Acupuncture International Brigade

The Acupuncture International Brigade is led by a core group of licensed acupuncturists who have been in practice since at least 1990. The Brigade’s mission is to go to natural disaster stricken areas in different countries and cities to teach medical personnel including lay health care promoters, indigenous healers, nurses, and doctors of various medical fields, the use of acupuncture for stress/trauma/PTSD. Along with these trainings, the Brigade sets up free community acupuncture clinics for the affected populations, with priority given to the underserved. Once the trainees have practiced doing auricular acupuncture on rubber ears and then on each others ears, they are invited to help in the free clinics so that they can get plenty of hands on experience while the trainers are still there to guide and supervise them.

The group was created in 1999 by Dr. Maria Dolores Diaz PhD, L. Ac., after Hurricane Mitch caused much devastation in Honduras, her country of birth, as well as other locations in Central America. Volunteer acupuncturists were rounded up from across the country, and traveled with Dr. Diaz to Honduras. They were joined by volunteer psychologists who specialized in working with trauma. This would be the first time that acupuncture would officially be utilitzed in disaster situations, and the protocol that was developed by Dr. Diaz and her core crew would soon become the model for other groups that would form to do such work, as in the 9-11 disaster and now the many crisis situations that occur all over the world.

Under the leadership of Dr. Diaz (now deceased), the core group designed the protocol so as to include segments in the trainings in which local health care workers would discuss native remedies and therapies also. The main goal of the trainings was to create self sustaining programs, and to always give priority to the underserved populations. And thus is the philosophy of the AIB.

A few years after several yearly return trips to Honduras, the AIB was sponsored by The SextoSol Center for Community Action in Chiapas Mexico, to travel there after Hurricane Stan caused much devastation in that region. Dr. Tamara Brennan, director of the Center happened to be a psychologist specializing in trauma work with war refugees and other crises. Today the AIB and the SextoSol Center remain in close partnership, and Dr. Brennan continues to work with many international organizations. The AIB (Acupuncture International Brigade) is available to travel far and wide to give trainings and to set up free community clinics for underserved populations suffering from traumatic experiences. All logistical arrangements and legalities must be fully taken care of by the hosts, and confirmed and presented to the Brigade prior to travel. Y tambien hablamos espanol.

A close up of acupuncture needles applied to an ear.
© Bob Stockfield

The original five acu-points.






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