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Community TCM clinic in Slovenia

Updated: Apr 15

Overview

The purpose of this project is to set up a community trauma clinic in Slovenia for Ukrainian refugees and other concerned individuals due to the ongoing war on the Ukrainian soil. The trauma clinic would administer Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments by qualified and competent practitioners in a community setting 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 that is a direct and indirect consequence of the war in Ukraine.

Goals

  1. Offer free TCM treatments to Ukrainian refugees in Slovenia: the project aims to offer free, community based TCM treatment to Ukrainian refugees 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.

Background information for the Ukrainian refugees in Slovenia

The war in Ukraine has displaced up to 10 million people and around 4 million people have left Ukraine since 24th February 2022 (BBC, 2022). In Slovenia on the 28th March the number of Ukrainian refugees was 7000 (STA, 2022). The majority of them have moved with family members or friends already living in Slovenia, some are placed into specialized centers located in Logatec, Debeli Rtič, Brežice, Velenje, Maribor and Murska Sobota (Metropolitan, 2022).

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.

Acupuncturists Without Borders and their experience

Acupuncturists Without Borders(AWB) 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 wellbeing, hope and resilience.

The aim of the clinics is to reduce trauma, stress and pain caused by natural disasters or warfares. 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.

Ear acupuncture involves the placement of stimulants on points in the ear related to physical and emotional functions. The stimulants can be a sterile needle or non-penetrating material like ear seeds. The needles or ear seeds stimulate points that regulate the metabolism, balance body chemistry, help reduce pain, and regulate the emotions. Acupuncture treatments have a calming effect, and help those struggling with pain, sleep and concentration problems, anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration.

Trauma community clinic in Slovenia

SZKMA aims to operate the Slovenian community trauma clinic by:

  • Offering treatment to 8-10 people for 30 minutes at the same time in one circle

  • This allows for a more secure treatment - one practitioner can administer treatment and if they have another person helping to observe and communicate with participants then the practitioner could administer treatment in another “circle”

  • Offering weekly or biweekly treatments pro-bono

  • Cooperating with other NGOs and volunteer organisations

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

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