanna@johannautteracupuncture.com

Can't attend but want to help? Donations can be made on AWB's website:
http://www.acuwithoutborders.org/donate/

For more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acupuncturists-without-borders-disaster-relief-fundraiser-tickets-39487071895

Short video from AWB California relief effort: https://youtu.be/CFT5GK4im3E

Huffington Post article about AWB: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59d74274e4b0cf2548b33614

Volunteering with Acupuncturists Without Borders

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Volunteering with Acupuncturists Without Borders, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CAIn October, I volunteered with Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) in Houston and Santa Rosa. AWB provides free, community-style trauma relief acupuncture to people in areas that have been hit by disasters.

Acupuncturists Without Borders was founded in 2005 by acupuncturist Diana Fried, following Hurricane Katrina. Knowing that acupuncture could help with trauma recovery, she ended up organizing 25 teams of acupuncturists to travel to New Orleans. There they provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers, and other care providers.

Since then, AWB-trained volunteers have offered trauma recovery services in the aftermath of many emergencies including: wildfires, floods, shootings, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, the Boston Marathon bombing, mudslides, and even a lava flow in Hawaii.

Acupuncturists Without Borders has also expanded its outreach to veterans, active military, and their families via the Military Stress Recovery Project.  AWB’s Community Service Clinic Program provides treatment for other trauma-impacted populations, such as refugees, survivors of sexual and domestic violence and first responders. There are now more than 30 AWB-affiliated community service clinics across the United States. AWB also does work internationally in Greece, Nepal, Mongolia, Haiti, Israel, and Mexico.

AWB uses a simple treatment technique, developed in New York in the 1970’s to treat the symptoms of drug detox, that has since been modified to provide stress reduction. For most people, five small needles are inserted into each ear, in points chosen to help people relax, reduce pain, improve sleep, calm the nervous system, and assist in the repair of organs most taxed by drugs, alcohol, and stress: the lungs, kidneys, and liver.

The two locations where I volunteered, Houston and Santa Rosa, had different set-ups, but the treatment was the same. Participants sat on chairs arranged in a circle and a practitioner inserted small needles in each ear to help with stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and pain. In Houston, the clinic had been taking place for several weeks by the time I arrived, so many of the recipients were regulars. One of the women was very eager to be there. She told us that she had suffered from depression for several years and that her mother had really noticed a difference in her energy following the first treatment. "I came for the acupuncture session not knowing what to expect. Within 5 minutes I could feel my self relaxing. The next day I had so much energy- more than I have had in two years. My mother cried tears of joy." Some people chose to have ear seeds taped to their ears after the treatment so that they could press them and do ear acupressure at home until the next clinic.

Disaster relief work is often a moving target. On the day that I volunteered in Santa Rosa, I got a call several hours beforehand letting me know that the location where we would be had changed. We then planned to set up in a tent behind the shelter at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Upon arriving, we learned from the Red Cross that we were not permitted on site. This was disappointing since we had all driven a long way to be there. Fortunately, we were able to set up   chairs in a parking lot, near a tent where other practitioners were offering massage, physical therapy, and Reiki to first responders. There had been a few chiropractors there the day before.

Most of the acupuncture recipients in Santa Rosa were firefighters. The ones we treated were from Tulare County, Riverside, and Oregon. We learned that firefighters had come from all over the U.S., Canada, and even from as far away as Australia and New Zealand to help out. My co-volunteer, Barbara Seymour from Solana Beach (near San Diego), came up north to volunteer because her parents live in Sonoma.

She shares:
“We did a lot of treatments with first responders, and right before the end of our shift, these 4 firefighters from Riverside walked in to get their first ever acu treatments. They had been on the fire lines for 14 days straight risking their lives, inhaling smoke and getting little to no rest, and yet somehow, they managed to give each other such a hard time about getting needles in their ears! Once the points were in they took selfies and sent them to their wives. I don't know who said what, but all the sudden all four of them were laughing really hard and couldn't stop... then I started, then Johanna as well. What is it about laughing firemen?

One said, 'Hey, I can feel tingling down my left arm', another said, 'My neck feels looser.' When we took the points out, they let us know that they felt much better and thanked us, then we thanked them for their amazing service to the community. As they were leaving we got hugs from heroes.”

Being able to help during times of disaster is rewarding. In an instant, lives have been turned upside-down, and while acupuncture doesn’t provide food or shelter, it does help bring mental and emotional peace to its recipients as they put their lives back together. There is such a need for this work and I hope to be able to volunteer internationally in the future.

Short video from AWB California relief effort: https://youtu.be/CFT5GK4im3E

Huffington Post article about AWB: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59d74274e4b0cf2548b33614

If you would like to help support the work of Acupuncturists Without Borders, you can make a donation here.