ELKINS, W.Va. — Two local specialists — a husband and wife — took their healing methods to Nepal and are featured in a documentary about the benefits of alternative medicine in poverty-stricken areas.
Brad Carroll focuses on massage therapy while his wife, Jennifer Walker, specializes in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
The couple went to Nepal in November 2011 and offered acupuncture and massage therapy sessions for 12 rupees a day – roughly 20 cents per treatment.
Walker said they set up in a small town where people didn’t necessarily have access to doctors or health care. The pair did this six days a week for seven weeks.
Their service is featured in a documentary called “Compassion Connects,” made by filmmaker Tristan Stoch, who is involved with the Acupuncture Relief Project.
“They (Acupuncture Relief Project) went to a small town outside of Kathmandu and set up small facilities where there is no access to doctors,” Walker said.
Walker said the people of Nepal embraced the alternative medicine techniques they provided and would travel long distances to receive their services.
“People would travel for a day to come to the clinic and one day to get back,” Walker said. “It had an immeasurable impact on individual health and community health.”
The documentary can be viewed in its entirety on the Acupuncture Relief Project Facebook page and Vimeo. It was also selected to be viewed during the West Virginia International Film Festival this month.
The film will be shown at the festival on Sept. 12 and Sept. 20. The Sept. 12 showing will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Carroll and Walker at 2 p.m. Admission is free to view the film at the festival.
In addition to helping the people in Nepal, the experience also provided the couple with growth as practitioners, Walker said.
“Our development as practitioners through service to others was where I saw the most growth. Being able to see how the modalities worked together between acupuncture and massage,” Walker said. “It was great because people here (West Virginia) you may see twice a week but in Nepal they could come back every day so you could see results more quickly. People there came back and brought their family members or other community members.”
The couple’s main practice is Allegheny Holistic Health Care in Davis, which is featured in the documentary, but they also practice out of Massage at the Lake Day Spa in Oakland, Md. and Jiuaka Wellness Center in Elkins.
Both Carroll and Walker are licensed in West Virginia and Maryland.
They said their goal is to raise awareness of alternative healthcare methods and to demonstrate that different things work for different people.
“We want to heighten awareness that we are here and that people have options or give them options. The same thing doesn’t work for every person regardless of if they have the same conditions and that’s why we are here,” Walker said. “Part of our medicine is empowering people to take care of their own healthcare through diet, exercise and mental health.
“Just like our business tag line, ‘Innovative Alternatives for mind and body,'” she said.