Tonight was our second community teaching in Kaskikot, and I thought this topic deserved it’s own entry.
Teaching simple neuro-fascial process (NFP) protocols might sound simple, as it is just a matter of placing your hands in certain ways and sitting there. But our goal is for people to ACTUALLY USE the self-treatment cards we’re handing out, and understand some of the basic concepts that make NFP effective. Given that even explaining this in English to a sophisticated urban population can be challenging, we’ve had to think through a million different things to make our community teaching relatable for Nepali villagers. Language problems (how do you translate, “hold a connection” or “process center?”); illiteracy; contextual issues around touching people; cultural obstacles, and busy rural lives where a lack of value is given to prevention.
And if all that weren’t enough, Kaskikot is saturated by visiting health programs which usually end with handouts of free medicine (anti-parasitics, vitamins, etc.). Even as we made the 20 minute walk to our teaching tonight, all the chatter on the road was over whether or not there would be free medicine handed out. How to explain that we are giving away pictures? That we’re providing free treatment in the form of self-care for fevers, headaches, falls and hospitalization? TOUGH SELL.
So, now that you’re on the edge of your seat, here’s our Community Teaching protocol. It took months to put this together and we’re still refining it as we go here.
1) Introduction by Nabaraj, our Nepali KOHCP program director, who specializes in rural health education. He explains that everyone will be receiving self-treatment that they can do at home for problems like gastric pain. We always start off with gastrointestinal discomfort as an example, because everybody has it.
2) Next I do a bit in Nepali on a mud house. Mud and stone houses have to be continually “repainted” with more layers of mud, or they crumble and fall apart. What would happen if, as the house started to disintegrate, all you did was sweep dust from the floor, put a bucket out to catch rain coming through the leaky roof, plant a tree in front of the house to hide stones that are starting to show? You can even put on more clothes to stay warm when you sit inside this crappy house. But until the structure of the house is repaired by repainting, it will present one problem after another and eventually fall down. Our bodies are like this house: when the walls are strong, the inside will automatically stay warm and dry and clean. In the same way, a structurally sound body will automatically do its job of healing itself, as we see when we cut our hand and it heals on its own.
3) I ask what we need to repair the house (mud, stone, water, rags, labor). There are carrying, mixing and painting jobs. If all the people working on the house communicate with each other, their work will be faster and better. So what can really make this really go well? Answer: cell phones!! I dial phone calls to people in the audience asking them to bring water (picking a man for that gets a good laugh), mix mud, etc. So just like this, different areas of the body have different jobs. And we can create a telephone connection simply by placing one hand on two different places and leaving them there while our organs talk to each other. (In our evaluations, participants always answered the question “Can you explain how IMT works” by saying, “like a telephone.”)
4) My act finishes by asking everyone to hold up one hand in the air and put it any place on their body that hurts, has been injured, is swollen or sore. Then I ask, “Who should we call to solve this problem?”
5) Will picks up from here. Everyone creates their first “telephone line” by placing their other hand on their ureters at the low back. Will explains that the ureters are pipes that take urine out of the body–and also pain, infection, even sadness, from anywhere. He shows how you can use your own hands or someone elses, that no pressure is required, and that the line has to be kept open for at least 20 minutes. People try this on themselves and then each other, and at this point when peoples’ hands are engaged, is when things really get rolling.
6) After that we hand out the self-treatment cards that Catherine made (free stuff, yay!). You’d think they were made out of Giradelli chocolate, the way folks are so excited to get their hands on this bizarre handout. Nabaraj spends a good bit of time making sure people understand how to use them, by holding up a symbol like “surgery” and having everyone find how many cards have the surgery symbol on them and can be used before or after an operation. He goes through each symbol and it becomes a game to find out how many treatments there are for fever, gastric, falls, blood pressure, etc. The kids love this part and we found it’s a clutch section or people leave not knowing how to actually use the cards.
7) In the culminating act, Lissa takes one of the more complex cards – usually gastric – and we set it up on somebody. We say that if two hands are a telephone call, many hands are a meeting. By now everybody is having a great time; this isn’t your usual lecture on vitamin consumption and water sanitation! It becomes a social event. Our evaluations repeatedly showed that people valued that the techniques were easy to use and that they could use them to treat themselves.
8) The class ends with a brief summary by Catherine, creator extraordinare of these cards.
Our goal is for people to understand why the cards are effective (telephone line), how to use the symbols to choose which cards to use when, and finally how to properly use the pictures they select. It’s impossible to know what will stick long-term, but in the short-term, we can at least say that the teaching sessions were vibrant and that afterwards, people were able to explain the concept of internal communication in the body for self-healing.