El Paso shooting response by the Barefoot Acupuncture Movement

El Paso’s local National Public Radio station featured Crossroads’ Barefoot Acupuncture Movement’s disaster response efforts in August, 2019, at the first responder site outside of the Wal Mart where the shooting occurred.


In their story airing on KRWG Friday August 16th entitled El Paso Community, Volunteers Come Together To Mourn And Try To Heal, Reporter Anthony Moreno interviewed people receiving care at our Barefoot Clinics, with treatments like NADA ear acupuncture (Acudetox) groups.


“Yes, I was angry. I was very anxious today. I would say in the last 15 minutes, I felt very relaxed,” said Robert Ramos. Robert’s wife Laura is sitting next to him, she says many people in El Paso are hurting now and she wants to be present for the community.


“It’s best for all of us in El Paso to do something, instead of just fighting with one another over the politics. I want to move forward in the city and helping my community, and see what I can do to help other people who are hurting,” said Ramos.


Local licensed therapists and acupuncturists offered free services for survivors, first responders and families of those affected by the El Paso Wal Mart shooting.


Community ear acupuncture (acudetox) has been used in the aftermath of other shootings and terrorist attacks, such as 9/11 in New York City, and in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in response to violence in recent years.  Volunteers offered over 300 treatments at the memorial site at the Cielo Vista Wal Mart, for people affected since the day of the mass shooting, Saturday August 3.


The treatment can be helpful for anxiety, stress and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


This form of trauma care can be found at centers throughout the region including El Paso, Juarez, Anthony and Las Cruces.  Those interested in receiving support can call 575-312-6569, where anyone can receive a referral to a location in the border region.


The response is a collaboration of specialists including the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Families and Youth, INC and Crossroads Acupuncture based out of 1320 S Solano in Las Cruces, Casa Vida at 3501 Hueco El Paso, Texas, the Catholic Diocese of Cd Juarez, and Mariana Salcido, Coordinator for mental health for the city of Juarez.


“We originally started working in the region in response to the violence in Juarez in 2010. That was how our project got started, so we have been working with people affected by violence, by trauma,” said Dr. Ryan Bemis, Executive Director of Crossroads Community Supported Healthcare (Barefoot Acupuncture Movement), in an interview with KRWG. Bemis says that these types of ear acupuncture groups are good for creating safe spaces for people. Bemis is a former acupuncturist for the Department of Defense’s Fort Bliss Warrior Resilience PTSD clinic in El Paso, TX.

Learn more about the Barefoot Acupuncture Movement’s training programs for first responders, therapists, acupuncturists and other health workers.

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