Some clinics in larger Guatemalan cities serving primarily the well-to-do offer acupuncture. In the 1970s, acupuncture was used in a rural clinic in the highlands region in a limited manner. Carlos Munoz Gonazalez, trained in Taipei,Taiwan, and Beijing, China started a Guatemalan Association of acupuncturists in Guatemala City in 1976. Edgardo Càceres E. wrote the Texto Practico de Acupuntura Moderna [CEMAT:Guatemala 1986], a TCM text.For more background, see "Historic Antecedents"
Acupuncture in rural Guatemala is carried out by rural lay health workers called "heath promoters" who are usually educated formally through the sixth grade and then receive special training in basic medicine for their communities. Heath promoters learned basic acupuncture concepts through training provided by the National Association of Community Health Services, (ASECSA), a model rural health promotion training program.
Some health promoters learned similar concepts and acupuncture needling in Mexico while living in United Nations-sponsored refugee camps administered by COMAR, a federal Mexican relief agency, through the 1980s. ASECSA is the non-governmental organization (NGO) with which GUAMAP partners in Guatemala providing strategic support for our training courses and for monitoring of trainees. ASECSA teaches an introductory course on acupuncture.
The initial population GUAMAP served from 1995-2001 resettled refugees into communities in the Peten and the Alta Verapaz region for much of the 1990s. Community clinics provided treatments in situ which reduced medical and transportation costs for patients They are now integrated into the rural areas where their communities are located. These communities' medical clinics provide treatments, including acupuncture and midwifery services. GUAMAP's work in training acupuncturists entered a second phase after 2001.
Previously scattered Ke'kchi communities began training by GUAMAP since 2002. GUAMAP is moving away from basic training while a GUAMAP trained Guatemalan acupuncturist began to teach basic courses in 2007. GUAMAP solidified a higher level of training in level III, and offers specialty courses.
As part of our presence in the community clinics, we are also looking at promoting the use of local plant medicines, and re-supplying acupuncture needles of various sizes.