My name is Gilad and I am from Israel. I started volunteering in Sechen clinic in Boudhanath with MMW. Once people knew there was an acupuncturist there, they started coming again, so initially a few local people came, but after a few days already it became pretty full. Sometimes I come in the morning and 6-7 people are already waiting. The patients vary from farmers with arthritis, monks with back pain and Westerners with stomach problems. In the first couple of weeks I worked mostly with local needling, partly because that’s what the patients expect. It seems to most of them weird that I would put a needle in a distal point... but once I explain it, they accept it. Still, most of the acupuncture points are local. For example many "retired" farmers have swollen and painful knees- probably caused by many years of bending in wet rice fields etc. - I do the local point- ST 35, Heding, Xi yan, LV 7, GB 33, SP 9, SP 10, etc., plus moxa on the needle- usually on ST 35 with a distal point such as GB 39 or SP 5. The patient comes 3-4 times a week, and the swelling and pain definitely lessens every day. I recall one of them who came diligently every day and after 2 weeks asked to be treated in another part of his body because his knees felt much better. The advantage here is that we can tell the patients how often to come. It’s much better treating a problem 3-4 times a week then once a week, as is usually practiced in the West.
I also find some people need the treatment as a form of attention. With them, I try to relax and comfort them more- doing points like Yin Tang, SP15, LV 3, HT 7- just to get the flow of their qi going and so they feel calmer. For example, one paralyzed 19-year-old girl comes once a week in a wheel chair. I don’t tell her there’s nothing really I can do with her paralysis, but instead treat her headaches, insomnia etc. It seems very important for her to come and it makes her a bit happy in her otherwise very difficult life. Usually we see around 20-25 patients a day here, and the pace depends on the practitioner.
Every Friday we go up to Nagi-Gompa, which is a nunnery, and there in a space of 2-3 hours we treat the nuns and some local farmers. The nuns are very open with their problems and there I feel I need more time to assess, feel the pulse longer, ask more questions etc. Their cases feel more complicated than "just" a painful back of someone who carries heavy weights all their lives. Sometimes for example a nun can have some kind of stagnation & inner heat with external cold. Plenty of local needles do work, but in the coming weeks I'll use different methods, in order for the healing process to be faster. Also now and then ap patient will come in with epilepsy, heavy nose bleeding or is partially-unconscious. So occasionally, at times like this, we send them to the allopathic M.D.