Remarkable feedback from a client Daw (not her real name), one week after attending my first class. She is an immigrant from Burma. She lived in a refugee camp in Thailand before coming to the US. She has limited vocabulary in English and is attending language classes. She was brought to me by a friend who helps her in many ways as a volunteer.
Daw was suffering from severe insomnia for the last 8 years, able to sleep for only 2 to 5 hours. My friend came to know from her previous conversations with Daw that she was kept awake thinking about her old life and people in the refugee camp in Thailand before she came to the US and the struggles of her family here.
What did she learn in the class?
In view of Daw’s language limitation, I demonstrated only the ‘Folding finger mode’ (1) to her, asking her to join me in practicing it on one hand and then the other. Then I asked her to close her eyes and practice this mode on her own, completing both hands. I was watching. She practiced perfectly. I suggested to her to practice this mode when she lied down in the bed and wanted to sleep. I also demonstrated the ‘waking up postures phase I’ (2) and suggested to try them in the morning, lying on the bed, eyes closed when she wakes up.
When did she practice it?
Daw practiced it every night and also on waking up in the morning.
How did it help her?
Just after a week of practicing the ‘Folding mode’, Daw said that she enjoyed uninterrupted sleep for 10 hours! She was sleeping from 9 in the night to 7 in the morning. Unbelievable!
When I asked her about her thoughts and worries, she said with a smile “No thoughts. No worries.” Her face showed her relief and happiness.
My friend e-mailed these comments a day after the class
“I was amazed by the change I saw in Daw yesterday. She was very talkative with me in the car. Previously, when I visited her , sometimes she was too tired to talk. Some days, she really struggled to function at all. I think if she can continue to have success in sleeping, her life will be hugely improved. Daw said to me after yesterday’s session that she felt she had not thanked you properly. So can I say “Thank you” now, on her behalf? You have really made a difference in her life!”
I try to get periodic updates for such beginners. In this case, my friend gets to meet or talk with Daw often. On my request, she e-mails her observations to me. I am thankful to her for these updates.
Jan 21 2013: “I saw Daw briefly on Jan 14 and asked her about her sleeping. She said, “Good, every night, good.”
Jan 31 2013: “Daw has once again asked me to let you know that she continues with “good sleeping, good eating, everything good!” She looks very well and happy.
Mar 7 2013: “Daw is still doing very well! She seems to have a very positive attitude about life at the moment, which is great. She is still sleeping well every night. I have been encouraging her to teach her 14-year old daughter the technique as she has to have a lot of dental treatment and she is nervous about it – the breathing should help her relax and make the procedures less scary.”
April 2 2013: Daw had a setback with her sleep. In the first class she was taught only the ‘folding mode’. She came for another class and learned the ‘Segment mode’ (3). After a week my friend reported that Daw was able to sleep well and did not need another class.
Oct 30 2013: “Daw is doing very well. Her domestic problems seem to be settled and when I see her she seems to be on top of everything and in a positive frame of mind. She often speaks of you warmly, and is appreciative of the help you gave her at a challenging time. Honestly, I don’t know if she continues to practice the breathing, but at least she has it as a resource if life gets difficult again.”
How many people in the world are suffering from insomnia and its multi dimensional impacts on mind and body?. How I wish this technique is taught at schools along with A, B, C, D and 1, 2, 3! The misery some people like her experience due to insomnia is avoidable with the help from this technique. It will lead to better quality of life and higher productivity. The ballooning health care cost may come down a bit.
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