Manasseh Azure Awuni, a Level 400 student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, writes about her first chiropractic experience in Ghana.
It is one of the names you hear and if you have not consulted your dictionary, you do not have the faintest idea what it looks like. I had heard the word Chiropractic and Wellness Centres not long ago and my imagination about it was not different from how I perceived the word “internet” when I was leaving Kete-Krachi for Accra four years ago.
As I walked into the Asylum Down (Prestige Centre) of the Chiropractic and Wellness Centres, that Monday evening, not only did I not know the meaning of chiropractic but I also did not know the right pronunciation of the first syllable of the word. I didn’t know that the first syllable of the word, which starts like children is pronounced like the capital of Egypt. The conclusion I drew was that Chiropractic and Wellness Centres were unknown because I thought I was current enough to know the current happenings in town. I was however proven wrong when I entered after receiving a VIP treatment at the entrance. In Ghana, I can count from the fingers of my right hand the number of organisations the door is opened for you to enter.
The hall was full. The old, middle aged, youth and children from all levels of the social ladder were there in their numbers. In order not to feel lost, I reached for a flyer. It contained information on Chiropractic and Wellness Centres and I tried to acquaint myself with information on the one of the newest words I have added to my repertoire of vocabulary for the year.
“Chiropractic is now the largest non-medical healing art in the world, attracting everyone: office workers, lawyers, movie stars, scientists, labourers, businessmen, politicians, medical doctors, infants, elders and professional athletes. All coming to seek the unique services only a Chiropractic doctor can provide.” I paused and pondered.
Non-medical healing? Though my knowledge of medicine is as limited as my understanding of biblical tongues, I always hold the belief that the numerous tablets and antibiotics that I’m usually forced to force into my system when I’m ill, will definitely have their toll me one day. But never had I imagined a non-medical healing. Non-medical healing? Is it sorcery? Or African electronics, as we say it here?
But the place was too technologically advanced to house those priests with one of their eyes circled with white clay. There was a screen fixed to the wall on which all eyes in the room stared fixedly. The pictures displayed various forms of exercises and the drawing of the central nervous system. At least I still possessed remnants of the elementary school science in my now Communication-laden skull and the central nervous system cannot escape my memory. Only the “chew and pour definition” has vanished. So I sat. watching. Waiting. For the “magical” non-medical healing but I was soon to realise that the atmosphere alone was enough healing for me.
I had just finished writing Media Law paper in my last End of Semester Exams in GIJ and though the paper was under control, I found my head throbbing like a set of agbadza drums paying homage to the Awomefia and Dumefiawo of Anlo at a royal gathering.
My impression about the Chiropractic and Wellness Centre? A lot!
There was this beautiful young lady sharing pop-corn in neat envelopes. Both the pop-corn and the envelopes were very white. As white as the foam of fresh palm-wine. It wasn’t the pop-corn or her beauty that I had not seen. It was the bewitching smile with which she said the “Hi, this is for you” and handed over the pop-corn that made the difference. Even if you took an irrevocable oath never to touch pop-corn, you would revoke it if she handed you one. I watched her, or rather stole glimpses at her. Admiringly, not lasciviously. And prayed silently for my turn to come. Then when she was almost done with the last person in front of me, this young man came from nowhere and handed me mine. Without a smile or a frown. How unlucky I was. Maybe it was not meant to be. But what I lost in the pleasant distribution of the popcorn was made up for in the sessions that were to follow.
A well-groomed young soon burst into the scene and welcomed us. Some faces were known and their names were even mentioned. He introduced a physical trainer of a sort and he took us through some exercises. That too was fun. An old man whose beard was as white as Wole Soyinka’s hair nearly fell. “It is the chair which nearly fell, and not me,” and the entire hall imploded with laughter.
The atmosphere was breezy. And all the employees seemed to have been trained to have a good dose of humour. Perhaps Dr. Dean Marshal, who was later to have a thirty-minute session with us had thought them. I concluded that Chiropractic doctors are not trained to behave like some of our medical doctors who act as if it is part of their Hippocratic Oath never to smile.
It was fun when Dr. Dean finally emerged after a little quiz during which regular participants spoke as though they knew the name of every bone in the human anatomy. The employees joined the participants in cheering and I didn’t know when and how my post-examination headache had gone.
“I am an African-American, telling you a Ghanaian, to go back to your roots,” he told one of the participants and we burst out laughing. But it was a profound statement that bothered on the health of the individual. He was admonition against too much modernity, which is detrimental to our health. There are very simple things we take for granted but we need them if we really want to stop writing “What a Shock?” on funeral posters. Dr. Dean revealed a lot. He told us that one did not have to go to the gym before one could exercise. He talked about feeding habits. The need to psyche oneself up. And a lot more. At a point in time I thought I was listening to a motivational speaker. The session was interesting and very educative, to say the least.
Though the session was supposed to last for thirty minutes, the seconds hand of the clock seemed to be stopping at 30 seconds. And the time was running very fast. Faster than when you’re watching a crucial football match and your team is down by a goal to nil.
Dr. Dean was greeted with applause when the session ended. And as I walked out I was convinced I had not wasted my time.
I knew the right pronunciation of chiropractic. I knew the meaning of chiropractic. And I believed non-medical healing was real because my headache had vanished into thin air. That was only the talk session and I can’t imagine how the real healing session will be like.
What are you waiting for? Visit a Chiropractic and Wellness Centre today and you’ll recommend it for someone else!