Reflexology in Rwanda

A friend of mine always told me of how her visit to Plant medication Project Centre (PMPC) (a.k.a Abadive) last year was fruitful. She talked about it so much that I had to visit the place.

Abadive as nicknamed, is a group of medical practitioners that believe and practice herbal medicine to treat different diseases through physical therapy and nutrition.

While in the waiting room, I talked to the person next to me and I got to hear of an interesting story of recovery from Claudine Uwineza, a mother of one from Gatsata sector in Gasabo district.

I picked interest because paralysis has bound people on sick beds, making their families miserable. Paralysis is the loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, typically as a result of illness, poison, or injury.

It all started when Uwineza, towards the end of her studies at The Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Education – Kibungo (INATEK) saw a giant snake on the toilet floor.

Having a snake phobia while growing up, I fell down after an encounter with a snake. Minutes later, a friend followed me only to find me lying on the floor and unable to speak, she recalls.

“I was in comma for almost two months, that my right hand and leg were numb by the time I was out,” she says

Uwineza was taken to different hospitals including King Faisal Hospital and University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), where doctors confirmed that some nerves in the head went in shock leading to hypertension and numbness.

I suffered constant headache in 4 years that I had to report to Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital (Caraes), a referral hospital for neuropsychiatric disorders once a month to get medicine but in vain.

“After four years of numbness in the right hand and leg, a friend told me of this place and I decided to try my luck,” says Claudine

“Do you know I could not walk on my own, had trouble chewing food because my right side was paralysed, constant headaches and I could not speak?” she lamented

Uwineza, who had come for the last reflexology session was called in before I could be allowed in the reflexology room to hear from the expert.

Jamaa David Rugambwa, a reflexologist uses massage oil and applies pressure to the feet with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques because feet provide a map for the body’s organs.

According to Rosanna Bickerton, a reflexologist, the aim of reflexology is to “create homeostasis, which means that the organs in the body are all working together and at their best.”

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Claudine Uwineza says that she has recovered at 90 per cent ever since she started reflexology at this centre, adding that she walks on her own now, no headaches in addition to speaking and chewing food without difficulty.

Rugamba confirmed that reflexology has helped many people with paralysis cases among others, saying that customers always come back to tell them of the positive results.

To find out how diseases are diagnosed, John Gasana Nzayikorera, a graduate in General nursing and former employee at Kiziguro Hospital, revealed what goes on in the consultation room.

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John Gasana Nzayikorera in the consultation room with a patient

“A patient undergoes screening using Quantum machine, where a patient holds a device in the right hand and the disease-specific clues shows on the computer screen,” he reveals

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Another patient, Adriya Kampire says that reflexology has saved her from early disability since she had excessive shaking (tremors). A tremor is an unintentional rhythmic movement of any part of the body.

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Adriya Kampire

Kampire confirms that reflexology saved her from tremors, saying that she now walks on her own unlike before where she could be carried from the car to the house.

Reflexology was developed as early as 4,000BC in China, where its use remains widespread. Foot therapy was practiced by Native American tribes, and in Ancient Egypt.

One of the services offered at Plant Medication Project Centre include training on small projects such as encouraging youth to form cooperatives and grow Capsine, one of the herbs they use in treating diseases

“We have trained different groups of people, whom we work with to get herbal medicine from different parts of Rwanda,” says John Gasana Nzayikorera

Nzayikorera explains that after training the group, they encourage them to rear bees or grow medicine which they supply to Plant medication project centre, thus secure market and improved livelihood

John Gasana Nzayikorera adds that they draw inspiration from one among other authors, Ellen Gould White, a prolific author and an American Christian pioneer who formed what became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Other services offered include Nutrition, physical therapy, counselling and medical evangelism.


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