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By Mike Ferrians
The Times 

Local acupunturist returns to Nepal to work and learn.

Denise Lane continues work with non-profit providing acupuncture care in one of the poorest countries.

 

December 28, 2023

Denise Lane

Volunteer providers provide care to patients at the clinic in Nepal earlier this year.

DAYTON - When Dayton resident Denise Lane took her first trip to Nepal last year, she hoped to learn about effectively delivering medical and therapeutic care to some of the world's poorest people. She's still learning.

Lane is Columbia County's only acupuncture practitioner. She's been at it for 13 years, the last five at the Therapy and Wellness department at Columbia County Health System's hospital in Dayton. This year, she has expanded her practice by offering services in Waitsburg at Blush Salon and Spa.

Lane will return to Nepal on February 9 to volunteer at a health clinic through an Acupuncture Relief Project (ARP) program. For six weeks, Columbia County will have to forgo the benefits of its only acupuncturist – but for good reason.

"I appreciate the experience of spending time enveloped in a place where life is simple, and people live pretty contented lives with a lot less," says Lane. "Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Working in a clinic or environment serving many people with minimal resources is a good way to learn more about serving poorer populations. And I think it's good to get out of our country and see how other people live. It's a good reset."

Acupuncture Relief Project concentrates much of its medical mission efforts in the small rural city of Bajrabarahi, which sits 5,500 feet up in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, a 90-minute drive from Nepal's capital, Katmandu. People come from adjacent areas around the city to receive medical assistance.

"ARP is the nonprofit started by Andrew Schlabaugh out of Vancouver Washington," said Lane. She said she learned about the program while she attended the same acupuncture school as the ARP founder.

Lane will spend six weeks offering free acupuncture to residents in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, stroke rehabilitation, asthma, and other chronic and acute issues. She will also provide blood pressure, oxygen, and blood sugar screenings.

"Many people there have never had their blood pressure taken," she says. "And they don't know anything about their blood sugar levels."

The medical infrastructure in developed countries is unknown in most of Nepal. Essential services, including clean water, sewers, roads, and electricity, are rudimentary or non-existent. Power outages and fuel shortages are common.

"Farming lives there are so labor-intensive. Everything is done manually, so you see a lot of knee joint pain, for example," Lane says. "They grow cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, and corn on terraced land, but their tools are very simple. And if you want gravel, there's one man whose job is to crush rock by hand with a hammer. That's all he does."

Lane has been raising awareness and funds to support her work in Nepal. A donation page for Lane has been set up through ARP as a Bajrabarahi Clinic program volunteer. The money raised will help ARP provide supplies, lodging, food, water, medical supplies, and interpreters that Lane will need for the project. Volunteering practitioners are responsible for their travel expenses to Nepal, and many, including Lane, forgo the income they typically make at home.

To contribute toward the costs of Lane's acupuncture mission or learn more about the project, visit http://tinyurl.com/mw97mzb8. ARP can be found at https://acupuncturereliefproject.org.

 

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