Guru Update: Inhabiting the Body

Miss the previous update about my work at the Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh? Read it here.

For the past three weeks, I have been visiting Guru at his home providing Jin Shin Jyutsu, as well as simple caring company, often in the presence of several wonderful children of the community who laugh and play while I work.

The changes in Guru’s state, already, have been substantial and I have much optimism for him as we continue to dive deeper over the coming months.

Harmonizing trauma

Developmentally, Guru is still the age of an infant despite being 10 years old, and is completely dependent on his parents to care for his survival needs. Along with his physical and mental handicaps, he also, to me, is displaying trauma symptoms due, I'm sure, to the difficulty of his birth and resultant limitations of his body.

This mainly causes him to have difficulty breathing (he breathes rapidly and makes a loud, asthmatic wheeze-like sound on just about every breath) but more to the point, I would imagine it causes him to psychologically distrust this world, including his body.

To me, the trauma is the most concerning of his condition, as well as the biggest opportunity for change. If it can be at least a little bit harmonized, that could open the door for more practical rehabilitation with Cerebral Palsy specialists.

So far, so good

I have been seeing Guru steadily 5x/week. As I live part-time in community, I’m able to see him 2x/day on some days. This is a fairly intensive schedule, especially for somebody his age and in the state he’s in.

Because of how skinny Guru looked, we quickly organized some Cerelac for him (liquid food substance for infants, containing protein and other nutrients) that he is able to eat but his family has not been able to afford.

This has made a big difference. Not only has it had a grounding effect, as food does, it has also fortified him to handle all the treatments he is receiving. He is, thankfully, gaining much needed weight too. I can’t emphasize enough how important taking food like this has been for him, as before he was being sustained on only water, milk, and juice.

You can watch Guru take the Cerelac for the first time after three days of not being able to eat anything. It was a joyous moment for all of us in the room.

The very first time I met Guru, he was hyperventilating badly.

For the first few sessions, my focus was entirely on his breathing and I’m happy to say that the overall condition of his breathing has improved, including an approximate 30% reduction in the loud sound he makes on each breath. His mom has also acknowledged these changes.

While I work, I’m usually joined by children in the community, who chat with Guru’s mom, play with each other, or play on my phone. They are constantly laughing, giggling, and carrying on. This helps lighten the mood, and every so often you will see Guru unleash a huge smile and even laugh (see below video) when the kids are particularly acting silly.

Besides some of the physical relief that Guru has received with his breath becoming less labored, he is looking like he is better inhabiting his body. A certain "fullness" is enveloping him and he seems more present and engaged, which are promising signs.

This is part of the reason why I love providing Jin Shin Jyutsu in relatively "extreme" environments where hope or optimism is lacking—you can see absolutely remarkable results which restore it.

Continue to the next update about my work at the Gandhi Leprosy Seva Sangh.