BodyTalk in Nepal: A Love Story

May 28, 2019

"We learned that BodyTalk has no language barrier and we all experienced the deep human connection through innate wisdom."

Last year, a group of volunteer medical practitioners from the U.S. and Europe traveled to Nepal with the goal of providing free holistic health care to the Nepalese and Tibetan refugee communities. Many areas in Nepal are still without basic services, including healthcare, in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake and the 2017 flood. The practitioners were a combined group of doctors and therapists with a variety of health care skills. All therapists addressed a wide range of medical concerns, including digestive problems, lung issues, knee and back pain, fatigue and low energy. Nepal is a country of beautiful diversities including urban, mountain and rural areas.

Janet treating a young child in Nepal in 2017.

The first clinics were held in Kathmandu at a Tibetan refugee community center in Boudhanath Stupa, a short walk from our stay in the busy Nepalese streets. The streets were lined with reverent elderly men and women praying, children on their way to school, motor bikes crowding the streets, and tiny stands with merchants selling everything from prayer candles to meat and vegetables.

The clinics were open to families, children, the elderly, monks and nuns. All patients received multiple services including BodyTalk, acupuncture, manual therapy and herbal medicine as needed. Volunteer practitioners treated about 300 people per day working quickly to respond to the high volume, where people were lined up by the hundreds. Dr. Nancy Werner, Senior BodyTalk practitioner, identified the need for a BodyTalk Access "triage" to help support the efficiency of the work, and by the second day, we had an Access "conga line" going! After check-in, BodyTalk practitioners would provide the full BodyTalk Access routine for each individual before they were sent on to a practitioner for a one-on-one. This was a true test for BodyTalk Access, as everyone witnessed the amazing effectiveness of this front-line approach. All the providers who were offering adjunct services, including acupuncture, fascial release and herbal formulas, felt a marked difference in people who had received BodyTalk access first and found that their therapies were more effective because of the triage line. We were happy to hear that after the first clinics in Kathmandu, word spread of the positive experience of most patients and we were very busy throughout the entire two weeks.

Elza teaching class to monks. 

The second destination was the town of Pharping, religious home to dozens of monasteries and nunneries. This small town is considered a spiritual center for Tibetan Buddhism. Our local sponsor, Dr. Sherab, a Bhutanese-Tibetan doctor, invited us to stay at his Pure Vision Sorig retreat center (http://www.purevisionsorig.org/the-healing-center.html) which featured a beautiful resort accompanied by an organic vegetable and herb garden as well as an herbal pharmacy. Our global health team broke up into smaller groups which enabled us to set up clinics simultaneously at four locations. We were able to provide services to over 500 nuns and monks, many of them children. The young monks and nuns took great interest in learning the BodyTalk Access routine and even were able to share the Cortices technique with their peers. This model of community health education has proven effective and efficient in providing individuals with the skills and tools they need to help themselves and all those within their communities. During this trip, the team laid the groundwork for future training in the BodyTalk Access system and saw, in action, the manifestation of John's vision for BodyTalk Access as a health equity tool for underserved areas. 

Our third set of clinics was held in Pokhara, a beautiful lake city several hours from Kathmandu. We visited a number of community centers, treating several hundred people in four main Tibetan refugee centers, many of them quite elderly. During each clinic day, the team was invited to eat in the village with special meals prepared and to hear the rich history of Tibetan culture and displacement. There were stories of 90-year-old men who served as warriors specially trained by the American CIA! After treating in the villages, we saw the importance of documenting and preserving this rich, cultural heritage. 

Amidst the many days of work and service, our team was able to enjoy a few days of sightseeing from the majestic valleys of Pharping and their beautiful monasteries to the meditation caves and temples high above the city. We enjoyed well-prepared Nepalese cuisine as well as some wonderful traditional, Tibetan gourmet meals, including homemade local beer. This journey provided a true pilgrimage deep into the culture of Nepal and challenged us all to harness our skills as practitioners in a new way. We learned that BodyTalk has no language barrier and we all experienced the deep human connection through innate wisdom. Seeing the effectiveness and power of this medicine in action was a true gift. Back in the clinics at home, we have witnessed the deepening of our work as practitioners and are grateful for this opportunity to impact global health in our small way.

We fell in love with Nepal including meeting and treating everyone who came for sessions, about 2,000 people. We returned again this spring and may have some additional feedback to share from that trip as well in the near future. If you are interested in joining us in 2020, please contact: http://www.hollysteflik.com/service-trips-index/#service-trips.

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