In 2006, Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) launched their Military Stress Recovery Project with a single clinic using acupuncture to treat veterans. Ten years later, the program has grown to more than 30 affiliate clinics across the country, treating more than 1000 vets and their families every year. BAYVAC (Bay Area Veteran’s Acupuncture Clinic) in San Francisco operates just across the bay from us here at Bamboo Pharmacy, and we’re thrilled to be a sponsor of this unique program. We recently dropped by to see their clinic in action and to share some of our herbal formulas.
AWB Associate Director Carla Cassler had just returned from Greece after a month-long trip treating refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. AWB is well known for their global involvement with disaster response. After an earthquake, flood, wildfire, or other natural and man-made disasters occur, AWB comes in to treat the emergency responders and victims.
Carla walked us around the former brewery (now turned acupuncture school!) where we saw cutout beer tanks now turned into treatment rooms! These peaceful pods were covered with hand-painted murals and were used for acupuncture and reiki. Every week, they welcome dozens of patients for a moment of peace and healing.
While we were there, a pair of veteran activists were welcomed in. They are part of Veterans for Peace and are very involved in connecting veterans of all ages to resources like what AWB can provide. Jim (Navy) reaches out to younger vets to help them navigate health care services. He is a big proponent of acupuncture and tells other vets about his positive experiences with AWB. Jean (Air Force) tells us that PTSD and chronic pain are big issues among veterans, but that more awareness of alternative treatments is needed. Many veterans find pharmaceutical medications for PTSD and pain are ineffective or have unwelcomed side effects and are searching for new options. They are lucky to have people like Jim and Jean to tell them about organizations like AWB and BAYVAC where they can receive safe, effective treatments at no charge.
Families of veterans can also receive the benefits of the Military Stress Recovery Project. Theresa is a military wife and traveled more than 60 miles on a train for her treatment. She says the people at BAYVAC are the reason she makes the trip instead of searching for an acupuncturist closer to home. And Eloise, another military wife, receives regular treatments for pain in her hand. She says the BAYVAC team is “the best!”
The dedication of the practitioners at Acupuncturists Without Borders and the BAYVAC clinic was inspiring. We contributed bottles of Stress Support and Restful Sleep Support to help with some of the symptoms of PTSD and life in general and they were well received by practitioners and patients alike. As patients continue to receive alternative healing options like acupuncture, herbs, and a friendly face to talk to, we are proud to be a part of their efforts. To learn more about the Acupuncturists Without Borders Military Stress Recovery Project or to find a clinic near you, please visit their website.