Dr Goverdhanlal Parashar was initiated into the field of osteopathy by his father Mr Sanwarlal Parashar. With his guidance, Dr Goverdhanlal completed his “Doctorate in Ayurvedic Medicine” from Allahabad University, India.
Having had 5 spinal operations, two within the last 4 years in two of Bangkok’s best private hospitals and being diagnosed with spina bifida occulta – a congenital disease passed down by my father, in my mid 20s. Having 6 lower lumbar vertebrae with 3 of them now fused caged in titanium and carbon. Scoliosis, fibromyalgia, numb feet from the calves down due to stenosis and feeling much older than my age of 60, I was recommended to see Dr Parashar on one of the various ‘camps’ that he holds over a long weekend flying visit to Bangkok.
Camps is a good name as when I arrived at the Prem Yog Prana Yoga Centre off Sukhumvit 26 the centre was absolutely packed full of people, mostly from the Indian community, queuing to see the master and his team.
I took my place in the queue and after waiting was ushered in to see the doctor. The room was crowded with people but taking control he told me to undress and lie on his table.
His hands moved meaningfully up and down my spine and I felt movement in various joints that had been stiff and painful for many months/years. He did not need my medical history and was able, by manual examination, to define my problem/s one after the other. A crack here, a manipulation and a stretch there. Turn over he said. I did and he skilfully moved my neck from side to side before making the necessary adjustments.
I was in and out in less than 10 minutes and was told to return the following day. The same procedure followed and after the third day he suggested that I if I came to his clinic in Jodhpur, Rajasthan he could work on me daily for 5/6 days and improve my quality of life.
I did not need telling twice so we matched diaries and I scheduled a trip to see him 2 months later in his home city of Jodhpur in northwest India.
I have only been to India once before and that was over 20 years ago to Goa which I was told was not typical of India. I arranged a visa with the kind assistance of the Indian Embassy in Bangkok, booked my passage and counted down the days until we could meet again. For anyone that suffers from chronic pain, one of our contributors Barbara Lewis has written a super piece in this issue about the subject, they will understand that it is like having toothache 24/7 – it wears you down and you carry it like a heavy sack of coal on your back every day.
I flew from Bangkok to Mumbai stopped overnight in the airport hotel and flew on to Jodhpur the following day. I arrived unannounced and caught a taxi to a Taj hotel in town. They were not expecting me and the GM, who was luckily on site on a Sunday, handled my arrival with care and professionalism making me feel most welcome. Thank you Mr Vijay.
As soon as I had settled I took a hotel car to the clinic to see where it was and what time it opened. It was Sunday and closed so I went at 10am the following morning and took my place in the queue. The fee was 100 Rupees – less than 2 US Dollars! I met one of Dr Parashar’s sons Hemant received treatment and was told to come back again that evening for another adjustment. The fee in the evening was then 50 Rupees – less than 1 USD!
Dr Parashar, his mother, his 2 son’s, daughters, their families, cousins, and it seems many more all live above the ground floor surgery on the 2 floors above. This is a humble existence and I am sure that doctor’s all over the world would be amazed to see how little they have as a family despite bringing so much medical and psychological care to so many people in distress.
I went morning and night each day and repeated the process each time seeing Dr Parashar the master, or one of his two sons as each day one of them at least was in Delhi or visiting another city holding a ‘camp’. They seem to be constantly travelling to ease pain.
Each visit I sat and watched the other patients in the waiting room who suffered from a wide range of problems from fingers and toes to joints, backs and the disabled. The waiting room was cramped and always full and the air conditioner was broken so the stifling air was just circulated by 2 oscillating fans. Everyone held their little piece of paper so tightly waiting to see ‘the team’ who worked on 3 beds in one small cramped surgery. There were always 4/5 physiotherapists, osteopaths and their assistants in the surgery and each of the 3 tables was constantly occupied by grateful clients. On a busy day morning and evening 10am – 1pm and 4pm – 8.30pm they will see more than 350 patients.
Each day my back gave a little more and towards the end of the week Dr Parashar and his 2 sons told me that they had broken down the calcium between the joints, my neck was manipulated and gained more movement and the tension in my muscles, tendons and bones relaxed a little more giving my shoulders relief. Someone had lifted the heavy sack from my back or at least made it lighter.
No machines, no fancy devices just some massage oil and the knowledge and experience of their healing hands.
A couple of days before I left Hemant, Dr Parashar’s youngest son, took me too a hospital that the clinic is having built on the outskirts of town. We passed some ramshackle squats at the side of the road which were just pieces of tarpaulin pulled over wooden poles and the poverty was overwhelming. I have seen poverty all over the world but not like this. These people have nothing and they are raising families and coping with extremes in the climate. In the summer April – July Jodhpur gets to 45C plus and the winter November to February it gets to 7C. These people live under they makeshift shelters through hot and cold.
We arrived at a building site on 5 floors and Hemant proudly walked me floor to floor telling me what department was in which area on what floor. At last they will have a suitable place to treat the many patients that put their trust in them every day.
Dr Goverdhanlal is a delightful man for those that have not met him, a man of few words, but he has a warm reassuring smile and believes that his ‘gift’ and now that of his son’s and associates should be given freely, or as cheaply as possible, to his patients.
They treat those without money for free not wanting to see anyone suffer and never turning anyone away. They are not just Brahim they are saints in my humble estimation. Their caring and benevolent attitude made a marked impression on me that week.
When they visit Bangkok they request no payment from patients over the weekend and will often see in excess of 1000 sick, injured or disabled patients, most of his clients being from the resident Indian community in Thailand.
When they hold their camps all over India or in countries all over the world Dr Parashar is too proud a man to ask his clients for payment but I believe that everyone that sees the doctor and his team in Bangkok should make a donation of at least 1000B as in October/November 2017 they are opening a hospital in Jodhpur for those that cannot afford hospital treatment and it is to be run under a charitable foundation.
Everyone that sees the doctor and his team in Bangkok can afford to pay 1000B and by means of comparison the first class chiropractors that I have been seeing in Bangkok on a weekly basis for many years now charge in excess of 2000B per appointment so believe me 1000B is cheap!
For 50 years they have been treating the poor and people not capable of affording high cost treatment from our surrounding community with free care and osteopathy treatments. They are a not for profit organisation.
The new hospital has been long overdue and thanks to donations, loans and grants the family are rising to the task of creating a hospital, wellness and treatment centre and they need your help!
They will not ask you themselves so I am making this impassioned plea on their behalf – without, I should say, their permission!
SHRI SANWARLAL OSTEOPATH CENTRE 905, 2nd D Road, Sardarpura, Jodhpur – RAJASTHAN – INDIA
email: [email protected]
The Shree Sanwarlal Osteopath Charitable Sansthan is a charitable institute registered under Societies Registration Act 1958 and has also been registered u/s 12A and 80 G of Income Tax Act, 1961 with the object of providing osteopathy pysiotherapy, ayurvedic, panchkarma and a fitness centre.