AWB Update: Responding to Hurricanes, Shootings and Wildfires

Acupuncturists Without Borders has never been called upon to respond to so many disasters as we have this fall of 2017.

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Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the shooting in Las Vegas, and the fires in California have left millions of people in the United States without homes, power, medicine, communication resources, or a semblance of safety. Many of our neighbors are traumatized and are facing long recovery periods – in their external circumstances and internally on an emotional level.

The community-style acupuncture AWB does is a very powerful way to interrupt the development of post-traumatic stress. It nurtures hope and resilience in individuals, families and entire communities. AWB’s small staff and dozens of AWB-trained volunteers are providing trauma healing treatments in Texas, Florida, Las Vegas and California. At this writing, plans are in gear for setting up clinics in Puerto Rico, and for clinics in the US for the Puerto Rican community.

Texas: AWB has been doing several weekly stress/trauma clinics in Houston since mid-September. Clinics are continuing through the end of October. AWB trained volunteers coordinate and service the clinics at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center and the American College of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. In the past month, 10 volunteers have provided over 500 treatments which have been deeply appreciated by the community.

photo of acupuncturists without borders treating patients abroad acupuncturists without borders treatment in Florida

Florida: Acupuncturists Without Borders has been collaborating with acupuncturists throughout the state of Florida to provide inspiration, mentoring and outreach support for trauma treatment clinics in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Clinics have already been offered by AWB-trained volunteers in the Tampa/St. Pete area, Naples, and the Florida Keys. Additional clinics will soon be offered in the central keys and Marathon, Florida. There is interest in coordinating clinics specifically for the Puerto Rican community in Florida, and AWB is providing support for acupuncturists who want to organize this effort.

Nevada: In Las Vegas in the aftermath of the October 1 shooting, AWB is working with the Oriental Medicine community to provide trauma recovery treatments at Wongu University of Oriental Medicine through October and possibly beyond. With support from AWB and local AWB volunteers, extended hours for treatment are now being offered in the evening and on the weekend. Outreach is also happening to the local hospital where shooting survivors have been treated, as well as to local law enforcement. AWB is also facilitating media coverage to help get the word out to the Las Vegas community so they can come receive this profound trauma treatment.

acupuncturists without borders with california wildfire evacuees

California: In Sonoma county, AWB volunteers have been setting up clinics in evacuation centers and medical centers to treat evacuees, first responders and other members of the community. Clinic locations have included: Petaluma Armory National Guard, Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, Petaluma Veterans Center, and the Permaculture Skills Center in Sebastopol. AWB has been partnering with the Integrative Healers Action Network of Sonoma. These powerful NADA treatments, administered in a group setting, foster community healing, help to relax an overactive nervous system, and allow people to breathe better than they have in days. Additional clinics will soon be set up in Napa county.

Puerto Rico: It is still too early for AWB volunteers to go to Puerto Rico to provide treatments due to the lack of resources for their support without burdening local communities. It is still hard to fly in and out and there is limited power, transportation, food, water and communication capacity. We hope to send our first team in early-mid December. Meanwhile, we are working with local practitioners to set up the logistics, and are supporting them with funding and other resources to provide treatments when and where they can. Many volunteers want to go to work in Puerto Rico with AWB once we are able.

photo of burned home and cars in sonoma county by mark vogler

Huge thanks to all donors and to our organizational and corporate sponsors for these disaster relief efforts: American College of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture, Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, California State Oriental Medicine Association, Emperor’s College, Five Branches University, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Helio USA, Lhasa OMS, Mayway, Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, NuHerbs, Griffin and Associates, Golden Flower Chinese Herbs, Wongu University of Oriental Medicine, American College of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture, Acu-Market, Acurea Medical Supply.

Please see short video from California relief effort:

Please see Huffington Post article about AWB:

For more information or to donate please go to or email

Diana Fried, M.Ac., M.A., NADA Acudetox Specialist is the founder and Executive Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders. She has worked in disaster settings worldwide, trained or supervised thousands of trainees globally as part of AWB’s sustainable development programs, and envisioned and fostered AWB’s Community Clinic, World Healing Exchange and Advanced Training programs.

Carla Cassler, DAOM, LAc. is Co-Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders and manages the organization’s Community Service Clinic, Israel, and Development programs. She has practiced acupuncture and Chinese medicine for 30 years, specializing in women’s health, pediatric, orthopedic and trauma treatment. Carla is an instructor and clinic supervisor at ACTCM in San Francisco, where she founded a free clinic for veterans in 2010. Her private practice is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melanie Rubin, M.Ed., NADA Acudetox Specialist is Co-Director of Acupuncturists Without Borders. She has been a trainer, business coach, marketing consultant, and author working with acupuncturists and other health practitioners for 25 years. Melanie manages AWB’s Haiti, National Disaster Relief, and National training programs, and is based out of the organization’s main office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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