Chippenham acupuncturist provides treatment in war-torn country

This Is Wiltshire: Gisela Norman will be travelling to the Gaza Strip to provide refugees with acupuncture Gisela Norman will be travelling to the Gaza Strip to provide refugees with acupuncture

Chippenham acupuncturist Gisela Norman, who has treated people in the war-stricken Gaza Strip, is going to Burma to help people in need.

Ms Norman, 54, has been accepted as a volunteer to work on a charity-led project in January.

She will be one of four acupuncturists teaching and practising in Watchet Hospital and at a nearby village in Gadaw, an important centre for Burmese Buddhism, near Mandalay. She will live in a monastery during her time there.

The hospital has basic facilities and health spending in Burma in 2010 was two per cent of GDP, according to the World Health Organisation – the lowest percentage in the world.

Ms Norman, who lives in Chippenham and practices at Chippenham Natural Therapy Centre in Lodge Road and at clinics in Bristol and Cirencester, said: “On previous trips the team worked in two hospital rooms given over to acupuncture, with about 12 beds in each.

“They then worked in a local village. As there were no beds, patients were treated on raised platforms in the monks’ dormitory or outside. On the first day some 100 people were treated, which rose to 500 on the last day.”

Ms Norman, an acupuncturist for 26 years and a member of the British Acupuncture Council, has been to the Gaza Strip twice as a volunteer.

She said: “It’s one of the most remarkable things to do – to give without expecting anything in return. To work with people who have been living in war zones and the support you get from them is fantastic. It touches your heart.

“You will never see life the same way again. The generosity and resilience of people, who believe their country has been forgotten, is a life-changing experience. To be able to teach is leaving a legacy to that country.”

Ms Norman, who also teaches at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading, is going to Burma for two-and-a-half weeks and must raise £2,000 to pay for all expenses.

There are collection boxes for donations at the health clinics where Ms Norman works and a PayPal link on her website http://gisela-norman.co.uk/Clinics.htm

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