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Pro Bono TCM Clinic Slovenia

Updated: Nov 6

Overview

The purpose of this project is to set up a Pro Bono TCM Clinic (clinic) in Slovenia for disadvantaged groups and other individuals in need. The clinic would administer Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments by qualified and competent practitioners in a community setting or individualized approach with the affiliation of the European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ETCMA) and Acupuncture without Borders (AWB). It is a free, accessible and efficient means to cope with trauma, stress and pain opening to all walks of groups with no limitations to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Goals

  1. Offer Pro Bono TCM treatments to disadvantaged groups in Slovenia: The project aims to offer free, community-based TCM treatment to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers without the basic health insurance in Slovenia.

  2. Set up a base of community support by the means of TCM: After completion of this project revue the viability of using such a project for other humanitarian reasons, i.e. after natural disasters, pandemics or socio-economical crisis.

  3. Promote the understanding and acceptance of TCM in Slovenia: By doing community service and educational activities, we hopefully receive positive feedback, recognition and future collaboration opportunities with other entities.

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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Slovenia

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the most popular forms of complementary medicine in Slovenia. It is used for a wide range of conditions, often with excellent results. Acupuncture is useful for various kind of conditions, such as aches and pain, stress, headaches and more. Furthermore, acupuncture can be very useful for calming and relaxing the mind and overall wellbeing. Acupuncture and TCM practice is present in Slovenia ever since the Yugoslavian time and has been widely accepted for over a decade. However, most of the acupuncture treatments are either private practice or offered in public hospital with a long waiting period. Vulnerable groups like refugee or migrants without the state health insurance would have difficulties accessing to this effective form of treatment.

Background information for the refugees in Slovenia

Police data shows that since the Ukraine war started, 21,980 Ukrainians have entered Slovenia. A total of 5,738 Ukrainian refugees have so far asked for the status of temporary protection for displaced persons in Slovenia, of whom 2,149 underage children. The initial number was 5,919 but some refugees have since left Slovenia. (STA, 2022) Besides from the Ukraine, in 2021, there were also 5,301 refugees coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, etc to Slovenia (Ministry of the Interior, Statistični podatki o mednarodni zaščiti, available in Slovenian at: https://bit.ly/3aGLkyD.)

Refugees experience trauma, not only due to the displacement and the situation leading to the displacement, but also because many of them have family members that are still in Ukraine. There is also the difficulty of adaptation to a new language, a new culture and a new environment. They experience traumatic stress, resettlement stress, acculturation stress and often isolation (NCTSN, 2022).

The role of ETCMA and SZKMA

The Slovenian Association Of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture(SZKMA) has been a member of ETCMA since 2020. Together, we strive for the professional development and recognition of TCM in Slovenia, Europe and beyond. In an effort to extend much needed healing and hope to the affected refugees of the Ukraine conflict, ETCMA and American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) have established a fund-raiser program to support their European member associations and their efforts to provide acupuncture and wellness services.

The role of AWB and SZKMA

SZKMA is collaborating with Acupuncture without Border(AWB) which has successfully set up community trauma clinics for over 15 years. AWB's mission is to help reduce stress, pain, and emotional trauma in communities impacted by disaster, social injustice, and human conflict. AWB does this by offering ear acupuncture and related therapies to people in group settings. This treatment helps regulate and reset the nervous system, reduce shock, anxiety and depression, and enables people to regain a sense of well-being, hope and resilience.

The aim of the clinics is to reduce trauma, stress and pain caused by natural disasters or warfare. The setting allows the volunteer practitioner to treat physical and mental discomfort to a large number of people, from children, to adults and seniors. It is easily set up in different locations offering safe, free and effective treatments. The treatment protocols are well executed and documented in various scientific journals.

What acupuncture helps?

The American National National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that acupuncture can effectively assist in the treatment of:

  • low back pain

  • neck pain

  • osteoarthritis (OA)

  • knee pain

  • headache

Other studiesTrusted Source suggest that acupuncture can also assist in the treatment of:

  • migraine

  • peripheral neuropathyTrusted Source

  • nausea

  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • fatigue

  • tendinopathy

Pro bono TCM clinic in Slovenia

SZKMA aims to operate a Pro bono TCM clinic by:

  • Offering non-invasive treatment to 8-10 beneficiaries/client for 30 minutes at the same time in one circle using the NADA protocol and AWB healing circle method;

  • Offering individualized TCM acupuncture treatment to the beneficiary/client on demand;

  • Offering weekly or biweekly treatments pro-bono;

  • Cooperating with other NGOs and volunteer organizations;

  • Helping as many people as we can using our competencies.


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