We were working as consultant to improve medical services in acupuncture centre in deep tribal area of West Bengal, India. We demonstrated modern acupuncture management on more than one thousand patient eliciting its simplicity, cost effectiveness and convenience in rural centres. A lady of 24 years came with her husband to us carrying her child lifted in her hands. She had to support child’s head as his neck could not hold it. Her complaints were, the child could not talk stand and walk even though child was four years old.
There was history of delayed labour and difficult delivery when this child was born. Child did not cry for long time after delivery. On examination child was irritable, flaccid with minimum muscle activity except crying. There was wasting of all muscles in general. It was clear example of cerebral palsy and the child has suffered brain injury due to oxygen deficiency during delivery. We being obstetrician and having delivered hundreds of children; knew that nothing could be done for that unfortunate child. We informed our opinion to parents accordingly and informed that acupuncture cannot reverse brain damage done four years before. Parents however told us they knew the gravity of situation yet they wanted to try acupuncture for the child as they had heard recovery in similar situation in their friend’s case.
We reluctantly obliged the parents only to keep their hope intact and not refuse treatment as they had come from village 150 km away. We gave the scalp acupuncture in motor area of legs and asked parents to report after one week. In visit next week, parents informed us of some improvement in child but we could not see any change in motor functions of child. We knew that it was parental illusion in hope of healthy child. We again gave same treatment and asked to follow up. Next week when they brought, the child was standing on his feet, supported by hand by both parents. This feat was not possible before! Child was also able to hold his head. We were utterly surprised to see dramatic improvement because our western background of knowledge could not accept this development. We strongly believe that damage to brain is irreversible, brain cells do not regenerate. But the facts of clinical developments were right in front of us and right from beginning of treatment. We had to realign our paradigm and have major shift. We realised that we know nothing of complexity of human body, brain or medicine. Secondly, we also realised that , no one particular branch of medicine is all inclusive to manage disease. We continued the same treatment and when child was brought us for next session one of most rewarding thing happened in life of mother. Child blurted out “MUMMA”! We saw brightest glow of pleasure on face of mother, which was never seen before. We feel the call of child “MUMMA” was most rewarding to us, though not as much to mother of child which must have changed whole depth bond of relation between them.
We had to return and therefore could not follow the child but instructed local doctors to continue the treatment.