It is wonderful to see how giving so many fellow professional acupuncturists can be not only in the midst of tragedy, but in its aftermath.
Healing hands help Katrina victims
By Jillian Fennimore/ Staff WriterFriday, September 8, 2006 - Updated: 09:55 AM EST
Known for their calm nature and healing hands, acupuncturists from across the country brought peace to an area still in chaos and repair one year later. Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast last August with record strength, leaving the people of New Orleans and coastal Mississippi in devastation, some homeless, and most stressed in the wake of its destruction.
Licensed acupuncturist Bella Rosner, whose practice is in Watertown at the Japanese Acupuncture Center, was one of the many who joined the worthy cause of Acupuncturists Without Borders to treat the traumatized with free community acupuncture in Louisiana both last November and February. Last Thursday, Rosner’s treatments were brought back to Watertown in order to help raise money for the organization’s continued success as the needs increase down south. Rosner treated several people throughout the day, with funds going to AWB.
Since last September, AWB has sent rotating teams of acupuncturists to benefit the evacuees, displaced residents, relief workers, emergency responders and others suffering from the devastating effects of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. They hope to continue with much-needed funding.
"We worked with the poorest of the poor, to FEMA workers staying at the Hyatt, and National Guard rescue workers," said Rosner about her two visits this past year to the more distressed areas of Louisiana. "But people were telling me that for the first time [since Hurricane Katrina] they got a good night’s sleep. They wanted us to come back."
Inside the serene treatment office on Watertown Street, a rock fountain flows in the corner and a can for AWB donations sits at a nearby table. Inside of a photo album, pictures of Katrina’s aftermath sit boldly behind their plastic pockets, displaying empty lots where homes used to be and the faces of those happy to help and happy to be alive. Rosner said she and a group of grassroots organizations visited emergency communities of the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard’s Parish, along with other venues, treating people with symptoms of acute stress and trauma.
Traveling on a bus to visit a community, Rosner found herself sitting with New Orleans residents driving past their homes and uncovering their neighborhoods for the first time, including a young couple with their newborn baby.
"They would point and say ’look there’s auntie’s house’ or ’that’s grandma’s house’," she said. "Entire communities were torn apart. We just want to give them peace of mind for one day."
Since their efforts on year ago, AWB members have treated more than 6,000 people in the aftermath of the hurricane and their appointment calendars are still full.