Why Barefoot Acupuncture?

efficient, respectful

Inside the first Barefoot Acupuncture clinicWhy?

It seemed quite obvious to us when we arrived in Mumbai that acupuncture would be a fantastic tool for the many disadvantaged people. In big Indian cities, where drug shops sell over-the-counter pills like candies, our patients are either over medicated with regular side effects or too poor to afford quality treatment. In remote villages, where there is a shortage of thousands of doctors, people often suffer without adequate healthcare. In both realities, acupuncture will offer unique solutions.

But "Why?" is a question that is naturally often asked.

Indian family in Mumbai

Family in Mumbai"Why?"
Because our initiative is about sharing, contributing to a more decent society. "Why?" Because it is a basic necessity to alleviate pain and illness, and to provide a sense of dignity.

"Why acupuncture?"
Because it is such an effective, versatile and economical medicine.

"Why humanitarian acupuncture?"
Because we can share and offer access to an efficient and powerful medicine for people who could not afford it without us.

Acupuncture from an economic perspective:

  • Allows treatment at a low cost (acupuncture equipment is cheap).
  • Is highly adaptable to many places and situations due to its simplicity and portability.
  • Provides an alternative to expensive and sophisticated treatments.

Acupuncture from a healthcare perspective:

  • Offers a proven, effective and holistic solution to health related issues.
  • Can offer help in cases that have not been successful with conventional medicine.
  • Can reduce the excessive use of chemical drugs and their potential side effects.

Acupuncture from a human perspective:

  • Requires a detailed evaluation, a global approach and real attention to the problems of the patients who know they are being listened to and understood.
  • As a preventive medicine and with its well-known positive action on the mental health of patients, acupuncture offers a real contribution to general well-being.


A slum, beyond the big difference in social classes, is characterized by a set of precarious houses where poverty and associated social problems are concentrated. In Mumbai, slums represent 50% of the population’s living environment, around seven million people.

Mumbai family

... it is here in the hutments of Bandra East, that Walter Fischer treats the economically disadvantaged with his magical needles. ... From 40-plus Mahananda to 75-year-old Laxmi, they all have tales of relief from chronic physical ailments. Mahananda, who suffered from rheumatism, tells you happily that she doesn’t need to wake up her daughter at night now to to use the community toilet. Seventy-year-old Prema, who has brought chowchow made from noodles from her native Nepal for Fischer, has regained sensation in her right foot and no longer suffers from insomnia. Snehal’s school going daughter pronounces proudly in English: ” My mother is ninety percents better”...

(Alpana Chowdhury in
Sunday Times of India
, July 27, 2008)

Most of our patients come from families that struggle on an average of 8,000 rupees (150 dollars) salary per month, whose members often take on several jobs to be able to get by. Some make barely 5000 rupees monthly. It is not rare to see families of 6 or 8 people occupying less than 25 sq. meters with running water only a few hours a day, and no toilets.

Overcrowded, unhealthy houses, poor sanitary conditions, heavy work demands, daily stress, lack of sleep, etc. can explain the majority of the numerous pathologies encountered in the clinic.

Many slum inhabitants have an insufficient access to healthcare: either too expensive, or not adapted to their problems.

The Barefoot Acupuncturists clinics bring a local solution accessible to all.

Elderly couple in Mumbai