11 May 2012

Leilani Lea B.Ac, Lic.Ac, M.B.Ac.C, M.F.E.M.T.C., is the founder of the registered charity BAREFOOT CLINICS, whose philosophy is to teach and empower rural villagers to set up their own acupuncture practices, thus providing sustainable healthcare in regions that are either so remote or impoverished that they lack basic affordable healthcare.

Leilani describes how the dream of Barefoot Clinics started during her first experience in India, working in Maharaj Charan Singh Hospital in 1980/81:

‘My first experience as a graduate acupuncturist was a wonderful, defining time. I had travelled to India as a volunteer for the hospital and I was soon seeing 100 patients a day. I also had the opportunity to work with 20 small children suffering from polio-paralysis. The extraordinary results - regrowth of muscle-mass and re-use of the limb - inspired me to dedicate many more years to the study of acupuncture treatment in paralysis with the promise of returning to India to train local people in these techniques. Today, I am living my dream.’

At Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India (www.barefootcollege.org), famous for its ground-breaking solar-training programme, we have established an active Acupuncture Clinic where remarkable results are being obtained for patients. A patient's dangerously high blood pressure dropped from 210/120 to 160/90 and will continue to drop until controlled. Barefoot Clinic's own unique and very successful HBP treatment will be described in a later blog. A village woman of 95 who had a stroke less than a fortnight earlier, paralysing her right side, stood up and took her first steps, using both legs without hesitation. Another case, 4 years post-stroke, also stood for the first time, tall and proud and able to slowly move his feet forward, a step at a time. His rigid wrist and hand is starting to open and soften. In time his fingers will move again.

In addition to paralysis work, patients are regularly lined up on couches being treated for inflamed and painful knees, low back pain, arthritis, gastric problems, allergies... and more.

The patients are being treated by 10 new acupuncture students, who have not had the level of education to even reach O-levels, yet with training from Barefoot Clinics, they are dealing with patients such as the above. They are carefully monitored and guided in their clinical study and are now needling patients with accuracy and confidence.

Barefoot Clinics have already trained 23 students in its first 2 years, with 6 free clinics now functioning in Nepal and 9 new clinics being opened by Barefoot College in their rural Field Centres in Rajasthan, India, in the next few months. We plan on many more.

The Barefoot Clinics training manual meets the WHO criteria and is practical and workable.

Each month we will describe in detail one of the patients and their history, sharing their treatment details, the ups and the downs, and showing the results and photos, in addition to filling you in with the new developments in Barefoot Clinics’ projects.

Visit the Barefoot Clinics website