Spineworks in Sambhavna

Nagendra: I am writing this piece from my personal experiences. Severe pain started in my calves around five or six months ago. I tried lots of different kinds of allopathic treatment and exercises, hoping for relief but nothing helped. All things were in vain, however my months of hardship finally paid off when Ritesh Bhai (a research assistant at Sambhavna) told me about how he got relief from his neck pain after having a Spineworks treatment with Ian. As a result, Ian closely observed me, then worked on my body. After two/three sessions I felt much relief. He is volunteering here at Sambhavna. Fond of writing, he is also helping me improve my English, so I can contribute to the BMA’s blogs more regularly. I interviewed Ian to find some more out about him:

Nagendra: Tell me about yourself?

Ian: My name is Ian Jarvis. I am from the UK where I live on a canal boat in the Midlands, currently moored just south of Birmingham. I sometimes say to people that I have the longest garden in the world – about 2,000 miles long! I am a bodywork therapist and practice a system called Spineworks. However I am still learning.

I practice yoga for myself and even though several people have suggested that I teach it, I have resisted the attempts so far. I also enjoy listening to classical music and opera.

N: Having worked in many industries, which have you enjoyed the most?

I: That is a difficult question as I tend to enjoy what I am doing at the time and not to look back or too far forward. In work terms, I spent about 30 years in the computing business, before it was called ‘IT’. I was mostly a systems analyst and consultant and I enjoyed the challenge of going, as a freelancer, into a strange company that needed my skills to solve some sort of problem or make a change they wanted. Leaving them happy with a new system was very rewarding and I enjoyed the intellectual challenges.
And, of course, I really enjoy my current work.

N: What brought you to Sambhavna?

I was in my mid-30s when the disaster happened and for some reason it really struck a note in my heart and I have remembered it ever since. A few months ago, I was musing about my life and giving treatments to a few people. I thought that there must be something more worthwhile to be doing at my time of life. So I wrote a ‘life CV’ and started looking for possible projects that might welcome my therapy skills.

I read a monthly magazine called New Internationalist and one issue carried an insert from the Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA). I contacted both Sathyu in Bhopal and the BMA office in the UK. Initially Sathyu was a little suspicious as to what Spineworks was. Anyway we agreed that I would come out for three months which would give enough time to do something positive.

N: Tell us something about Spineworks.

I: Spineworks is a form of bodywork. I prefer that word since most other words like massage, physical therapy etc. always seem to imply things that Spineworks is not. Perhaps I can be forward enough to say that my website is www.spineworks.eu and anyone can look there for a complete explanation. In a few words it is about releasing muscle and other soft tissue to help restore balance, natural movement and healing.

N: What are your experiences at Sambhavna?

I have been very pleased with the way that the Panchakarma team of Biju (for men) and Beena (for women) have accepted me. From very early on I was giving treatments to clients and we set up a temporary table on top of a steam cupboard. It is my plan to teach some of my techniques to them. The main purpose seems to me to be to get the special Ayurvedic herbal oil deep into the tissue and for this daily treatments work well.

Spineworks techniques can add to the effective toolbox which could give more focus in the bodywork. It may need a change in protocol though because my experience has been that daily treatments with Spineworks are too frequent as it does not give the body time to modify itself between sessions.

N: You have given treatment to  staff members here; what are the common problems you noticed with them?

I: A lack of body awareness! Though this is pretty much a universal issue. Most people become aware of their body, their posture, their movement only when it hurts. More specifically, many of you spend much time at the ubiquitous computer or with heads bent over a desk doing paperwork. So there are problems with necks and shoulders. A head is a heavy part of your body and with it tilted forward it puts a great stress on the nape of your neck and upper spine. The general lack of movement adds to this so there are also back problems. Because of the way Spineworks works directly on the spine, it is particularly effective for this sort of problem.

N: Thanks Ian – we’ve enjoyed having you here!

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.