Case study – Aplastic Anaemia

A few days ago, a mutual friend informed me of Rajiv’s (name changed on request) steady recovery. His hb was 9.6, the highest in five months. The medicines, injections and multiple bone marrow biopsies have begun to take effect. I am relieved.


When he had come to me in August, he had barely any blood in his body. Five bottles of blood had been transfused over two sittings. His body was yellow, except for the almost white eyeballs. Nails were completely drained and the feet were cold, to the point of being frozen.
The doctor’s diagnosed him with Aplastic Anaemia, a rare blood disorder in which the body stops making all kinds of blood cells. It is the worst kind of anaemia, often requiring bone marrow transplant and immuno suppressant drugs to correct the ailment.
Causes: Certain vital infections and drugs; long term exposure to toxic chemicals; an auto immune disorder; treatment with radiotherapy and anti cancer therapies can temporarily interfere with cell producing ability.
Case discussion: In his case, the immediate culprit seemed to be Jaundice. His father has strong faith in hakims and the likes. He took his son to a herbalist/hakim in Chandni Chowk. Since he runs a small canteen in a college campus, economic reasons also prompted the decision to visit a herbalist as against an allopath for the condition. That gentleman gets people from all over, seeking a cure from jaundice. He gives the patient a leaf to eat, followed by tea and biscuit. This dosage is required to be repeated twice again. The thing with this leaf, as I found out later, is that it will either cure you, or alternately can almost kill you. The leaf belongs to the Amaranthacae family, and essentially stalls the process of haemolysis( breakdown of old blood cells and production of new cells). In cases where the treatment is rejected by the body, this temporary halt can turn out to be permanent. It is what happened in Rajiv’s case.
His blood count before the treatment, when he was diagnosed with the illness was 12.6 and a month later, when he had consumed the leaf was 5.7. The bilirubin count was in control for obvious reasons.
Symptoms: Low blood pressure, headaches, excessive fatigue, sore throat, and constipation. He dreamt a lot and in almost all of them, he visualized leading a normal life.
Reflexology Intervention:
 Reflexology cannot cure the condition. It would, however
– Strengthen the body’s immunity system
– Work towards removing accumulated toxins
– Enhance blood, nerve and lymphatic circulation
– Clear his digestive routes
Everything beyond this was a bonus.
Feet assessment: Rajiv began to sweat profusely the first time his feet were worked for the spine. He had acute discomfort in his entire muscular-skeletal system; digestive and nervous system; urinary system; eye muscles, lymphatic system. His whole body showed some level of discomfort.

Treatment plan: Daily sessions, with emphasis on
Bones, especially of the pelvic region to enhance blood production
Spleen; for producing antibodies and warding off infections
Adrenals; for his blood pressure
Organs involved in detoxification: Liver, Gall bladder, and kidneys
A great deal of importance is paid to the lymphatic system in such cases to activate the body’s immune system.  It was imperative to work towards clearing his bowels to release held up toxins in the intestines. As always in reflexology, the whole foot is worked, but the emphasis shifts from person to person.
Results: The most significant bodily change was clearing of the bowels. Since he began his sessions, he suffered from no constipation.  Headaches reduced in intensity and frequency. His appetite was better, though he craved for some oily food :). Steady improvement was also noted in the spleen and liver. The duration of his walks also increased to 25 minutes.
Reflexology was supplemented with a strict wholesome diet, constituting of consumption of aloe vera juice, figs, wheat grass juice, sprouts of Alfa Alfa, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
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A month from the last transfusion, his blood count had dropped, but marginally. We continued our search for a hematologist to show us the course ahead. Eventually, on the advice of a senior, Rajiv was taken to a GP at Sitaram where he was put on certain drugs and injections. The family decided to discontinue treatment and most likely, his diet as well.
He contracted an infection and was admitted to a dirty public hospital that had five people on the same bed in ICU. He recovered, was brought home and then again given some injections. The doctor at AIIMS and Sitaram politely clarified to them that if Rajiv worsened in the future, he should be taken to that same hospital and they would do all that is required.

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As a reflexologist, we are often told not to get personally involved or attached with the people we work on. Be concerned and do everything you can to help, but don’t get attached. In this case, I did. When Rajiv’s father called me to say he didn’t want his son to continue treatment, that it was having no effect and it was doing no good – I understood where he was coming from. He was a frustrated, tired father who just wanted his son to get ok real soon. Yet, it was hard. I had been monitoring Rajiv everyday and was upset that the family did not even wish to meet a specialist. They believed prayers and a GP could take care of the problem. That I was told to stay out of the picture was difficult, but something that needed to be done. I discontinued my calls and accepted that whatever has to be will be.
In the end, it is all about choices. Today, he is better and on the path to recovery. Nothing matters beyond 🙂

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About Namita

A melange of colors, just like the rainbow. Sometimes, as bright as the yellow sun, brimming with energy. Then driven by the passion of red to pursue my dreams. Calm like the clear blue skies and playful like streaks of violets. I am a collection of stories, each different and yet the same. I am simple in my complexities and something in my nothingness. For my bread and butter, I am a reflexologist – a profession which is more than just a job, it is my passion. When I am not busy in conversation with the feet, I potter around with my camera lens, indulge in good music and snuggle in with my books. And when my energies begin running low, nothing perks me more than traveling to unknown places, meeting all sorts of people and exchanging tall stories. I am a founding trustee of the Uday Public Charitable Trust that hopes to provide the gift of education to children of martyred soldiers and also other deserving children. It is a cause close to my heart. My gypsy heart cannot sit still and I must always move, explore…The mountains call out ever so often and I am off with my backpack. Trek, trek, trek…I want to push my limits always..rediscover my fears and move forward with my strengths. i love myself and my life, I must be god’s favorite child . With much to do and much to see, i am on the brink of another journey, always.
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One Response to Case study – Aplastic Anaemia

  1. Latif Hossain says:

    Thanks a lot, Namita for sharing this case study.
    I don’t know anything about Reflexology and now, having gone through your writeup, I feel somewhat enlightened and see some light for treating the people who can’t afford more sure but expensive medical interventions.

    My son had been diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anaemia and undergone a bone-marrow transplant at CMC Hospital in Vellore in July 2008. He is recovering though slowly.

    I would like to explore more on Reflexology.

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