11 July 2012

One of our great joys in the clinics is making a difference for paralysis patients. We do a lot of work in this field and would like to share a few cases with you here.

It does not happen often that acupuncture will effect an unbelievable change in just one treatment, but it does happen… In one case, a local man was carried into the clinic by his sons (Photo 1). He hadn’t walked for four years. We administered one of Barefoot Clinics’ specialist scalp acupuncture techniques. Following treatment, he put his feet on the floor, got his balance and started to walk. He walks out on his own two feet for the first time in four years. And just keeps on walking (Photo 2).

How much can be done for a 95 year old stroke victim?

Sarju Devi had a stroke at 95 years of age, leaving her paralysed down her right side and semi-comatose. We rushed to see her as soon as we heard; 6 days after the event. She did not know what was happening and was unresponsive. We quickly administered electro-acupuncture and scalp acupuncture (Photo 3).

Within days, she had started her recovery. She could now recognise us, and after about a week was able for the first time to attempt a smile. Her family gathered around her, watching and waiting. We agreed to visit her village daily and do whatever we could to help her recovery. We  explained to the family the nursing care that would be needed from them and to turn her over regularly in bed.

The students did a great job in helping to treat Sarju Devi. They were only halfway through their course but already needling with confidence and learning all the time. Needles were linked by electro-acupuncture and left for 20minutes (Photo 4).

Within the week Sarju Devi was fully conscious, although confused about the names of her children, and was starting to sit up by herself. Her son, Bhagwat Nandan ji, affectionately known as Guruji, was one of the first teachers in Barefoot College, 40 years ago. He started night schools and later went on to train hundreds of women to be solar engineers, helping to electrify and light up dozens of villages with solar energy.

One day we found Sarju Devi not at all well and mildly feverish. Her bright-eyed look and recognition of us had all but disappeared. We finally uncovered the horrible culprit - a huge and infected bed-sore, which soon responded to treatment and started healing up. This revealed a cultural problem. Despite telling the family to check for bedsores, the women were away and the men did not know what to do. We know now to also check regularly ourselves (Photo 5).

Sarju Devi continued to make progress and following some lovely scalp acupuncture she rallied a huge amount of energy and stood up! She supported herself well on both legs, although she needed support, and the reflex action to walk was there. She tried to take a few steps but was still a little too weak for that (Photo 6).

After a few more treatments, Sarju Devi managed to get herself upright, walk a few steps, turn around and sit in the chair! She was watched by her eldest son (75years old) (Photo 7).

We would like to say that everything was sunny after that but that unfortunately is not the case - she needed physiotherapy and exercising to keep up the movement in her limbs and a level of attention that is impossible for the average family to give. She began to spend more and more time in bed. She could however turn herself over in bed alone and unaided, ate well, still smiled, but was prone to bouts of emotional tears.

Barefoot Clinics needs to provide more help to paralysis patients during their recovery and to create a physiotherapy department. We also need to train our students in the rudimentary  physic skills for their fieldwork. We are hoping and planning ...

For further information about Barefoot Clinics or to make a donation towards our projects, please visit our website www.barefootclinics.org.uk