When ten-year-old Anila Sanil Kuthirankavil awoke to the welcome sensation of dry sheets against her skin, she couldn’t resist running up to Sisters Therese Cheruvallathu and Mary Sebastian with a grin on her face. After just three acupuncture sessions, her bed-wetting problem had halted.
Anila Sanil, who has Down’s Syndrome, came to Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Hospital from the Kottyam district of Kerala, South India. She learned to walk at the age of five, though her gait remained unsteady throughout the following years. In addition to experiencing chronic bed-wetting and excessive drooling, she had little appetite and frequent coughing fits and other ailments. Through continued acupuncture, each of her symptoms have diminished considerably and, after a brief relapse, she stopped wetting the bed completely.
Such is the case for each of the 14 children with special needs Sisters Therese and Mary care for in IHM’s alternative health department. The children have a variety of challenges, like the child who was 13 years old but had not yet learned to talk. Several were chronic bed-wetters. In each case, after acupuncture treatment, their symptoms improved or disappeared completely. The 13-year-old has even begun to speak a few words.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe the thin needles used in acupuncture treatment re-balance the body’s energy, referred to as “Chi” in China and as “Ki” in Japan, that flows through passageways called meridians. Much remains unconfirmed about what precisely makes acupuncture work but, as demonstrated by the stories from our Sisters in Kottyam, the treatment has consistently been shown to correlate with an improvement in the patients’ symptoms.
Sisters Therese and Mary report that “improved quality of life of the children, happiness of the parents, job satisfaction of the staff, gratitude of the patients who receive timely financial assistance and joy of being able to reach out to the needy cannot be measured in physical terms.”
Like acupuncture, integrated energy therapy (IET) was developed to balance energy that flows through meridians in the body. As people progress through life and experience physical or emotional trauma, their energy pathways become blocked. It is believed that these blockages can lead to a decline in spontaneity, energy depletion and even disease. Instead of using needles, those who practice IET apply pressure with their hands on specific integration points where the flow of energy comes closest to the surface of the body.
When Associate Rita Maute was treated by MMS who operated the Center for Human Integration (CHI), she was fascinated by the power of holistic medicine. Shortly after she began studying different healing modalities and became a certified IET instructor, offering classes at CHI from 2000 until the organization closed in 2008. Since then she has continued practicing various healing modalities and visiting MMS in a local nursing home to offer her healing touch.
“It has been my passion to share this powerful healing modality which has helped me during the darkest time of my life when I lost my son Peter,” Rita shares. “I have witnessed profound healing also when working on clients who faced a variety of stress situations in life.”
In various missions throughout the world, MMS have embraced a holistic approach to healthcare. At the Ayushya Center in Kerala, South India, MMS host several programs to teach local people, especially youth, about “the rhythm of the universe.” Knowledge about earth is a crucial aspect to their psycho-nutrition cure camps, in which participants embark on a 40-day raw food diet, an approach that the Sisters call “fruitarian therapy.”
MMS at the Ayushya Center have found that this form of therapy allows the human body to use its own healing power, thereby healing itself from within. Raw foods like fresh fruits and vegetables clear toxins from the body, reduce acid levels and bring the alkali base to a higher level in the blood. Their approach is supported by several research studies from Calicut University’s department of psychology.
Reflecting on the youth who participate in Ayushya’s programs, Sister Eliza Kuppozhackel shares: “Value education takes place under these trees. The trees teach them to be interconnected, self-giving, loving, and caring. They listen to the singing of birds and various sounds in nature and learn to tune in to the rhythm and music of the universe.”