Many refugee friends supported by JRS experience a lot of stress and anxiety in their lives. Part of our work is to give them a space to relax, take their minds off their current situations, and feel connected with others. Since 18th August we have been pleased to offer a dedicated acupuncture clinic in partnership with World Medicine.
For those that don’t know, acupuncture is a form of alternative treatment rooted in ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
We have 15 refugee friends signed up to the sessions in total so far, and weekly we welcome between 9-11 people at each clinic. Each refugee friend stays there for around 35-40 mins as a volunteer acupuncturist from World Medicine places needles in to specific parts of the body depending on what each individual’s needs are. It’s a new experience for lots of our refugee friends who have never had this treatment before. So far they have found the sessions relaxing and invigorating. One message I received from a refugee friend who took part yesterday:
‘’Dear Dalia, thanks for opportunity to get acupuncture today . The positive effect was immediate. I didn’t expect it myself’!’
Many of our refugee friends experience problems sleeping, anxiety and depression, aches and pains and other chronic health issues which are made worse by the constant dread of dealing with the asylum system, and living in destitution. Accessing NHS healthcare or alternative treatments and therapies can be very difficult, and in the case of acupuncture it can cost up to £100 for a session from a professional.
These clinics offer the opportunity for refugee friends to receive holistic care, tailored to their own problems. They complement our practical services to refugees, along with several other refugee activity groups which we are currently running, including the Women’s and the Men’s Prayer groups, the Community Kitchen and the refugee bike project. I hope by adding acupuncture to this we are able to allow refugee friends to feel valued and uplifted.
The clinics will be running for six weeks at our centre in East London and will be introduced again in October. We’re very excited to be working in partnership with World Medicine on this project for a full year, and I truly hope many refugee friends will feel the positive benefits of acupuncture during that time!
You can help us continue refugee activities like acupuncture, by buying our latest book.
‘Home is a feeling not a place’ is the first published work of JRS UK’s Open Writing Space, which ran for six weeks this summer. It features poetry and prose written by eight refugees and asylum seekers supported by JRS.
Image credit: Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash