It's 10 AM on Monday morning and I just pulled up into
the small yard of "Bumi Sehat", the birthing clinic where I've been treating the local children of Ubud
since October 2005. Ubud is about one hour's drive from my house and the road takes me through jungly
areas with swift rivers cutting through deep gorges, terraced and manicured rice fields as far as the eye
can see, temple gates with striking stone carvings, villages and bustling markets. However I never dare to
take my eyes off the road for too long in order to enjoy the side views. Driving in Bali is like going
through a course of obstacles, constantly dodging motorbikes, pedestrians and huge trucks, which usually
suddenly appear around a bend at full speed.
With my doctor's bag, I enter the large room with several massage tables where I give the treatments. There
are usually several children and their parents already waiting for my arrival. A lovely Balinese woman who takes
care of the administrative papers and serves as my translator greets me and helps me to set up a clean field for
my equipment, consisting of my sho-ni-shin kit, a tiger warmer, many leave-on tacks or seeds and some half-inch
seirin needles. I keep handy an othoscope, a thermometer and some bleeding needles.
The clinic belongs to a "Yayasan" or nonprofit foundation, dedicated to the education and natural birthing
of women. Robin Lim, a midwife who's lived in Bali for over twenty years is the heart, soul and driving force
for the clinic's daily functioning. She receives many grants and donations to keep everything afloat and thousands
of children were born here. Mothers come for prenatal and postnatal care and get some education on vaccination,
hygiene and diet. The clinic is well stocked up with Chinese herbal and homeopathic remedies along with essential
antibiotics and other allopathic drugs.
Shortly after I arrive, Dawn, a mother and teacher in the Waldorf school system from the US comes to join me
because she loves to be part of the energy. Dawn speaks Indonesian fluently and is wonderful with children. She
keeps them distracted when I need to insert a needle or helps to break the ice with a shy and fearful child.
In the last six months I've seen some very interesting cases:
A two year old girl was brought in with symptoms resembling hemiplegia. Her right arm and leg seemed nonfunctional although there was no muscular atrophy or skeletal defect. The parents had only noticed the problem when the child should have started to walk but refused to do so. When she came for the first time, the little girl stared at us with a terrified look and started to cry at the slightest approach. Her hand was held in a tight fist and her foot just flopped to the side. We discovered that she had been taken to the hospital at three months old with a very high fever and been on life support for three days. The parents didn't know what diagnosis or medicine was given to the baby but suspected that her problem might have started from that time. I gave the child a homeopathic remedy to deal with the extreme fear and sent the parents home with a Chinese herbal formula for Wei syndrome. The following week, I was able to start doing some sho-ni-shin treatment. Amazingly, a week later the child was able to take a few tentative steps with the mother's help and as long as her mother held her hand, she let me work on her. I was even able to insert needles in SI 3 and UB 62.
A tearful father brought his four-year old hemophiliac boy and asked me if there was anything I could do for him. the boy had a beautiful smile and a gentle disposition. The father explained that the child goes through a crisis every few weeks when one of his limbs, arm or leg, swells up and looks bruised up. For a few weeks, it's so painful that he cannot use it. Then, it all comes back to normal. I told the father that there was nothing I could do to cure the boy but maybe we could strengthen his system. I started to give a general sho-ni-shin treatment once a week, tonifying the Spleen and using points such as UB 17 and SP 10.
I've been seeing this child for three months now and he's only had one crisis during that time and it lasted for a shorter time than usual.
I always get to see the new babies born over the weekend. During the time I've been here, I've seen two children born with genital anomaly. One little girl had an extra male genital and the other one didn't have an opening on her vagina. We referred both infants to the care of allopathic physicians. Once, I gave a dose of arnica 30c to a one- day-old infant with a huge swelling and bruise on the cranium. I was delighted the following week to see that his head was totally back to normal. Usually, I prefer to wait until the baby is a few weeks old before using acupuncture or sho-ni-shin, but for one little girl who broke out in purulent eczema, just one week after her birth, I used a very thin seirin needle on LI 11, SP 10, DU 14 and ST 40. The baby responded extremely well and her skin was all smooth and healthy in just a few days. In many instances, the mother's milk can also be used on many skin affectations.
Most babies and children come for fevers, colds, flus, diarrhea and stomach aches. Children here rarely get ear infections but colds tend to turn into bronchitis very easily and linger for months. Robin has shared with me that there has been an amazing recovery rate, often after just one sho-ni-shin treatment, and there has been much fewer antibiotics dispensed to the kids as a result. The number of children I see between 10 AM and 3 PM ranges between fifteen to twenty five. For the acute cases, I give a herbal formula or a homeopathic remedy. Sometimes I need to bleed a jing-well point for a high fever or a severe throat infection. For the more deficient or chronic cases, I give a sho-ni-shin treatment and follow them up for several weeks.
It's hard in this culture to talk about mental and emotional problems. I can tell that the work I'm doing is gaining the trust of more parents because I've started to see more children with emotional or stress related problems lately. Somehow, in spite of the language barrier, a beautiful rapport gets established with the kids. The children look forward to their sho-ni-shin treatment and when it's necessary, they accept to be needled without too much fuss. The parents can see the health benefits and are more willing to make dietary or hygienic lifestyle changes when needed.
As for me, I always look forward to my time in Ubud. This experience is deeply enriching to my practice because of the opportunity to see so many cases and get a scope of the efficacy of using sho-ni-shin to better children's health and well-being.