Physiotherapy with a difference

A GUEST POST by my father on his experience of physiotherapy treatment by blind therapists.

We had been donating to Blind People’s Association (BPA) in Ahmedabad since the last 15 years but I never ever imagined that they would in turn help me in such a way.

2 years ago as I was recovering from pleurisy, my body became very weak and my mobility was severely affected. My doctor advised me to undergo physiotherapy exercises. He recommended that I try the physiotherapy center run by BPA.

We decided to follow his suggestion and one Monday morning in late August 2012, reached the center located on the busy 132 feet ring road.

There we found something unexpected. The center was run entirely by blind people except for the manager. Further, all the services were offered absolutely free of cost.

After initial inspection of my problem, the manager assigned me to a 20-year-old lady, a trained blind physiotherapist. Although she could not see me, with few touches of my hands and feet, she understood the pain I was experiencing and in consultation with the supervisor, planned what exercises* I needed to do.

She very patiently took me and my wife to all the locations where each of these were available and explained what I had to do with each of them. Then she said, “Uncle, don’t worry, I will be there for every day’s session to help you do the exercises. You will be alright  – I would like to see you walk painlessly soon.”

The positive energy in the hall was contagious. We never imagined them to be so motivated in helping people when they themselves were disadvantaged.

After that introduction, going to the center became my daily routine. The sessions were in the afternoon for 90 minutes, 5 days a week. Along with me, there were 10-15 people suffering from a variety of problems ranging from muscular pains to paralysis. (There was even a section for children suffering from autism.)

At each session, the blind therapist girl used to be there, very punctually with a smiling face and invite me to do the exercises. With each exercise, she used to count the number of times it needed to be done. At the end, she used to check my mobility and say, “Uncle, you are making good progress, tomorrow you must come and do more times. Then you will no more need a stick to walk!” Although the exercises were repetitive, her encouraging words motivated me to keep coming for the entire period of 2 months.

If for any reason she was away, another blind therapist used to take me through the exercises with the same level of enthusiasm.

I must say that it was an unbelievably rewarding experience. By early October 2012, there was significant improvement in my body posture and mobility.

Thanks to these differently-abled physiotherapists, who could not see but through the engagement of their other senses and their sincere attitude to services, changed my life.

Thanks to the BPA and its donors for providing such opportunity to the blind and to us. May God bless these people and give them courage and strength to lead their lives happily.

* Exercises included cycling, shoulder wheel, springs to stretch and release hands, fingers, legs and feet, rope and pulley exercises, towers of Hanoi, and other finger and hand restorative exercises with blocks. In addition, the most important exercises on the table were twisting, bending and rotating the legs and feet, to be done with the help of a therapist.

P.S. My father passed away on 15th Oct 2016.

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15 thoughts on “Physiotherapy with a difference

  1. Nice and very helpful articulated post, Thanks a ton Mr. Rama Rao. Pranav, Kindly Convey my greetings & a heartfelt Thanks to the writer (Your Father), as one of my Uncle was searching for the remedy of similar type of disease…So, eventually it turned out to be a great help.

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  2. I am glad to learn that you recovered so well from a painful and long period of getting immobilised. That you received expert and dedicated advice and care from a member of the BPA family is not surprising for me as i have known them for quite sometime – BPA is a shining example of human endeavour to conquer all odds, honesty of purpose, integrity, competence and desire to excel – it is an institution which has a great CEO – Dr. Bhushan Punani and a great team. It is always an inspiring experience for me whenever i or my family members visit Dr. Bhushan Punani or participate in BPA programs. Dr. Bhushan Punani and his team deserve all our support & accolades and i think you did very well to share your experience on your son’s blog. Cheers.

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  3. Just wonderful, story you wrote would inspire all the students of physiotherapy, their faculty members and the Coordinators. I am so glad to know that this experience proved useful and there was improvement in your condition.

    I am so touched with initiative of sharing your experience with your friends. If you permit us we shall publish this experience in our newsletter for sharing the same with the readers of the same.

    Anyone who reads this post is most welcome to avail our services of physiotherapy. From this year, we have added one more alternative “Japanese Manual Medical Therapy” which is very popular system of alternative therapy being promoted in Japan over the last 300 years. Our Japanese Teacher Dr. Sasada has already trained 4 blind students to provide JMMT to the people requiring the same.

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    1. Dear Dr. Punani,

      Thanks for sparing your time to go through the blog and giving your inputs that would benefit the readers. You are most welcome to publish this in your newsletter and any other media that would help the BPA.

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  4. Pattabhi,

    Thanks for sending this link. It is only today, I was talking to my brother about Physiotherapy and how we find many reasons to skip the therapy rather than get motivated to do the therapy. I have been doing Physiotherapy to help strengthen my right leg so that I can walk with out a stick.
    I tried several times to do exercise & PT sessions. Each time I stopped after a few weeks. Recently, I went to see a therapist in Goa. I was there for a one week period in two months. However, due to some other reason, I gave up on continuing this.

    Even two days ago, I went a young Therapist in Kakinada. I told her that I will come everyday. However, I stopped going yesterday.

    Your blog gave me a positive motivation and I will try to continue with this therapist in Kakinada from Monday. I cross my fingers and hope for the best.

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    1. Dear Chandra,

      Successful mega welfare project organizers and cricket captains like you should not give up activities related to own health. I am happy that my guest post here has motivated you not to discontinue PT. A good therapist can make real difference to our confidence levels (as also shared by Ms. Preetiben earlier) and recovery processes. I am sure you too will get good results soon.

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    1. Dear Dr. Binduben,

      Thanks for your observations. I was truly impressed by the selfless and sincere services by the blind trained by BPA. They deserve to be acknowledged in a shared forum like this. Thanks to Pranav for giving me this opportunity.

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  5. Dear Balaji and Preetiben, thanks for the comments. The BPA has a school of physiotherapy, which offers full fledged courses to qualify the blind on the subject. Initially they work as interns at the center, and subsequently most of them are recruited by other physiotherapy centers in the country. The BPA, Ahmedabad has been doing commendable work under the leadership of Dr. Bhushan Punani (PGP, IIMA) in empowering the blind. He joined BPA in 1979, to serve the visually handicapped in the country, leaving behind plum corporate jobs. The credit for the service with smile by the blind, goes entirely to Dr. Punani and the teams nurtured by him.

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  6. Really felt so happy to read your experience.Great.
    I also wish to thank the organization and all the therapist girls who took care of you
    May god bless them. My Amma used to say this in sanskrit ” Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavanthu”

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  7. Great to hear this, as from 1956 to now I have seen how PT  makes normal life  possible and have also met excellent  therapists whose positive outlook assures a quicker cure. Hope to write re:  my  own  PT Gurus all three of them like  Trimurti  have meant that I enjoy LIFE… Bravo physiotherapists and I salute Ramarao`s  Guru, physical restrictions can motivate you to serve  humanity  with commitment so that they reflect what God  is like. priti

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