Humanitarian Service Trip to Guatemala

Hi there. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Daniel.  The purpose of this page is to help me raise funds for my volunteer trip to Peten, Guatemala this December, 2012.  I am going to provide free Chinese Medicine based therapies (such as acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping) to the Mayan peoples of Peten, who cannot afford these services. We will also be training members of their community how to use some of our techniques so that when we leave we will have given them some affordable tools that they can adapt to their own medicine-ways to help keep their community healthy.  In exchange, I will have the great honor of taking part in some of their sacred ceremonies, as well as learning some of their traditional healing arts from their respected tribal elders and medicine men/women.

If you're anything like me, there's only one place you want to be in December 2012, and that's in a Mayan Village in the middle of the jungle, immersed in an ancient and beautiful culture, helping people do good things for other people.

In order to help you decide if this is something you'd like to donate to, I'd like to give you a little background on me, my academic trajectory, and perhaps answer some of the questions you might have regarding this endeavor.


- Who are you?

I'm Daniel Pfleging, a 28-year-old New Yorker (born and raised), currently working towards attaining my Masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City (

As far as Master's degrees go, mine is in a league of its own when it comes to time commitment and money spent. At present, it is five and a half academic years (three and a half actual years, using trimesters instead of semesters), and close to four thousand hours. Most master's degrees are somewhere around ninety hours.

However, I think it's absolutely worth it, because my intention is to use what I'm learning to heal people at a level which our current healthcare system fails to address, as well as to educate people about how to take control over their own health. I see it as a form of service for all the blessings I have had in my life, and a way to bring balance and new life to our healthcare system. The western system is incredibly advanced in many ways, but tends to place too little importance on living a healthy lifestyle, and relies far too heavily on dangerous chemicals and invasive surgeries.  Most people are unaware that in China, Chinese Medicine and Western Biomedicine are practiced side-by-side. There isn't a sense of one being "better" than the other, but that they support each other quite nicely.

My ultimate goal is to help cultivate an affordable, holistic, sustainable alternative and adjunct to the Western healthcare system for people who desperately need it, using a combination of as many healing modalities as I feel is necessary to address all the different aspects of a human being (physical, mental/emotional, spiritual).

The journey starts in NY with Chinese Medicine, but I have a strong feeling it will take some interesting turns along the way.


- Why Guatemala? Why not do some good in your native land?

Several reasons:

1. Many similar organizations exist in the US, but as far as I know, they don't take on students as volunteers. However, I fully intend to do lots of humanitarian work here in the states when I'm done with school, with many different underserved populations.

2. I heard about this trip first, and a lot of my teachers and fellow students will be there. I would like to share this experience with them, and also use it to help deepen and reinforce the things I'm learning while I still have these future colleagues and friends as constant resources.

3. This trip is unique, as it takes place during December 2012, the historic end of the Mayan Long Count calendar cycle that we've all heard so much about the last few years. This event won't happen again for another 5,200 years, so I'd like to be there to witness something of such profound importance.


- Who cares about traditional Mayan folk medicine?

Where I'll be going, the people strive to live in ways that I strongly believe will be necessary to human survival as our society moves forward. I believe that much of what plagues our modern world in terms of chronic diseases and mental illness stems from a lack of connection to each other, our selves, and to the natural world. I am certain that indigenous cultures practicing their traditional medicines and living in harmony with nature hold some of the most crucial keys to ensuring both our planet's and species' survival.

It's no secret that the rates of chronic diseases and mental illnesses (like IBS, cancer, MS, anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc) are rising and sadly becoming common even among children. As good as we've gotten with dealing with some aspects of these illnesses, there's something we're missing.  I think it's imperative that we open ourselves up to the wisdom of indigenous cultures like the Maya if we want to get to the roots of these issues, and make a healthier world than this.

There has been lots of research in the past few years using traditional herbal medicines and shamanic healing techniques to radically and permanently transform the lives of people who struggled with substance abuse, depression, and other chronic mental and physical illnesses. I intend to combine these powerful techniques with the powerful set of skills I am currently learning to provide people with treatments that will positively transform their lives in a really big way.


If you see the value in things like Chinese Medicine, the wisdom of ancient cultures, and getting back in touch with nature, you'll agree that this kind of experience is not to be missed.  It is also the perfect opportunity for me to see the medicine that I study in action, helping to treat many conditions that I will never see in the more industrialized parts of our world, getting valuable insights into being the kind of healer that I want to be, and that I believe the world needs.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me at [email redacted].  For more information on the organization I'll be traveling with, please check out the Healer2Healer website at:

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.  I wish you a long, happy, and healthy life.


- Daniel Pfleging

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